According to Buster Olney, the Cubs have started the process of exchanging names with other teams on some of their players. With the draft in the rearview mirror and the trading deadline around seven weeks away, Olney’s report should not come as a surprise. The Cubs are open for business and have several players teams could have interest in. If the front office can make the right deals, it will help add inventory to an already improving system.
As both Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have said, look for the deals the Cubs make to include as much pitching as possible.
So which players will be dealt? And which ones will be kept?
Matt Garza improved his stock with Friday’s outing against the Astros. While the line does not look as good, Garza threw the ball much better against Houston than he did last Sunday in New York. Garza followed up the worst statistical start of his career with seven shutout innings against the Mets and eight dominant innings on Friday. Garza has allowed one run on seven hits with four walks and 13 strikeouts over his last 15-plus innings (0.60 ERA, 0.80 WHIP).
Buster Olney reported the Orioles are one of the teams believed to be interested in Garza. According to Jim Bowden, Garza makes sense for the Orioles, Rangers, Indians, Rockies and Giants. There have been rumblings over the last few weeks of the Giants possible interest in Garza.
Scott Feldman did not help himself or the Cubs with his last outing on Thursday in St. Louis. But while the line was not that good, he threw the ball well and had good command.
The Giants seem to be one of the teams that would be interested in trading for Feldman according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Hank Schulman. Feldman seems to be a better fit with a NL club based on the improvement he has shown this season under Chris Bosio.
Good outings for Feldman in Milwaukee and in Oakland would up his value.
Kevin Gregg is going to be moved, the question is not if but when. According to Buster Olney, the Cubs encouraged “at least one team” to review tape of Gregg’s outings to see the improvement he has made this year.
Buster Olney speculated that James Russell could be available and correctly pointed out that Russell is under team control for two more seasons. Russell is in his first arbitration season, is extremely affordable ($1.075 million) and in turn, should be very expensive to any team interested in trading for him.
It is not a secret that the Cubs lack left-handed pitching in the system, especially near big league ready, and the front office is finding out this season how important it is for the psyche of a young team to be able to close out wins. The front must do what is right for the long-term success of the team but at the same time, they cannot give Russell away and should be asking for the same return to the one they received the last time they traded a very good left-handed reliever.
Buster Olney speculated that Schierholtz would be a fit for the Royals and the Pirates. Olney pointed out the history of trades between Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Neal Huntington could help the Pirates fill a need.
Of the position players, Nate Schierholtz could be the one the front office keeps. Schierholtz is under control for one more season and he would provide a cost effective option for 2014 while players gain experience down on the farm.
Alfonso Soriano seems to be ready to waive his no-trade clause, especially after his outburst in the clubhouse last Sunday in New York and the comments he made about Carlos Marmol. The problem the Cubs have now is trying to find a team that would be interested considering he is not hitting.
The Yankees have been rumored as a possible destination. Soriano recently said he would not mind finishing his career in New York. The Cubs willingness to pay a majority of his remaining contract will help but the front office would want an actual prospect or two in return and the Yankees system is rather thin.
According to Buster Olney, the Cubs have outfielders in the minors they would like to promote, including Brian Bogusevic, who is having a good year with the I-Cubs. Bogusevic’s tenth homer of the season on Friday was of the inside-the-park variety and he is hitting .325/.425/.518/.943 with 14 doubles, two triples and 10 home runs in 75 games.
This is just the beginning … stay tuned it should be an interesting seven weeks.