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old stove featureThe latest from the rumor mill …

  • Ken Rosenthal set off another wave of OMG-trade-a-shortstop rumblings throughout the Cubs-related Internet this afternoon when he reported that the Washington Nationals are looking for a “young shortstop” in the wake of Ian Desmond’s rejection of a significant contract extension. Rosenthal describes their efforts as “actively seeking,” although Desmond is not a free agent until after next season, and the extension offer he rejected came this past offseason. Why now suddenly rumors about the Nationals “actively seeking a young shortstop,” particularly when it’s not like they need said shortstop this month before the Trade Deadline? Well, forgive me for sounding a little conspiratorial, but the timing sure is funny – just days after the Cubs obtain an ostensible glut of “young shortstops,” and everyone speculates that the Cubs will have to move one. The Cubs are not mentioned in Rosenthal’s piece, and there is no explicit connection between the teams – hell, I’m not even saying a future trade makes sense. I just think it’s odd that sources told Rosenthal this week of all weeks that the Nationals want a young shortstop. Might someone be playing a game of telephone to get it out there that the Nats might be interested if the Cubs do look to flip a shortstop? Of course, even if that’s true, maybe the Nationals expect folks to connect those dots, and the actual intention here is to pressure Desmond into accepting an extension – and they’re just using some convenient timing to apply that pressure.
  • (Or maybe that’s what they want you to think!)
  • Rosenthal separately reports, among other things, that the Red Sox might be disinclined to shop guys like Jon Lester and Koji Uehara, despite their impending free agency and the Red Sox’s woe, because they may want to try and re-sign them after the season. The market this year for buyers continues to look grim.
  • Speaking of some of that, it’s a conversation for another day, but to make explicit what is implicitly on many of our radars: Jesse Rogers writes about the possibility of the Cubs and Jon Lester marrying up after the season. The Cubs will need pitching, and certainly they could stand to add a front-line guy, but, my early thought … the track record on $100+ million deals for 31+ -year-old pitchers is not good.
  • According to multiple reports, the Cardinals are making a push to get Jake Peavy, an impending free agent, from the Red Sox. While the Cubs’ remaining pitching pieces are of debatable value or movability, that’s not really the primary relevance here. Instead, it’s simple: take ‘em to the cleaners, Red Sox. Sure, Peavy’s 4.64/4.81/4.46 ERA/FIP/xFIP line doesn’t look so hot, and sure, nothing in his BABIP/LOB%/HR-FB% suggest that’s been the product of bad luck. And sure his K rate is way down, and sure he’s 33, and sure his fastball no longer even sits in the 90s. But he’s awesome, Cardinals. Turn it out. Spend big. Make it happen.

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