old stove featureIt feels wrong to talk about the possibility of trading Welington Castillo after he came off the bench yesterday, had a nice at bat, stroked a single to center, and directly contributed to the incredible 9th inning win. But, with Kris Bryant coming in the next couple weeks, the roster is going to be crunch once again. Sure seems like, if Opening Day was the first soft deadline in dealing Castillo, Kris Bryant Day would be the next one.

For his part, Castillo continues to say all of the right things, and show up ready to play each day (CSN). I don’t think the Cubs are going to carry three catchers for much longer – either a trade or an injury will clarify things – but, if they do, it doesn’t sound like anyone is going to make waves.

  • But, that said, it’s still not an ideal use of the roster or Castillo’s value, so when guys like Yan Gomes get injured – the Indians catcher is out six to eight weeks with a knee injury – the speculation will pop right back up, hot and heavy. Castillo is an ideal fit for the Indians over those six to eight weeks, but how much would they give up for that marginal, short-ish term value? Could the Indians still get much out of Castillo when Gomes is back, given the presence of Carlos Santana as a part-time catcher already, and back-up Roberto Perez? Not sure they’d pull the trigger on anything substantial enough for the Cubs. Then again, how “substantial” was the return ever going to be for the Cubs?

  • Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians are not expected to trade for a new starter, and will instead look for a backup upgrade over Brett Hayes. Even if the Indians decided to go for a higher-end type, keep in mind: Dioner Navarro is still available, too.
  • In his piece on the Castro/Russell/Baez situation, Patrick Mooney notes that the Cubs have been disinclined to pay the price in trade for a guy like Cole Hamels, and the Phillies aren’t in love with Baez. Given that we know the Cubs had interest in Hamels before, and we know that there’s a chance they could be buyers come July, all things Hamels/Phillies should remain on your radar. I still think, given the impending, huge free agent class, and the possibility of a crowded trade market this year for that reason, the Phillies missed their ideal value window to deal Hamels (first, last trade deadline, and next, this past offseason). We’ll see what they’re able to get in July, assuming Hamels stays healthy and effective.
  • Speaking of which, Ken Rosenthal writes about the deal that should be happening – Hamels to the Red Sox for a group of prospects not named Betts or Swihart. Even without one of those two, the Red Sox have plenty to get a reasonable deal done, and Rosenthal sees them as the best fit as a trade partner for the Phillies … “unless the Cubs decide to jump.”

  • The next soon-to-be-free-agent Cuban to watch: outfielder Guillermo Heredia, who has established residency in Mexico, and should get free agency soon. You can read about the 24-year-old outfielder here at BA. The true center fielder is not subject to international signing restrictions, so he’ll be a totally unencumbered free agent. Given the Cubs’ relative lack of sure-fire center field options for 2016 and beyond (Dexter Fowler is a free agent after this year, Albert Almora is at AA now and will *hopefully* be ready by 2016 (but there are no guarantees), and Arismendy Alcantara is more of a utility guy), I could see some interest. It’s not yet entirely clear how well Heredia is liked – as we’ve seen, sometimes it can be tricky to peg down value this early in the process – but BA had him as the 11th best player in Cuba, which is quite strong.
  • The Dodgers purchased a draft pick from the Orioles under the auspices of a trade. If the Dodgers valued the pick at that price, then good for them for a clever work-around to, you know, not being able to buy-and-sell draft picks. That said, MLB should probably have a bit of a beef with this.
  • Jon Morosi reports that the Marlins may be putting pitcher Henderson Alvarez on the DL with a “shoulder injury”, which is obviously unnerving for Marlins fans. Whether that pushes the Marlins to try and make a move for pitching – if it could even be done this time of year – remains to be seen. Outside of Edwin Jackson’s unique circumstances, I don’t think the Cubs are particularly interested in sending off any back-end pitching depth right now, given the injuries to Tsuyoshi Wada and Jacob Turner. At last check, Wada (leg/groin) was up to 60 or so pitches at extended Spring Training, so he could soon be ready for a rehab assignment … and then the Cubs would have to figure out where he goes. As for Turner (flexor), I haven’t really heard any kind of update in a while. He wasn’t expected to even be throwing until now-ish, anyway, so it’ll be a while before he’s full built back up, and heads out on a rehab assignment.
  • Speaking of losing pitchers, the Mets have lost closer Jenrry Mejia for 80 games to a PED suspension.

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