The latest from around the rumor mill …
- Another day, another Chase Headley to the Cubs rumor (is he the new David Price?). Ken Rosenthal writes about Headley from a variety of angles, one of which is specifically connecting him to the Cubs. Rosenthal says Headley would be “perfect for the Cubs” when paired with a young core featuring Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Albert Almora. Setting aside the fact that any deal for Headley would cost the Cubs at least one of those three prospects, I’m not convinced Headley is a “perfect” fit so much as a “pretty OK one.” Headley, to be sure, is a great, great player. But, for one thing, if he’s traded midseason, it isn’t going to be to the Cubs. A team that could use Headley for a playoff chase is going to be willing to pay a lot more for Headley than the Cubs should be willing to pay, since his value to them starts in 2014, not 2013. For another thing, the Cubs would be trading a huge chunk of the farm for one year of Headley, and then the right to extend a guy who will be 31 in the first year of that extension. That’s not to completely rule it out, but unlike the long-term pitching situation, I can conceive of a number of quality third basemen coming up through the Cubs’ system by 2015. If the Cubs are going to do the trade-a-ton-and-then-extend-for-a-ton thing with anyone on the market, I’d still rather it was someone like David Price,* rather than Headley. If the Cubs could pick up Headley after the season without decimating the system, however, it’s not like I would necessarily shake my fists in anger (especially if it was paired with a couple other savvy moves that position the Cubs to be much improved in 2014).
- *Subject to keeping a very close eye on the problems Price is having this year. It isn’t just poor performance – his velocity is down, and he’s getting hit. A lot.
- Patrick Mooney writes, generally, that the Cubs can’t afford to miss out on the next Yu Darvish. Mooney is writing about the concept of a “Darvish,” but I’ll take the opportunity to remind you about the next facsimile to come out of Japan: Masahiro Tanaka, who is doing Yu Darvish-y things in the NPB, and could be posted after the season. The 24-year-old righty is someone you’ll hear much more about as the offseason approaches, so you’re advised to keep his name in mind.
- For whatever it’s worth, Buster Olney reports the Cubs were in third place in the blind bidding for Hyun-Jin Ryu with a $15 million posting bid. The Rangers bid $18 million and the Dodgers won with a $25.7 million bid. The only thought I have: if the Cubs bid $15 million and lost because they believed that, coupled with the expected contract, was the most Ryu was worth, then OK. If they end up being wrong on that, well, then, they whiffed. It happens. But if they believed he was worth more, and were constricted in the bidding for financial reasons, then I’ll be deeply disappointed. I’ll also not be very optimistic for the anticipated Tanaka bidding.
- As a prospective free agent and/or Trade Deadline piece, Scott Feldman is coming in for some heavy praise from Buster Olney. The possible return on a Feldman trade is going to be interesting, as he does not come with any team control for 2014, so he’s a pure rental. And he doesn’t have a long, consistent track record of success. So, if he’s sporting a 3.00-ish ERA with good peripherals at the Trade Deadline … what’s a guy like that worth? A great deal will depend on the market – who else is available, how many teams are buying – but I’ve got to believe the return would be markedly less than, for example, the Cubs got for Paul Maholm (more established track record, extra year of control). A top 10 organizational prospect, maybe? A top 10 and a top 20? Certainly not a top 100 overall, right? Unless it was a guy with a lot of warts, I guess.
Cubs Prospect Notes: Alcántara’s Big Year Ahead, Caution on Wicks and Triantos, Offensive System, Slaughter, Hodge, More