All Rumors Point to Another Big Week for the Cubs

If the reports and rumors are any indication it should be an interesting week for the Chicago Cubs. The non-waiver trade deadline is Wednesday and the Cubs have several players that are garnering attention … plus there’s always a deal or two that happens that no one saw coming.

The Cubs are looking to turn short-term pieces into long term assets as the front office continues to execute their plan of building the organization from the groundout up by compiling as much talent as possible.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have already made six deals this month and have turned four short-term pieces along with Steve Clevenger and Ronald Torreyes into a position player, seven pitchers and international bonus money.

The Cubs are thought to be listening to offers for Kevin Gregg with the deadline just around the corner. Epstein and Hoyer might have waited a little too long on dealing Gregg with the way he’s pitched of late, his return figures to be a mid-level pitching prospect at best. Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus could also be moved but both players are under club control for next season. And some feel their veteran leadership might be more valuable than what the Cubs could receive back in a trade.

Dioner Navarro could also be moved. The player that could net them the biggest return is James Russell. Russell is in his first year of arbitration and does not become a free agent until after the 2015 season … a cost-effective, lefty reliever with two more seasons of club control figures to have a hefty price tag.

Silly Rumors, Samardzija is a Cub

Ken Rosenthal reported on Saturday afternoon that the Cubs were listening to offers for Jeff Samardzija, which created more than just a few waves on the Internet. Rosenthal and Buster Olney reported last month that Kevin Towers reached out to the Cubs about Samardzija’s availability and when Towers was told Samardzija would cost Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley, the conversation quickly ended.

Rosenthal reiterated on Saturday that the price would be “high” for any team looking to acquire Samardzija.

Dale Sveum called Rosenthal’s report just “silly rumors” and pointed out all of the reasons why the Cubs would not want to move Samardzija.

According to a report from Patrick Mooney, “one amused player walking through the clubhouse looked at Samardzija and said: He gone! Trade rumors, they never lie.”

Patrick Mooney reported that a team official tried to calculate would Samardzija would be worth last year at the Winter Meetings and could not come up with an answer. Most see Samardzija as a top of the rotation starter, maybe not a No. 1, but a No. 2. Samardzija would like to remain with the Cubs and understands now the importance of a no-trade clause. Something he had under Jim Hendry that was voided when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer declined his club option for the 2012 season.

The Cubs are expected to approach Samardzija about signing a long-term extension again in the off-season.

Eloy Jimenez

The Cubs are expected to announce the signing of OF Eloy Jimenez at a press conference in the Dominican Republic on Thursday. The Cubs reportedly agreed to terms on a $2.8 million signing bonus with Jimenez that includes a $250,000 college scholarship.

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  • SirGladiator

    Dejesus is definitely somebody they should trade, and Gregg. Shierholtz and Russell look like long-term keepers, these are guys who know how to get the job done and are young enough to help us win a LOT of rings. I would trade Samarja also, so long as somebody pays the high price. The Braves have said they’re willing to pay big for another starter. We know the D-Backs want him, I think Cleveland does too. He’s in the top 3 of pitchers on the market right now. It’s a seller’s market, and if we can get a huge haul I’d go that route, clearly our pitching coach knows how to take mediocre to downright poor pitchers and turn them into darn good ones, just look at the guy tonight, 7 shutout innings from a guy who was a total joke just last year. Our hitting coach turns great hitters into mediocre-poor ones, but it’s the exact opposite for our pitching coach, so the more young pitchers we can get, the better. Let’s keep dealin’!

    • Ripsnorter1

      Russell?
      You think he’s having a good year?

      No. He cannot consistently get RH batters out.
      2013 stats.
      RH batter = .328 BA….409 OBP….552 slug

      He makes all the RH batters All-Stars.

      LH Batters = .179 BA….235 OBP….239 slug
      He’s an All-Star vs. LH Batters…this year.

      He’s pitched in 51 games…and only pitched 37 innings. He’s a LOOGy.

      Career wise, RH battes tatoo him.
      .292 BA
      .352 OBP
      .499 slug

      Sorry. Trade him now. It’s getting worse, not better.

      • SirGladiator

        I don’t disagree that Russell isn’t having a great year, but he’s our only lefty reliever, at this point it doesn’t matter that he sucks against righties, we need somebody who can get lefties out. If we can trade Russell and find somebody to take his place, I’m fine with that, but you can’t have an all-righty bullpen, gotta have at least one or two good lefties who know how to get automatic outs against lefty hitters. Russell can do that, so unless/until there’s an alternative we’ve gotta keep him, unless of course the deal is too insanely good to pass up.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Agree with what you said on Bosio. He appears to really know what he is doing. Unfortunately he is one of the few. I imagine all the metric help he gets from the FO makes his job a lot easier.

