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old stove featureThe 2014 MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline is 10 Days away. If you can remember back to this time last year, we were smack-dab in the middle of Matt Garza being traded to the Rangers. The deal didn’t come down until July 22, but we’d been following it closely for days at that point. The Cubs don’t have any more Garzas to trade this time around, but it’s a reminder that things can pick up rapidly this time of year.

  • Junior Lake’s name has now popped up in connection with the Mariners in reports by both Jon Heyman and Mark Gonzales, so it’s something worth watching. Gonzales says the M’s have been watching Lake since Spring Training, so, if true, they’ve seen the obvious talent and youth – but they’ve also seen the extreme contact issues. As the Cubs look at their roster situation, perhaps they’ve now become the team that can’t afford to wait out a project like Lake, and maybe the Mariners are willing to take the risk. I won’t even pretend to know how you value a guy like Lake, who is just 24-years-old, who is a physical freak (in a good way), and who has hit .250/.288/.405 with a 30.6% K rate over 527 plate appearances. Is he worth a slightly more expensive, slightly older reclamation type like Dustin Ackley? Would the Cubs rather roll the dice on Ackley than Lake? Or could the Cubs get a young, low-level starting pitching prospect for Lake?
  • Gordon Wittenmyer wrote about the coming days of rumor activity for the Cubs, noting that guys like Luis Valbuena, James Russell, Wesley Wright, Carlos Villanueva, Darwin Barney, Justin Ruggiano, and Nate Schierholtz could be shopped around.
  • While we wait Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo’s workout on Saturday, here’s another video of him showing off his stuff. Castillo apparently will come in handy if your engine ever gives out. Also: turn the phone sideways, yo.
  • The A’s are considering their options for second base (recall, they’ve previously been connected to Luis Valbuena), which could have them trying to pick up Nick Franklin from the Mariners, if the teams will trade within the division. Susan Slusser says Franklin is a “top target” for the A’s, but I’d have trouble seeing these teams coming together in a year in which they’re directly competing with each other. Semi-relatedly, Ken Rosenthal writes that teams have been asking the A’s about lefty Tommy Milone, the 27-year-old with some big league success, who was bounced from the rotation after The Big Trade with the Cubs. He was demoted for a reason (his production clearly slipped), but you wonder whether there’s a match there between the Cubs and A’s. Milone is a very interesting bounce-back type, but I’m not sure there’s enough value there (and the Cubs do have quite a few guys in that AAA/MLB/back-of-the-rotation range already). I’m just thinking out loud.
  • A fun deadline storyline kicks off tonight when Cliff Lee returns from the disabled list to face the Giants, with a bunch of interested teams watching. While there is no immediately obvious impact to the Cubs with respect to the Lee market, you never know how these things could ripple – plus, given how much he’s set to make next year, a trade now could seriously affect the free agent market in the offseason (by, for example taking a pitching suitor out of the equation for the big arms). Mostly I just like to follow possible big deals because it’s fun.
  • Despite this weekend’s rumor to the contrary, Jon Heyman says the Yankees don’t appear to be interested in Edwin Jackson.
  • Derrick Goold compares the Cardinals’ pursuit of David Price to their 2009 pursuit of Matt Holliday. Although I do remain interested in seeing David Price on the Cubs eventually (you know, depending on price and all that), I think the Cardinals trading a buttload to get Price right now wouldn’t be the worst outcome in the world. Nick Cafardo hears that the Cardinals wouldn’t deal for Price unless they had an extension in place. I guess you can’t, on the one hand, say you want to see the Cubs get Price long-term eventually, and on the other hand say you’d be happy about the Cardinals signing him to a big extension. But the truth is … giant pitcher contracts for guys in their 30s are almost always a mistake. We’ll just have to keep remembering that as this situation plays out, and as the offseason approaches.

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