Lukewarm Stove: Lots of Calls, Soriano, Garza, Yankees, Santana, Salazar, More

stoveThe Trade Deadline is 20 days away. Feels like it’s about 20 hours away.

  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer spoke to the media yesterday about, among other things, the trade market. He did his duty. “There’s obviously a lot of incoming phone calls,” Hoyer said, per Cubs. “There’s a lot about Matt [Garza], obviously, but a lot about other players on the team, too. I think in general in the game, phone traffic has picked up. I feel there’s a lot of interest in our players. The team is playing well, and a lot of our individual players are playing well. I think that’s a big part of it.” You hear that, other teams? The Cubs are getting lots of calls on their inventory. Act fast before it’s all gone!
  • Hoyer also noted that those of us on the outside of the negotiation chamber probably tend to overstate the impact of hot streaks leading up to the Trade Deadline. “For the most part, the ups and downs of a player probably impact the trade deadline less than people think,” Hoyer said, per CSN. “They still have a lot of scouting reports. They still have stats from before. So I think when a guy gets hot, sometimes it gets overblown how much it effects his trade value. The trade value might waver a hair, but I don’t think it’s going to waver too much.” I tend to think that a two-week hot streak – even a ridiculous one like Alfonso Soriano is on – won’t bump up a guy’s value in the sense that you get a much better prospect than you would have without the streak. But I do think it tends to prevent teams that were otherwise interested from losing interest, and could spur a team to move when they might otherwise not (even if it doesn’t directly increase the value of the return in that move).
  • Speaking of Soriano, Dayn Perry thinks this might finally be the time that the Cubs are able to deal him. Perry looks at some of the candidates for Soriano’s services, and there are several teams that could . The nice thing about Soriano is that, because of his contract, if the Cubs don’t find a taker by the Deadline, they’ll confidently be able to deal him in August, because it’s not like he won’t clear waivers.
  • Although I’m not sure I buy it, Ruben Amaro is apparently telling teams that not only are the Phillies not selling, they are interesting in buying. The Phillies are 6.5 back of the second Wild Card, and 7.5 back in the NL East. If the Phillies actually want to buy, they could definitely use a bat like Alfonso Soriano. For my part, I’d just like to see them not sell Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon. That would be plenty to keep me satisfied.
  • Ken Rosenthal says the Yankees are pushing hard to move reliever Joba Chamberlain, an impending free agent who has fallen out of favor with the organization. Although he’s not a big piece, he would impact the reliever market, so his movements will be worth tracking. Jon Heyman says the same thing about Phil Hughes, and all of the same stuff applies (as a starting pitcher). On Hughes, although he makes no sense for the Cubs as a rental, I remain intrigued by him as a possible free agent target. But I guess we’ll get to that in November.
  • Jonah Keri takes a look at how the possible Biogenesis suspensions could impact the various playoff races as well as the trade market. It’s not difficult to connect the dots to some Cubs pieces if guys like Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera, or Gio Gonzalez are suspended (not that they all are going to be, as each of the last three have possible outs).
  • Here’s hoping the Royals stay in playoff contention over the next two weeks, because a scout tells Danny Knobler that if the Royals made Ervin Santana available, he’d command a steeper price than even Matt Garza. I’m not sure I’d go that far, given that a great deal of Santana’s 2.90 ERA this year is attributable to an extremely low BABIP (.252 – 30 points lower than his career mark) and an extremely high LOB% (81.3% – almost 10 points higher than his career mark). That’s probably why his FIP is a run higher than his ERA (though, to his credit, his walk rate is down considerably this year, and his K rate is up). Nevertheless, he’d be a nice rental option on the market, offering a back-up plan to teams who find the asking price on Garza to be exorbitant. The Royals are currently six games behind the AL Central-leading Tigers, and even further back in the Wild Card. I don’t think they have a chance, but hopefully they aren’t willing to accept that just yet.
  • That same scout – based on the quote, I’m guessing – talked to Knobler about the whole of the pitching market, and, among other things, confirms that he, too, sees Garza as the best known to be available. The scout isn’t all that high on Yovani Gallardo or Bud Norris.
  • The Indians promoted pitching prospect Danny Salazar (drool over the track record) today, and he is looking ridiculously good early against the Blue Jays. If you’re the Indians and want(ed) Matt Garza, what does Salazar succeeding in, say, a few July starts do for your plans? Well, on the one hand, Cubs fans will say, “duuuude, I totally want that guy for Garza,” and the Indians would surely have done a good job of making Salazar look like an attractive trade chip (indeed, some think these kind of call-ups for MLB-ready talent is all about showcasing). On the other hand, might they just decide to take their chances with a potential superstar? Who’s to say that Salazar can’t be better than Garza over the next couple months, to say nothing of the next six years. Remember that when you get excited about the next great young player who looks like a trade chip. Sometimes teams would simply be better off keeping that dude. (As for Salazar, specifically … well, yeah, I’m sure the Cubs are interested.)
  • 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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