Heavy Traffic on Garza, Cubs Watch Gonzalez and Other News and Rumors

With July quickly approaching, if the last few days are any indication the next month leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline should be any but boring for the Chicago Cubs. It appears the front office is willing to discuss all but a few players on their roster.

The general feeling is that Matt Garza will be the first player traded. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported on Friday that there is “heavy traffic” on Garza throughout the league and he should be traded well ahead of the deadline. It might be easier to report the teams that have not been linked to Garza in recent days than the ones that have shown interest.

The Orioles, Rangers, Giants, Padres, Rockies, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Dodgers are the teams known to have interest in Garza. According to Jon Heyman, Garza’s past success in the AL East gives him a slight edge over other pitchers on the market.

Jon Heyman reported that the Cubs realized as far back as two springs ago that they would have to trade Garza when talks over a multi-year extension “never got traction.” At the time the talks broke down between Garza and the Cubs it was believed to be over Garza requesting a no-trade clause being included in the deal. The Cubs’ front office no longer includes no-trade clauses or no-trade provisions in the contracts.

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

Cuban right-hander, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez threw in front of about 45 scouts in Mexico on Friday night. Danny Knobler was told the Cubs were “heavily represented” at his start on Friday night.

Gonzalez pitched for the Tijuana Toros in what was billed as a showcase for the 26-year old Cuban defector. Gonzalez reportedly throws a fastball that sits consistently in mid-90s and has touched 96 mph on the gun. Gonzalez also throws a cutter, a change-up and a curveball.

Major League Baseball declared Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez a free agent so once he receives his unblocking license he can sign with a team. Since Gonzalez is considered a free agent he would not count against a team’s International bonus pool.

Reports have suggested that Gonzalez could sign a deal worth anywhere from four years and $40 million to five years and $60 million, if not more. Gonzalez has not received his unblocking license and he is expected to sign with a team soon after he is cleared.

The Dodgers are seen as the favorite to sign Gonzalez.

Kevin Gregg

Add the Colorado Rockies to the Braves as the two teams known to have shown interest in Kevin Gregg. According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies like Gregg and are also looking for a starter. The Rockies’ scouts are finishing up their reports as the team ramps up pursuit of a reliever and a starter.

Alfonso Soriano

A report from the Sun-Times questioned if Alfonso Soriano’s games are numbered with the Cubs. The Cubs sitting a healthy Soriano for the last two games in Milwaukee raised a lot of questions … and speculation.

According to the Sun-Times, Alfonso Soriano’s playing time might be reduced in August as outfielders such as Ryan Sweeney and Brian Bogusevic receive more playing time. The Cubs have viewed Bogusevic as more than just a minor league free agent signing from day one.

The Sun-Times reported the possibility of Soriano becoming a platoon player. But Soriano “seemed resigned, if not agreeable, to sharing playing time in the second half of the season if the Cubs wind up with a logjam of productive outfielders.”

Minor League News

Outfielder Kevin Encarnacion was promoted from Boise to Kane County on Friday.

The Smokies placed Trey McNutt on the 7-day DL with an undisclosed injury.

John Andreoli was promoted from Daytona to Double-A Tennessee on Friday and Bijan Rademacher was moved up from Kane County to Daytona.

Cubs’ sixth-round draft pick, RHP Scott Frazier was assigned to the Boise Hawks on Friday.

News, Notes and Rumors

According to Jon Heyman, Shawn Camp can be added to the list of players the Cubs have made available.

According to Nick Cafardo, three teams have shown interest in Carlos Marmol. Cafardo did not report which teams are interested.

The Sun-Times reported the Cubs’ marketing brass was in Seattle to “scout” the largest video board in the majors on Friday just two days after Ald. Tom Tunney demanded the team reduced the proposed 6,000 square foot jumbotron at Wrigley to 3,500 square feet.

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