Lukewarm Stove: Densely-Packed Chats from Bruce Levine and MLBTR

stoveIt’s been a chatty post-Christmas period with a couple of interesting sessions to discuss.

Bruce Levine did his weekly chat over at ESPN a couple hours ago, and it was loaded with his thoughts on various possible deals, and rumor-y tidbits …

  • Bruce thinks the pursuit of Anibal Sanchez and signing of Edwin Jackson may have something to do with incentivizing the fans not to jump ship after some crappy  years. Shrug. Jackson isn’t exactly a glamor signing, and it’s pretty easy to evaluate why the move makes sense within the context of a near-term rebuild. On the other hand, it’s not like the fans are irrelevant to the rebuild, itself: if enough jump ship, revenues drop, and the funds available to spend when the spending seems right will be depressed. It’s a bit of a tight rope walk, but I suppose if a move like Jackson energizes the fans, that’s fine with me, because I like the move regardless.
  • All is quiet on the Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol trade rumor fronts, and the Cubs might decide it’s best to break camp with them, and see just how competitive the team can be in the first half. If the offers aren’t there right now, then fine. But, if I’m the Cubs, I’m still working to find takers – particularly for Soriano, whose value will almost certainly never be higher.
  • Bruce thinks the Cubs actually should be in on Justin Upton, given the possibility that Soriano is gone, and Brett Jackson might not come around. He makes some sense for the Cubs, but I’m just not sure about the asking price. In no universe should the Cubs consider a deal for Upton that involves Starlin Castro, unless there’s a whoooole lot more involved than Upton (and that ain’t happenin’). Garza/Baez/Jackson would be overpaying for Upton in Bruce’s view. I’d say it’s in the ballpark, but, yeah, probably a touch too much. (Bruce also entertained a Szczur/Vogelbach/Lake for Upton and Parra, which he said might be fair if it had a catcher (Castillo?) in it. I’m thinking that’s not even remotely close to enough for Upton, let alone Upton AND Parra. He also mentioned a Baez/Jackson/Marmol/cash for Upton, which seems like a go if you’re the Cubs. Not sure about D-Backs. The trade offers went on from there – Bruce solicited them at the outset. But you’re getting the picture.)
  • A Spring Training trade of Matt Garza is very possible. And if it’s the Rangers, you can bet that the Cubs will insist on third baseman Mike Olt being included.
  • Bruce suggests the Cubs have been in on some bigger name 30-something free agents, but were shut down because they’re in a rebuild. I can think of some relievers and a couple third basemen, but no big timers.
  • Scott Boras’s initial asking price to teams on Michael Bourn was five years and $90 million.
  • When the Cubs started talking to the Angels about a Carlos Marmol deal, they asked for Peter Bourjos and an infielder. That was rejected.
  • David DeJesus probably doesn’t finish the 2013 season with the Cubs.
  • MLBTR also chatted (who, exactly, did the chatting is a touch unclear, but I think it was Mike Axisa) yesterday, and offered some interesting thoughts …

  • The Red Sox/Pirates deal involving Joel Hanrahan could be construed in favor of the Pirates, since they got a reliever – Mark Melancon – who could end up being better than Hanrahan in 2013, plus other pieces. The arrow for a Carlos Marmol trade points slightly northward.
  • The Mariners could be in on a Diamondbacks outfielder, Michael Morse if he’s made available, and Michael Bourn “if he’ll take their money.” Obviously the implication there is that the Mariners may have to outbid other suitors to land Bourn – and they might just do it, given their declining attendance and difficulty in luring top free agents.
  • The odds Alfonso Soriano is dealt remain small, even if the Cubs make him a $5 million player over the next two years, given his age and his 2011 season. If the Cubs do move him, the Yankees, Rays, Braves, Phillies, and Rangers could all be fits, which is pretty much what we’ve discussed here as well. I still think he’s mighty attractive to the right team at $5 million per year.
  • David Price is probably traded within the next 14 months (i.e., this year or next offseason), and the return is going to be massive.
  • The Phillies need to add an outfielder unless they’re crazy about Darin Ruf.
  • Matt Garza will be traded at some point. More smoke on the Garza-will-not-be-extended fire.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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