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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  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    If the FO wanted to extend Garza but couldn’t agree on a deal, then I change my tune and completely support and understand trading him.
    While I agree that no-trade clauses are generally horrible, you have to wonder if this policy will cost the Cubs certain FA signings down the road. We will have to see.
    Travis Wood looks good…and likely overachieving…I hope they consider trading him while his stock is high.

    • Tony_Hall

      Of course the FO wanted to extend him, but no FO wants to extend their own players at FA prices. They expect a discount for giving the extension early. Security for the player without throwing another pitch and getting injured, and a discount for the team. WIN-WIN

      NTC are just bad. Many teams don’t offer them, I can only think of one GM that handed them out like candy.

      T Wood is not going anywhere, without a very large return. He is part of the future.

      • Ray Ray

        Really? What GM is that? You have given credit to JH for re-inventing the GM position. He should be put in the hall of fame for his creativeness and contributions to the game such as inventing back loaded contracts and NTC.

        • Tony_Hall

          He really should be….

          • Ray Ray

            Agreed. He did some really good things. Theo copied alot of those NTC in Boston and backloaded deals as well. Theo owes alot to JH.

          • Tony_Hall

            Must be why he is so against them now, just like JH gets “off the hook” for the extra 3 years of Soriano’s contarct, Theo wasn’t the final say in Boston on deals and clauses. Now he is, no more NTC.

          • Ray Ray

            Haha. You should read that article in Boston that came out 5 days ago on how much better off the Red Sox are now with Cherrington instead of Theo. I will look for it and post it for you. Good stuff.

          • Tony_Hall

            You can also read the book that was linked on here that gave ALL the credit for Boston 2 World Series Championships to Theo…..there are always 2 sides to every story…..

    • John_CC

      I don’t the Cubs trade Wood and I don’t think they should. He was their first major acquisition, they targeted him because he was young and full of potential. This is different than their view of players like Feldman, Villanueva, Schierholtz, etc. in whom they saw potential as “assets” that might be trade-able.

      It is a mistake to think that every single player the Cubs acquire is simply to be flipped. They just do not have the pitching depth to trade away they young and good pitchers. Wood and Shark are two important parts of future staff, at least for a couple years.

      Finally, just because Wood might be over achieving and pitching like #3 doesn’t mean he can’t be a very solid #4 when he comes back to Earth. But there is also a chance that he is not over achieving but just developing into a solid pitcher. He is only 25 I believe.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    I think they should take whatever they can for Soriano. The benefits of seeing what some kids can do in the OF outweighs having to eat the last year of his contract, no matter how much production he might wind up giving you next year. He just isn’t part of the future, and this lineup is stocked with utility/role/bench players…we gotta see if we have future starting OF talent from our system, or that we acquire in FA or via trade, that can be productive and be part of the plan for the next 3-5 years.

    • Tony_Hall

      We won’t get much back in trade. At this point he is a DH who needs to be platooned and just face lefties.

      But for an AL team that NEEDS a RH DH, we may get a mid-level prospect back.

      I think it is obvious from the recent lineups that everyone gets that our OF is better with the Bogusevic’s, Sweeney’s and Schierholtz’s playing against RH’s. And that still leaves out Borbon.

      • Ray Ray

        You have been saying that about Soriano for 2 years and he hit a HR last night against a tough RH. Soriano should be given a day off every now and then and you will see him have games like last night. He shouldn’t be playing every day(maybe 4 or 5 games a week) and I bet he will be more productive.

        Regarding the OF defense…you must not be watching the games. Outfield defense last night was horrible. Bogusevic let a ball get by him for a triple in the 8th inning that cost them the game. He even played it off to the side. Just a horrible horrible play, and Sweeney and Schierholtz had bad communication earlier in the game on a ball in right center that should have been caught. None of those plays were called errors but they were both plays that should have been handled differently.

        • paulcatanese

          I hope that was just outfielders getting used to each other, that flyball was Sweeney, but then you know that (not a wisecrack)

          center field has the call on that one.

          Bogusevic did let that get by, played the route wrong. Don’t know if Soriono would have caught it either but suspect he would have played it as a single.

          Would have been a tough catch anyway. Both were as you
          indicate, mental lapses.

          • Ray Ray

            I actually listened last night and I couldn’t believe JD actually defend “Bogie” (Astro games) saying that he doesn’t fault him for trying to make that catch. Huh? You are up 4-3 at the time. The runner on 2nd wouldn’t have scored since he needed to make sure the ball would drop before running. It is the 8th inning. You never as an outfielder take an unnecessary chance where a bad play can let the tying run score. He looked shaky to me all game in LF. It almost looked as if he wasn’t picking the ball up. If he plays the ball in front of him and the ball drops, the tying run couldn’t have scored anyway

          • paulcatanese

            If I recall, Hairston made the same mistake in right a few weeks ago.

            Sheirholtz has a tough time dealing with the wall as well.