  • Ripsnorter1

    We should sweep the lowly SF Giants today.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Trading Samardzija is just a silly rumor, according to Team Theo?

    It’s guaranteed he’ll be dealt this week!

    LOL

    • J Daniel

      Pretty much how they roll.

  • Tony_Hall

    Samardzija is not going any where without a very good return. Reporters that report that the Cubs are listening to offers fail to mention that all teams listen to offers on all players. That doesn’t mean they will make a trade that isnt a home run for them.

    • cubtex

      Of course he is not going anywhere without a very good return. Garza wasn’t going to be given away either. That being said…. they should trade him. Samardzija is going to want to be paid better than and more than EJax in a couple of years. This team will not be good in 2014 and 2015. Trade him for some younger starting prospects.If they can get 2 potential starting rotation arms who could be ready in a year or 2 that is the way to go.

      • Brp921

        I like Samardziga a lot. I think he will figure things out and be that top one or two in a rotation. That being said I agree with you that he should be traded. I think I may have been one of the first to post something, a few weeks ago, about trading him if we could get a good return of prospects. If we were a couple more seasons into this rebuild I would feel differently but by the time the Cubs are ready to contend he’ll be a year or two on the wrong side of thirty with a huge contract. I think he will still have quite a few good years left by that time but I think the Cubs can get a couple of young minor league stud pitchers, either this year or next, who can serve us better when the time comes.

        • Suzy S

          IF he is traded, I don’t see that happening until next year…unless the FO is bopped over the head with an incredible deal.

          • Brp921

            If they can’t get a couple of young very high ceiling starting pitchers along with a couple other prospects then I would keep him.

          • Suzy S

            Agreed.

      • Josh Man

        I actually think 2015 will be a competitive year, and it isn’t impossible that next year will be.

        • J Daniel

          Please explain how you think so?

          • cubtex

            agreed. I would like to hear how anyone would think that next year could be more competitive.

          • Josh Man

            For the last two months, we’ve been playing .500 ball, we’ve got some young players getting a chance now, and others on the verge. We could be seeing many of them, (Olt, Szczur, Baez) before the year is out, joining Junior Lake. Once the youngsters are ready to play, Theo, et. al will be more willing to spend some money to fill some holes. Sure, I’m being optimistic to think there is a shot for competing next year, but I have no doubt the plan is to compete in 2015.

          • cubtex

            From June 25 last year till July 25th the Cubs were 16-9. Then they traded Dempster,Maholm,Reed Johnson etc. This year they traded Garza and Soriano so far. They will struggle again in the second half. Not nearly as badly I don’t think but when they play the better teams….it will result in a lot of losing. The young kids will struggle, Olt ,Szczur etc. Junior Lake will come back down to earth. There are no impact starting pitching free agents to sign. Pierce Johnson is not ready. Zastryzny is not ready. They will have a worse rotation next year. Unless a drastic trade is made it will more than likely be Olt,Castro,Barney,Rizzo and Castillo catching. With Lake maybe getting a shot in the outfield with another Schierholtz or Dejesus and possibly another rookie. Does that team look like it will be better?

          • Josh Man

            Shark, Wood, Jackson, and maybe Arodys Vizcaino, with Rusin, Grimm, or Arietta, rounding it out. I don’t think out pitching will be as bad as you seem to. Forgive me for choosing to be optimistic, but I believe .500 next season with playoffs in 2015 is more than possible

          • jtrain23

            I have to agree with you. I don’t think the Cubs are as far from respectability as many people point to.

            They just have to start winning when the season starts instead of digging a hole like they have the last two seasons. The Cubs are young, and it is hard for a young team to respond to early losses. Last year and this year the Cubs have played pretty well in June and July. However, they have taken it on the chin early and then their roster has been so depleted late that you cannot fairly evaluate their wins and losses.

            IF they manage to have some early success then I believe they could ride that momentum all year, plus they wouldn’t trade away veterans mid season if they have a respectable record.

  • Tom U

    Minor League Notes:

    The trading deadline is not the only important thing happening over the next week. The last week of July/first week of August is usually when the last round of promotions occur in the minors. Teams try to get their top prospects to move up a level to get a head start on their next season. If a player doesn’t get the nod, he most likely will remain at the level he is at for the rest of the season.

    The notable exception in this case would be Kris Bryant, who the Cubs would like to push as far up the chain as possible.

