We are three days away from the waiver trade deadline – not quite the same build-up, eh? – and all is quiet on the Cubs’ front. The David DeJesus deal came as quite a surprise, but a relatively inactive August was largely expected for the Cubs. I’m not sure there’s anything else coming in the next three days.
- The Pirates and Mets, however, got together on waiver deal yesterday, with the Mets sending Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pirates for 19-year-old infield prospect Dilson Herrera and a PTBNL. The Pirates are taking on most of the salary involved (about $1 million total), and Herrera was in the 11 to 20 range in the Pirates’ very good system. It’s a nice return for the Mets, given that Byrd was found money and was a free agent at the end of the year. Does this deal say anything about what the Cubs and Pirates weren’t able to accomplish involving an outfielder before the July 31 deadline? Eh, not really. The Cubs’ asking price on Nate Schierholtz was likely considerably higher than this (as it should be), and we don’t know if the Pirates really had much interest in David DeJesus (they did pass on him last week when the Nats were waiver-shenaniganning). That is all to say, I don’t look at this deal and think, “oh man, the Cubs clearly could have put together a reasonable trade with the Pirates if they’d just been more flexible.” I think the Cubs had steep demands on Schierholtz (again, as they should have had), and maybe the interest out there in DeJesus was tepid (beyond mere salary relief).
- We’ve talked about Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka before, and the 24-year-old righty is expected to make his way to the States this offseason. You don’t get the sense that Tanaka is quite on the same level as Yu Darvish, but the stuff sounds close and the numbers in Japan are right there. If he’s made available via the posting system, Tanaka will garner significant interest. Given his age and role, I’d think the Cubs would be one of the many teams involved. Ben Badler has a great write-up on Tanaka at BA, including an extended discussion of possible changes to the posting system this offseason. You’ll recall that the posting system involves MLB teams submitting blind bids (best and final) for the right to negotiate with the at-issue player. So, after you win the post with your bid, you then have to pay the player to sign. A possible change Badler mentions is a system where the post is capped, and multiple teams could win the right to negotiate with the player (that would shift significant dollars from the Japanese team collecting the post money to the player, himself).
- We heard last week that the Cubs may have some interest in pursuing outfielder Shin-Soo Choo this offseason, and Nick Cafardo says the Cubs – together with the Mets, Yankees, Phillies, and Red Sox – make sense for Choo. Cafardo also implies that the Cubs could have interest in Bronson Arroyo, given the Theo Epstein connection.
- Bruce Levine chatted yesterday, and, among his thoughts on many subjects, he wasn’t sure whether the Cubs are going to consider Shin-Soo Choo in the offseason. Instead, the name Levine has heard is Jacoby Ellsbury. My stance on both guys remains the same: each makes sense for the Cubs for a variety of reasons, but I could understand a reticence to go longer than four years. And the money obviously makes a difference here.
- On the waiver trade deadline point, Levine hears that the Cubs are still talking to teams about Dioner Navarro. The problem there from my perspective is a quality back-up catcher like Navarro on a cheap deal can’t possibly clear waivers (can he?). So you’d have the option of trading him to the claiming team, only, and a market of one usually doesn’t make for a great return. The real question from the Cubs’ perspective is whether they want to try and bring Navarro back next year. If so, they might want to keep him. If not, they might let him go on waivers for a small return, and then go after someone like Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the offseason (who would probably split time fairly evenly with Welington Castillo).
- Buster Olney analyzed where Robinson Cano, the top free agent on the market this year, would make sense. He looked at the Cubs, but, citing budgetary constraints tied to the renovation, as well as the fact that the 2014 and 2015 Cubs might not be playoff caliber even with Cano, Olney doesn’t think the Cubs are a fit. I tend to agree that Cano doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Cubs, but I’d also cite the impending deluge of quality infield prospects (I know, I know, prospects are never a sure thing). I do think the Cubs could be a .500ish team in 2014, and quite good by 2015, but I’m not sure Cano is the best allocation of future resources. The kind of commitment he’s going to command will likely best be spent by a team that is *clearly* going to be playoff-caliber in 2014 and 2015.