            But as I had said, I think Soriono would have played that as a single last night, maybe because he knew he couldn’t have reached it, maybe not ,but it would have been a single.
            Sweeney looks as though he has the hot hand right now.

        • Tony_Hall

          Sorry, didn’t stay up and watch last night. We had a early game today and a full schedule this weekend. Of course, today is rained out and we are trying to squeeze 2 days into 1 to salvage the tournament.

          Soriano

          223/250/372

          298/330/468

          One set of these numbers is productive and one is not. I will see if you can figure out which one is against LH’s and which one is against RH’s.

          As far as defense, Soriano’s D will not be missed, even if others do make mistakes (of course they will, all players make mistakes), as Soriano has had many, many plays go down as hits instead of errors.

          • Ray Ray

            I have no problem if you are going to replace or platoon Soriano with someone who will be part of the future…but Brian Bogusevic? That is ridiculous.

          • Tony_Hall

            He might be, but against RH’s in his bad career…..242/326/371

            Or the same as Soriano this year against RH’s….with an extra 50 pts of OBP.

          • Ray Ray

            look at Soriano’s career instead of 3 months. No comparison or even look at last year.

          • Tony_Hall

            His career is the past, what do you expect him to do in the future….play to his career numbers or less than that…..I will take less than that.

          • Ray Ray

            I expect him to play close to last years full season. Pretty even splits.

          • Tony_Hall

            Let’s check back in October…..

          • Ray Ray

            Soriano hit 24 HR’s last year vs RHP! How can you ignore that?

          • Tony_Hall

            Watching with my eyes this year……I don’t see it.

            Maybe he needs to drop another ounce off that bat :)

          • Ray Ray

            you said the same thing last year. you wanted him released and eat his entire salary. As you can see this year….it wasn’t “wonderboy” the magic bat. ha! I think a team will trade for him this year. He will help a team.

          • Tony_Hall

            Last year his bat was slow, until he switched bats…..it is already warm weather, when is he going to turn the switch then this year, because that is what you always say, when the weather heats up, he will hit.

          • Ray Ray

            Have a good weekend Tony! Got a tee time with the boys!

          • Tony_Hall

            Sounds like fun, all we get is rain here.

          • Ray Ray

            Soriano last year

            vs RHP .263 .315 .502 Slg

            vs LHP .260 .342 .489 Slg

            He can hit righties with power and be productive. He needs to be rested a little more but to say that he should be platooned for Bogusevic is ridiculous. Look what Rizzo is hitting vs a LH starter. Should he be platooned? .198 .317 and .372 slg

          • Tony_Hall

            Yes if Rizzo was in his mid 30′s and not a part of the future, he should be platooned, but that’s not his situation. Baseball isn’t one size fits all. Even though you like to do that, it doesn’t work. Each player, teams, etc is a different situation, that needs to be evaluated on their own. Soriano needs to play against lefties and the RH’s that don’t throw nasty sliders. His production would go up

          • Ray Ray

            I agree with that. Sit him some against certain RHP but not a platoon.

          • Dorasaga

            Good luck with the tourney, and to your kids, man, take care on the field. Very hot summer coming. I’ll see your updates somewhere, I guess?

  • Ray Ray

    James Russell now has 5 blown saves. He is a situational lefty period. This team needs to aquire some young lefthanded relief prospects this trade deadline. The only 2 lefties at AAA are Raley and Rusin(both are starters)

    Pitchers like Sean Marshall are rare. He could get both lefties and righties out. To think that you can just plug in any pitcher to take his role is simply not true. If Russell is not traded, he needs to be taken out of that 8th inning role.

    On another note. Blake Parker has some potential. He got squeezed in the 9th. He’s got a live arm and nice split. Keep throwing him out there.

    • Tom U

      Ray, Rusin has some limited relief experience, and may be better suited for that role in the majors. I consider Raley to be a starter who can be effective if sandwiched between some hard throwers.

      While I would like to see Blake Parker have some success for all the hard work he has put in, a better bullpen option may be Brian Schlitter.

      Schlitter looks as if he has put some of his injuries behind him and has closer experience in the minors. It might be a good thing to bring him up and see what he can do before pulling the trigger on any deal for Gregg.

      • paulcatanese

        Sounds good to me. I have lost count of the Cubs having walk off loss’s against them, but has to be quite a few.

      • Ray Ray

        Tom are there any power arm lefties in the system who have late inning relief upside?

        • Tom U

          Ray, sorry to get back so late.

          There are a number of lefties that are on the verge of being the type of players that are very helpful in the pen.

          Zac Rosscup’s line of 2.05/1.043 in 30.2IP with a 46:13 K ratio is riduculous. He has had injury issues in the past.

          Hunter Cervenka is just getting his feet wet at AA, but has a 14:6 K rate in 14.2IP

          Frank Del Valle at Daytona looks like a keeper. 2.60/1.442 with a 46:21 ratio in 34.2IP.

          • Ray Ray

            Rosscup’s numbers are ridiculous. He was a throw in as part of the Garza deal right? That would be icing on the cake if he ends up being part of the bullpen in a year or 2.

