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These are the kinds of rumors I love during trade season: at once totally crazy and totally believable. And also totally not as exciting as they first seem.

Jon Morosi just offered a bunch of things he’s hearing about the Cubs’ trading situation:

So many reactions:

  • Well, I mean, of course. The front office (wisely) has a philosophy of listening to offers on *any* player, and, with pitching always at a premium, it’s understandable that they’d let other teams know they’re listening on just about all of their pitchers. That doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot, obviously.
  • At the same time, this is fairly specific. By that I mean … Jake Arrieta? Pre-arbitration and on the verge of finally breaking out? Sure, the Cubs will listen, but it’s almost impossible to see them trading him right now. And, again to the specificity, why is Arrieta listed but not Travis Wood? No, I don’t think the Cubs want to trade Travis Wood right now, either, but Wood is equally effective (moreso, in terms of an established track record), but under team control for less time (he’s got two more arb years, and then free agency). If the Cubs will listen on Arrieta, wouldn’t they also listen on Wood? Wood is a year younger than Arrieta, for what that’s worth – but I’d think not much, given the service time situations.
  • Samardzija and Hammel are no surprise, and, to a lesser extent, neither is Jackson. I’m not sure the Cubs could get much value for Jackson, however, even at perfectly reasonable contract rate for a mid-to-back starter (owed just $11 million this, next, and the following year). I tend to expect him to be around next year, and I’m OK with that.
  • Is this being put out there by the Cubs to let teams know that they might not trade Samardzija or Hammel? i.e., to pressure interested teams to step up their offers on those two? Since it wouldn’t be credible for the Cubs to say that they won’t tradeĀ anyone, they put out there instead that, “Hey, you know, we’ll probably trade someone, but it might not be the guy you really want. So, best bring a quality offer now.” Or are the Cubs considering selling high on Arrieta, having reclaimed him a bit from his days with the Orioles? I’m just spit-ballin’ here – trying to come up with an explanation for this rumor.
  • In the end, the explanation is usually simple. In this instance, I reckon teams have asked the Cubs about their starting pitching, generally, and the Cubs have said, “Hey, we’ll listen on anyone.” Like Morosi said, why not find out how the market values each of your assets? Why Morosi reports that as including Arrieta and not Wood will remain a mystery to me. A fascinating mystery. But I really doubt the Cubs have told teams they’d listen to offers on the first four, but not on Wood.
  • Again: I’m not saying I want to see the Cubs trade Wood (or Arrieta). I’m just saying there’s no harm in listening if a team wants to make an over-the-top offer. I don’t expect either to be traded (or even heavily connected to rumors this year), and I’m definitely very OK with that.

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