    The most high profile promotions could be: Matt Szczur to Iowa, Dustin Geiger to Tennessee, Dan Vogelbach to Daytona, Cael Brockmeyer to Kane Co., Jeffrey Baez to Boise, Dalfis Ortiz and Bryant Flete to the AZL Cubs.

    Szczur’s promotion to Iowa would be contingent on what the organization wants to do with Brett Jackson. There are hints that they want Jackson to go to Tennessee.

    The hottest player in the minors could be Justin Bour. He has hit .302 over his last ten games and homered in four consecutive games. Bour has bashed 11 home runs and the Smokies are 22-12 since he has returned from a broken wrist. In a side note, Tennessee’s errors have also decreased since Bour has been back in the line-up.

    • Suzy S

      Tom, If BJAX goes back to Iowa…you think that will block Szczur’s promotion?

      • Tom U

        Yes. I believe it will be one or the other, and that is why they approached Jackson on the move.

        • Suzy S

          I’m with Cubtex…I’d like to see Szczur promoted to Iowa with the hope that he gets a shot next year at Wrigley…probably mid-season.
          BJAX ko rate is just too much…I think it will make him a AAAA guy. He might blossom yet…but he can’t be blocking guys.
          Do you think BJAX or Szczur might be packaged in a trade?

    • cubtex

      Tom. Where would Geiger play? I think they would have to wait for Olt to be promoted to the Cubs, Villanueva to Iowa and then Geiger to Tennessee.

      I would like to see Szczur get promoted. I like his athletic ability and it would be nice to get some speed in the outfield.

      • Tom U

        Sorry to be responding so late, out with the family.

        Geiger would split time between 1B and DH with Bour. If Tennessee didn’t get Jackson, Jonathan Mota and Nate Samson would be used in the outfield.

      • Suzy S

        I agree with you about Szczur. His skill set as a table setter (one that can get on base), with speed is something the Cubs have been missing for years.

        • cubtex

          I am probably old school with many saber fans but I love speed at the top of the lineup. It puts so much pressure on a defense.

          • Suzy S

            Agreed. …and I am old school.
            Building the championship begins with great defense up the middle…C/2nd/SS/CF….and great pitching.
            Currently, with the exception of Barney that doesn’t figure to be around long unless he can suddenly develop a bat…we’re lacking all of that.

          • cubtex

            Loved that 1984 team with Bobby Dernier and Ryne Sandberg hitting 1,2. Dernier stole 45 bases and Sandberg 32. They put so much pressure on defense. Sarge batting 3rd could run a little bit.Leon Durham batting 4th could run. That was a fun year.

          • Suzy S

            Yes…it really was the start of good,(but not great) Cubs teams.
            Across baseball, most people remember Bill Buckner’s gaff between the legs…But Leon Durham’s earler miscue gets very little play…except for older Cub’s fans.
            Sutcliffe and the pitching staff were totally gassed…and that’s really why we lost…but still, it was an incredible season.
            That’s what we’re hoping to get back to…and just a little further!!!

          • Brp921

            I was traveling that day and got on the plane when the Cubs were ahead. The pilot wouldn’t give updates and by the time I found the first airport lounge to catch the end of it they were down six to three (if my memory serves me) and it was really late. I still partially blame the series format of two games at home and the last three on the road.

          • J Daniel

            100% bs that format was!

  • cubtex

    I know Russell is the only LH relief pitcher currently on the roster…but you need to ask yourself….will he get any better? What is his ceiling and has he already reached it? I have seen this kid pitch since college and he is a lefty specialist. No more. He cannot get righties out. He couldn’t in college and he can’t now. Pitchers like Sean Marshall are rare. You can use him against righties and lefties. With Russell’s stuff he will never be more than a loogy.

  • cubtex

    Looking at Vogelbach’s stats. I like the fact that he rakes and has a very low K rate. He is only 20 and it is nice to have someone like him in the minors. He might never have the glove of Rizzo but he could be a much more consistent power hitter and middle order bat.

    • BosephHeyden

      Saw him play Friday. His approach at the plate was tremendous to watch. He’s got a really good eye and only really swung twice: the first resulted in a sac fly, the other a single. But if I had one complaint/knock against him, it’s that he doesn’t really run well. He was involved in two double plays that had him sliding towards second long before he came close to the bag. But those are easy to fix, and I thought both times he should have been bunted over.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        We saw the benedit of Rizzo’s defense last night. I’m not giving up on his development as a hitter yet. Bu I think they keep Vogelbach until they know if Rizzo can figure it out amd make adjustments at the plate. We have to get better at bats from our 1st baseman.

