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old stove featureThe draft is now a full week in the rearview, and we close down this week with a handful of rumors …

  • Peter Gammons says the Blue Jays “have inquired” on Jason Hammel, who’s shaping up to be one of the best rental arms theoretically available on the market. Although the Blue Jays are more frequently tied to Jeff Samardzija trade rumors, it’s worth pointing out that they’ve got a farm system that could make for a very, very nice Hammel package, without having to part with the Hutchison/Stroman/Sanchez types that they seem to be hesitant to deal.
  • On Samardzija, however, Ken Rosenthal reiterates that he thinks that’s the way the Blue Jays should go, rather than a rental. Samardzija, that is, or David Price, if the Rays are willing to deal within the division.
  • Speaking of Hammel and Samardzija, Buster Olney hears that the Cubs will try to do what they did last year, in moving one arm early (Scott Feldman) and one arm late (Matt Garza). Doing so allows the Cubs to spread out the market, and prohibit their own assets from competing against each other on the market (like Garza and Ryan Dempster did in 2012, which may have cost the Cubs some opportunities).
  • According to David O’Brien, the Atlanta Braves – clinging to the top of the NL East – will be in the market for a lefty reliever this year. It so happens that the Cubs have a couple of them they could put on the market in James Russell and Wesley Wright. The latter has been the more effective arm this year (2.66 ERA/3.18 FIP for Wright, 2.93 ERA/4.58 FIP for Russell), and does figure to draw some interest in July – from the Braves or another team. Russell, on the other hand, has not looked like the guy he was two years ago, or even last year. We can play the blame game on usage all we want, but unless he looks much more sharp against lefties over the next month, it’s not likely the Cubs would be able to get much in trade for him.
  • So, Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman has made two dominant starts in a row for the Orioles, which could be a double-whammy as far as Cubs trade efforts go: as Gausman dominates at the big league level, the Orioles are far less likely to consider dealing him, and also, they’re less likely to feel the urgency to add a pricey trade target like Jeff Samardzija.
  • Former Mariners front office member Tony Blengino has written a must-read inside look at how trade season actually plays out from a front office perspective. It’s a reminder of just how difficult it can be to actually pull off a trade, and also why you see very few teams – on either side of a trade – willing to “jump the market” before July.
  • Ben Badler reports that Cuban slugger Alfredo Despaigne has been suspended for life from the Mexican League for his suspicious passport issues, but, unlike previously suspected, that does not bar him from MLB for life. If he does at some point defect from Cuba – far, far, far from a certainty – he can still play in MLB.

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