With the earlier-mentioned roster deadline looming tomorrow, we could see a lot of movement today and tomorrow.
- Although it was agreed to almost a week ago, that Blue Jays/Marlins blockbuster deal has yet to be approved by the Commissioner’s Office. Ken Rosenthal suggests that Bud Selig is dragging his feet on approval as a way of punishing the Marlins. That may well be true, but, with the roster deadline coming up tomorrow, he better get on with it soon. Many teams could be waiting on moves pending that trade’s approval, because of the slim, slim, slim chance it would be shot down. Obviously if the deal didn’t go through, the entire free agent and trade landscape is changed significantly. In other words, folks aren’t going to want to pull the trigger on other moves until they know that one’s officially a done deal. Tick tock, Bud.
- On Saturday, during his usual radio show, Bruce Levine winked at a possible “big trade on the horizon” involving a swap of “young players.” (h/t to the CCO for the summary.) That, of course, is all kinds of vague. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t imbued with meaning – Bruce is connected, and, notably, cannot put into print everything that he hears. The fact that this “scoop” is both vague and brief doesn’t mean there’s not something there. It simply means that Bruce didn’t feel there was enough there (yet) to write it up. So, you’ve got to take it with interest as well as caution. Put another way: there’s clearly something percolating, but there is no certainty that anything will get done.
- So what might the move be? Well, given the roster deadline tomorrow (and the ever-shrinking 40-man space with today’s Shawn Camp re-signing, which put the 40-man at 39), you can expect that the “young players” involved on the Cubs’ side are guys on the 40-man. That means guys like Matt Szczur, Junior Lake, Josh Vitters, and others. If it’s a true young-guys-for-young-guys swap, you could see a couple of those types moved out for younger, non-40-man-spot-requiring prospects. Or, it could be a consolidation-type move, where the Cubs deal several of those young 40-man pieces for just one or two. Bruce has repeatedly mentioned the Cubs’ interest in Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, and the Indians’ return interest in a number of young Cubs players. Could this be what he meant by a big trade on the horizon? Could be. Could the hold-up be the Blue Jays/Marlins approval? Could be. Could we find out the answers to these questions in the next day or two? Could.
- Aside from that Indians connection, there are almost too many other possibilities about which to speculate on something as vague as a “big trade on the horizon” involving a swap of “young players.” But feel free to speculate away. It’s fun. Here’s your chart of the 40-man roster and young players who could be moved off of it.
- The Dodgers are the favorite to sign Zack Greinke because of-course-they-are.
- As mentioned in the Bullets this morning, there is now a 90% chance (hooray for arbitrary percentages!) that Justin Upton is not traded this offseason, despite rampant rumors just two weeks ago that he was 80% likely to be traded (seriously – that percentage was used).
- Justin’s brother B.J. may be looking for a five-year deal in the $75 million range. That’s on the high side of what is reasonable for Upton, but I still think it might be worth the risk, despite the Cubs’ current competitiveness plan.
- UPDATE: And, as predicted, Bud just approved the Blue Jays/Marlins deal. Finally.
- ANOTHER UPDATE: And Bruce, probably seeing the proliferation of posts like this one about his comments on Saturday, just dropped a bucket of cold water: “Chicago Cubs are not presently in discussions to move any of their young players.” Did something change in the last couple days? Possible. Did we misinterpret or mis-hear Bruce’s comments on Saturday? Also definitely possible. Does this mean nothing is going to happen between now and the roster deadline tomorrow? Well, not necessarily – that concept hung on far more than Bruce’s words. The Cubs have 39 guys on the 40-man, and have a variety of youngsters they might want to protect. *Some*thing is going to happen. It just might be a whole lot less sexy than a “big trade” involving “young players.” Could just be Ian Stewart, Casey Coleman, and Steve Clevenger getting the boot.