        • cubtex

          It is pretty sad if you look at Rizzo’s number over the last 2 months. It is amazing that noone is talking more about it. He has only 5 2B and 2 HR for the entire month of July. That is a #3 hitter or corner spot? I think he only had a total of 9 extra base hits in June as well. I posted his batting average per months yesterday as well. He needs to be moved down in the lineup. He is overmatched.

          • Suzy S

            I can’t prove anything, but given time…I feel Rizzo will make the adjustments necessary to be the impact player we all hoped he’d be.
            You’re right about his struggles right now…but he’s young.

          • cubtex

            I think everyone wants him to be that impact player because he seems like such a good kid,smiling,enjoying the game. He is a very good glove…but you can see if you watch his game that he has no chance on certain pitches. You are right that he is young. I picture him being more of a “middle of the pack” 1st baseman in the league. .260 to .270 hitter. 25 HR and 80 RBI type. Not bad but not an impact player.

          • Suzy S

            And there was a time they said Sandberg would never develop power or be an impact player.
            That’s the fun of baseball.
            We can make educated guesses…but the players can always surprise us.

          • J Daniel

            That is because everyone is taking about possible moves and now moves being made.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I believe there a couple benchmarks I will set for “Fats” Rizzo. I’d like to see him reach 25 Hr this season and next year is make or break. More than the power numbers I feel he needs to learn to go with what he gets, hit the other way. I would like to see him bat over .280 next year. I firmly believe he can be a great hitter, but needs some strong coaching. The presence of Rob Deer worries me as I don’t feel he is the man to get te most out of our hitters. Especially not Rizzo. If we don’t use a better hittimg coach Rizzo may not reah his potential with us. I could see him eventually traded to a team with a hittjg guru and becoming a perennial all-star.

          • TheWrongGuy

            I agree. Ray and I spoke of this before. Both hitting coaches need to go, Rowson and Deer. Both are teaching our hitters very bad habits and its showing profoundly throughout our line-ups. At the majors and minors the swing and miss rate of our hitters is bad. Don’t get me wrong I want our hitters to swing, but the swing and miss rate and discipline is super BAD, in our system.
            On another note awhile ago I did hear something good… It was something along the lines of Sveum telling the coaches to leave Castro and Rizzo alone to “figure it out themselves” bout the slumps they are in. I was smiling from ear to ear.

            That’s my 2 cents.

          • SirGladiator

            It’s just unreal how terrible our hitting coaches are. How have they not been fired already? The exact same thing that happened to Bryan LaHair last year is happening to both Castro and Rizzo this year. They get in a slump, and never get out, because they don’t have a coach that can help them get out. But everybody gets in slumps no matter how good you are, gotta have a coach that can get ‘em out of them. Hopefully we don’t sell Castro or Rizzo to Japan like we did our other All Star :) . The good news is that Rizzo is like an adopted son to Theo, he isn’t going to sit back and let these incompetent hitting coaches turn him into a joke, he’s going to bring in whoever he needs to in order to get him back to the dominant hitter that he’s capable of being. I would’ve expected it to happen by now, here’s hoping it happens soon.

    • Jim_Schwartz_Gramps

      When I look at Rizzo, I think of Chris Davis of a few years ago. Hoping Rizzo can improve as much as Davis did.

      • cubtex

        Whatever the Orioles hitting coach did for Chris Davis, I wish he could do for Rizzo. That was a miraculous turnaround.

        • matthew8510

          its called roids

          • ben

            not everything is steroids. grow up. he made mechanical adjustments to his timing and swing and hes having a hell of a year.

  • Dorasaga

    The only highlight last night was the signing of Eloy J. E.J. will move the line along, pushing veteran prospects to the top, or more DFAs. The rest are just silly distractions from the unresolved case dealing with cheaters of baseball. The P.A. (union) either lie more, or pushes Major League to establish a true standard of detect-n-punish, an incentive-based preventive method to ward off players from even WANT PED-s (proven to be lots of them out there).

    The union and the Axis of Selig are acting likea happy family and drunk with the profit gained since they expanded American’s baseball market, pretending what their Old Way of shielding players in fear of other power-wrench from the owner will hurt the labor side, and all those excuses.

    I don’t mind Barry Bonds in the Hall of Fame, but he should be out of the league forever since 2003, when the evidence of cheating were more clear. You don’t allow B. Colon to protest and pitch meanwhile, making millions and ready to retire this offseason. You stop him when he was at prime. He was caught two years ago. He should be punished way back.

    Or why were Pete Rose not allowed into the Hall? and Shoeless Jackson kicked out forever since his primetime? Shame on you, baseball.