Lukewarm Stove: Lowrie Trade, Barney, Bourn, Soriano

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Lukewarm Stove: Lowrie Trade, Barney, Bourn, Soriano

Chicago Cubs

stoveHey, a trade to discuss. It seems like it’s been a really quiet January/February trade season, so it’s nice to have something to look at …

  • The Astros and A’s pulled off a big-ish trade yesterday, with the Astros sending middle infielder Jed Lowrie and reliever Fernando Rodriguez to the A’s for power hitter Chris Carter, a top 10 system pitching prospect (Brad Peacock) and a top 15 system catching prospect (Max Stassi). Rodriguez, 28, has been an up-and-down reliever with a nice strikeout rate, but rough everything else. He’s basically a throw-in, so you’re looking at a 26-year-old quality DH/1B option, a quality pitching prospect, and a quality catching prospect for Lowrie.
  • That seems like a mighty haul, and it makes me wonder what the market for Darwin Barney would look like if the Cubs actually did shop him. Lowrie has offensive ability that Barney does not (the former’s career OPS+ is 97, while the latter’s is just 79), and, if he played shortstop, is probably in the same general range that Barney would be in defensively (I think Barney would be better, though). But Lowrie is expected to play second base for the A’s, where Barney is a Gold Glover. Lowrie is under control for just two more seasons, and will cost $2.4 million in 2013. Barney isn’t even arbitration-eligible until 2014, and is under control through 2016. Lowrie is a couple years older, and has had repeated health issues (his 97 games last year were a career high). All together, it’s pretty easy to see why the Cubs would probably require a whole lot more than we would have thought for Barney in trade – and that, among other reasons, is probably why we haven’t heard any serious trade discussions. Teams are reluctant to give up that kind of package – arguably, Barney deserves one better than the Astros just got for Lowrie – for a defense first second baseman. And the Cubs are reluctant to give him up, given how much surplus value his contract situation offers.
  • The Mets’ pursuit of Michael Bourn appears to be increasingly dramatically in its intensity, with David Wright reaching out to Bourn to try and persuade him to sign with the Mets. GM Sandy Alderson confirmed the Mets’ interest publicly, per the New York Post: “We’re getting to the point where we can be in the mix. If you look at the fundamental composition of our team, it wouldn’t take more than a couple of moves [like adding Bourn] to change the whole perception of things.’’ Alderson went on to confirm that the Mets would seek to have their number 11 pick protected if they sign Bourn. “In the event we get to that point, I don’t think it’s fair to say we’re looking for a rule change,” Alderson said. “We’re looking to clarify the effect of the existing rule. It’s sort of a case of first impression. It hasn’t been dealt with before. If we get to that point, we’ll see.’’ I’m sure those conversations are already being had, and this has the feel of a situation where, if the Mets get their way (and I’ve discussed before why I don’t think they should), they’ll be signing Bourn.
  • Phil Rogers says Alfonso Soriano might soon become a hot commodity, but it’s predicated mostly upon stuff we’ve discussed before (Nelson Cruz and Alex Rodriguez PED issues). He adds that the Rays remain one of the best fits for Soriano, and I continue to agree.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.