If there were a senior superlative for “Most Likely to Be Traded By the Chicago Cubs This Week,” it would go to Nate Schierholtz.
That according to an ESPN Chicago report, citing a “league source” who says Schierholtz is likely to be the next Cub to go. The report includes thoughts from Schierholtz about being traded, and how he deals with rumor season.
Rumors about Schierholtz have been swirling for some time now, and, in a very thin outfield trade market, he’s gotta be a mighty attractive trade piece to a number of teams. The report cites the Rangers, who’ve been looking for a bat for some time (and whose system the Cubs are obviously familiar with), as well as “two or three other teams.” We’ve heard about the Pirates’ interest in Schierholtz for a few weeks.
Of course, Schierholtz holds a great deal of value to the Cubs, not just to trade partners. Not only is he hitting .278/.339/.530 on the year while making just $2.25 million, he has one more year of arbitration left. Without an obvious replacement in the waiting at AAA, the Cubs might be content to hang onto the 29-year-old in the hopes of added respectability – nay, competitiveness! – in 2014.
The asking price on Schierholtz, who plays solid defense and runs the bases well, should be quite healthy. There are few quality bats on the market, and Schierholtz provides as much value as just about any bat who will change teams this trade season. We’ll see what happens over the next few days.
A parting thought on ESPN’s source on this one: a league source. As in, not a Cubs source. That suggests to me that ESPN is hearing this from a team that has spoken with the Cubs. If other teams are getting a sense that the Cubs are likely to move Schierholtz, then maybe there’s something to it.