          • Tom U

            Rosscup was part of the Garza deal

    • Tony_Hall

      Ah, the blown save stat…..you don’t want to grasp saber stat’s (not even the M’s) but you gravitate to one of the most useless stats for a reliever, especially a reliever who is not the closer.

      • Ray Ray

        I guess when you come in the game in the 8th with a 4-2 lead and the other team ties it up…that is a useless stat? Ah, such useless information.

        • Tony_Hall

          It also applies to the 5th, 6th, 7th…..if it only applied to the 8th or 9th, then it would have some merit. But I don’t consider it a save situation in those earlier innings.

          • Ray Ray

            James Russell stats.

            vs RHB .286 avg and a .390 OBP (ouch)

            vs LHB .177 and a .203 OBP (Excellent)

            How does he perform in the 8th inning???

            .266 Avg and a .319 OBP. Not nearly as effective as he is in the 7th or 6th. He is a loogy.

          • Tony_Hall

            OK, maybe that is why Dale takes him out and brings him in as a situational lefty.

            Relievers are good one year, then not the next. Russell was good last year, and not so good this year. That is why relievers should be on 1 year contracts and never, let me repeat, never have a NTC.

            I would trade a reliever for a starting pitcher anytime.

          • Ray Ray

            You can see with your eyes that he doesn’t have the stuff to put away righties.

          • Tony_Hall

            Like I said, if a trade offer came for him, I would trade him.

  • Ray Ray

    Embattled Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol, who currently sits in DFA limbo, may be able to draw some kind of trade return after all. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that three unnamed teams have shown some interest in Marmol.

    • paulcatanese

      Of course Ray, they can “fix” him:)

    • Tony_Hall

      Teams have a hard time passing on a player that has been successful, regardless of how bad they have currently been doing, when that player can fill a hole in their team.

      • Ray Ray

        Bullpen arms are always at a premium for a playoff team. That is why I knew he would be picked up.

        • Tony_Hall

          Of course we both know that team that picks him up, will be now the “Biggest Loser”

  • Tom U

    Boise Hawk notes:

    With the additions of RHP’s in 5th round pick Trey Masek and 6th round pick Scott Frazier, expect RHP’s James Pugliese and Paul Blackburn to be promoted to Kane Co. soon. The Cougars are having rotation issues and both have been dominant in the Northwest League.

    Kane Co. has also had issues with closer all season, so Michael Hamman may also get a quick call up. Hamman already has three saves in six appearances and is demonstrating that arm problems that sidelined him last year are not an issue.

    First round pick Kris Bryant may have missed an opportunity by not signing yet. The Hawks were in need of a third baseman after Jose fore showed that he could not handle the position and Danny Lockhart is more of a middle infielder. The front office rushed 11th round pick Jordan Hankins up to help fill the need.

    The promotion of OF Kevin Encarnacion was mildly surprising but deserved. Encarnacion spent the last two season dominating the DSL, and probably should have been higher up in the system by now. However, there was the thought that the organization wanted to accelerate the development of OF Jacob Hannemann

    • Tom U

      Just as I posted this, the Cubs announced they promoted Michael Hamman to Kane Co.

      • Suzy S

        Tom, Just want to say that even though I don’t post all the time…I’m always reading your posts and really, really appreciate your hard work….I can’t keep all the minor league news straight without your constant updates…So once again…thanks for all your work…it’s much appreciated!!!

        • Tom U

          Thanks Ray, I’m glad Neil lets me do it!

          • Dorasaga

            And I concur. Good job.

  • Suzy S

    Just saw on another site that Zambrano left the Phillies AAA team last night with a shoulder injury.
    Looks like that nails him down for this season.
    I wish the guy well…but the water buckets around the league are relieved.

  • Tom U

    Kane Co. Cougar notes:

    If you want to know why the results at Kane Co. have been a little disappointing, look no further than the pitching staff. Kane Co. is second to last in the league in both ERA and saves. The Cougars lost a rotation anchor in Jose Arias early in the season and Pierce Johnson has been promoted. Tayler Scott and Michael Heesch are nice prospects, but not good enough to carry a staff. Jose Rosario, Dillon Maples, and Lendy Castillo have been nothing short of train wrecks.

    The bullpen has also failed to come through, as Eddie Orzco and Justin Amlung have not stepped forward. Lefties Nathan Dorris and Brian Smith have had okay seasons, and Steve Perakslis has been doing better. Hopefully, they will receive a boost from Michael Hamman.

    The front office may also be a little disappointed with Dan Vogelbach and Rock Shoulders. Both started out well but have been inconsistent. Management may be holding back on some first base promotions until one of these guys steps up.

    Both Marco Hernandez and Gioskar Amaya may be in danger of being replaced by some of the college age infielders recently drafted.

    Flying under the radar has been OF Oliver Zapata, who is .270/.339/.395/.734 with 3 HR, 9 SB, and 28 RBI in 215 AB.

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