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old stove featureSome rumor bits to round out your week …

  • Len Kasper was on the Jonah Keri Podcast, and, among many interesting thoughts – that’s just two enjoyable dudes to listen to – he throws out Pedro Strop as a possible trade piece for the Cubs this year. While at first blush that might seem off to you, consider the “embarrassment of riches”, as I’ve called it, that the Cubs are building up in the bullpen, in terms of young, under-control power arms. Because bullpen arms are unpredictable, because Strop is 29, and because he’s a Super Two who is in his first year of arbitration and has three more years left (which could get relatively pricey for a bullpen arm – he’s at $1.325 million this year), I absolutely think it makes sense to see what the market could be for an arm like Strop. His ERA since coming to the Cubs is right around 3.00, with a FIP around 3.50. His walk rate is up this year to an ugly 14.3%, but his strikeout rate is still a strong 26.7%. You don’t have to move Strop, but you see if there’s interest.
  • Jon Heyman discusses the Blue Jays’ preference at second base in the trade market:

  • Obviously the Cubs would consider moving Darwin Barney, and if defense is truly the Blue Jays’ focus, then they can’t do much better out there. Pair Barney with Jeff Samardzija, and getter done, eh?
  • Jayson Stark hears that the Rays are the other most-aggressive seller out there, besides the Cubs.
  • Another report of the Rangers ready to be sellers, though Jon Heyman hears they aren’t really willing to sell everyone – Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish would require absurd offers. Still, the Rangers have a handful of pieces they can sell off, though most are on the positional side, so there’s not likely to be huge competition with the Cubs.
  • Ken Rosenthal says the Cardinals shouldn’t trade Oscar Taveras for David Price, though he does dream on how good the Cardinals’ rotation could be with Price in it.
  • Ben Nicholson-Smith talks up the virtues of Brandon McCarthy as a buy-low rental target, and I think he’s completely right. The 30-year-old free-agent-to-be has a 5.38 ERA, but a 2.99(!) xFIP. That’s one of the best marks in the league, and underscores how good his peripherals have been, and how flukishly absurd his HR/FB rate (21.7%) has been. He’ll likely be dealt, and could put a small dent in the Jason Hammel trade market. (Incidentally, if you’re looking for an intriguing offseason target for the Cubs, McCarthy’s a guy.)
  • Speaking of the pithing market, Andy Martino reports that the Mets are very unlikely to shop Bartolo Colon, despite his recent hot streak and their lack of contention. He could be a solid piece for them next year, when the Mets figure to be competitive (Matt Harvey returns, Zack Wheeler develops, etc.).

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