It seems like it’s been all Samardzija all the time this week (except when it’s 23-year-old Cuban slugger time), but there are other rumor-y bits to address as July approaches …
- As he continues to produce and demonstrate that his numbers – while aided by an unsustainable BABIP – are not necessarily a fluke, we’re probably going to hear Luis Valbuena’s name popping up in rumors. As I’ve said before, I have a hard time seeing a team willing to give the Cubs enough in trade (a top 100 prospect?) to make it worth the Cubs parting with a guy who is versatile, prime-age, cost-controlled for two more years, and producing at a borderline All-Star level. In other words, I don’t see the Cubs trading Valbuena any time soon, given what he could provide for them – even as an elite bench player – in 2015 and 2016. It sounds like Ken Rosenthal has heard the same thing, writing that although Valbuena could be a fit for many contenders at either third or second base, the Cubs “aren’t necessarily inclined to move him.” Good. Want to bowl the Cubs over and pay for Valbuena as an upper tier starting 3B/2B under cheap team control for two and a half years? Come with significant offers. Otherwise, forget what you thought you knew about Valbuena, and keep your crummy offers to yourself.
- Jayson Stark unloads a pile of rumors in a long column that you’ll want to check out. Among what he thinks/hears: (1) the Rays may not fire sale, though they’ll likely deal David Price; (2) But they won’t deal him in the AL East (which would be good news for the Samardzija and Hammel markets); (3) the Cubs have told other teams that they anticipate moving Jason Hammel in early July (a la Scott Feldman last year); (4) Jeff Samardzija should command a return pretty close to what the Rays get for David Price because he’s less expensive (in salary) and can be shopped to the AL East; (5) But extending Samardzija remains not quite impossible for the Cubs; (6) The Padres might have the big outfield bat on the rental market in Seth Smith (sure was bad timing for Nate Schierholtz to struggle out of the gate); (7) The Dodgers will listen on any of their (expensive) outfield bats not named Yasiel Puig; (8) The Royals may not be able to add payroll until mid-July, and even then, they could focus on outfield bats and bullpen arms; (9) The Angels are looking at left-handed relievers (maybe that’s why they’ve been scouting the Cubs?)
- Although the Blue Jays get press for their starting pitcher rumors, Jon Morosi reminds folks that they should also be looking for bullpen help. I’d argue that adding a starting pitcher indirectly helps the bullpen, but, hey, if the Jays are looking for bullpen help, the Cubs might have a few pieces of interest (James Russell? Wesley Wright? Carlos Villanueva?), perhaps as a complement to a larger deal.
- The Dodgers are in the market for a starter, says Ken Rosenthal, after Chad Billingsley’s season once again ended. As I’ve said before, I love the Dodgers as a trading partner, given their impressive crop of elite prospects – and they’ve got outfielder Joc Pederson raking at AAA without a place to put him.
- There aren’t many other clear sellers out there just yet, and the Rangers, despite all their injuries, are still “waiting and seeing” (Jon Heyman).