Cubs Phones Keep Ringing and Other News and Rumors

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer won’t be attending the All-Star game. They will spend the break in the office working on possible deals as the trading deadline approaches.

Epstein and Hoyer are fielding plenty of calls from teams interested in trading for players such as Matt Garza, Kevin Gregg, James Russell and Nate Schierholtz. According to a report from Carrie Muskat, there is a lot of chatter right now but nothing is imminent.

Matt Garza is the hot topic around the game. Epstein addressed Garza’s situation on Friday and reiterated there is a chance the Cubs “retain him beyond this year.”

The Cubs are expected to trade Matt Garza but Epstein and Hoyer are not going to give him away. The Cubs are reportedly asking for a lot in return for Garza, who is seen as a difference maker for a contending team.

According to Bruce Levine, Matt Garza will be on display for at least seven teams on Saturday night when he faces the Cardinals. And St. Louis could be one of those teams according to Buster Olney.

Olney reported on Friday that the Rangers and Cardinals “are the teams most likely to land Matt Garza” and it will come down to which team is willing to “surrender a high-end package requested by the Cubs.”

Javier Baez

After snapping his 0-for-20 skid on Thursday night, Javier Baez had a big day on Friday for the Smokies. Baez singled in the go ahead run in game one of the doubleheader that broke a scoreless tie then smacked his second homer in a Smokies uniform in game two.

The Smokies won both games of the twin bill and Javier Baez went 4-for-8 with a home run, two RBI and a walk.

News and Notes

The Cubs will stay true to their vision according to a report from Bruce Levine.

Dale Sveum announced his possible rotation coming out of the All-Star break on Friday. The Cubs open the second half with an extremely challenging 10-game trip out West that begins with three in Colorado on the Friday following the All-Star game. After the weekend series against the Rockies, the Cubs play four games in Arizona then wrap-up the trip with a weekend series in San Francisco. Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Jackson will start the three games in Denver. Matt Garza and Travis Wood will follow and start the first two games in Phoenix.

Starlin Castro is back in the swing according to a report from ESPN Chicago. Castro is 13-for-43 this month with two doubles, two home runs, and three walks (.302/.362/.488/.850).

And speaking of Starlin Castro, his home run on Friday was the Cubs’ 100th of the season. The Cubs did not hit 100 home runs until the second game of a doubleheader on August 16 last year.

According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs hope to emulate the Cardinal Way.

The Cubs are 11-20 in one run games this season and 4-9 in one run games at Wrigley Field.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    This Front Office is a pace setting Front Office. It sets new standards.

    Cubtex: mark it down in your book. The #2 pick in the MLB draft, Mr. Kris Byrant, received a larger signing bonus than the #1 pick in the draft, Mr. Mark Appel.
    This is the first time a #2 was paid more than the #1 pick.

    Like I said, “There is a first time for everything.”

    • Shawon O’Meter

      Bryant the #2 pick in the draft had leverage to go back to school something his agent Scott Boras has had success with clients doing. Despite that the Cubs were able to sign him at slot AND sign their first 13 draft picks in a highly rated draft by the baseball media pundits. These are just the facts I’m giving here.

    • John_CC

      Boras signed his client Kris Bryant for the amount that had been set by the MLB for the pick. Why do you make this sound like it is some sort of bad business by the Cubs’ FO?

      And don’t come back with a “I’m only pointing out the facts” because we all know the facts.

    • cubtex

      I believe someone pointed out to me that Byron Buxton got more than the Astros #1 pick last year as well. Bryant didn’t have much leverage and it was just a matter of time before he signed.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Rip, Byron Buxton, the No. 2 pick, received more than the No. 1 pick last year Carlos Correa.

      Under the new system, this could be the case moving forward.

      http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/sports/2012/06/08/astros-officially-sign-top-pick-correa-make-him-millionaire/

      http://www.twincities.com/twins/ci_20847930/shooter-now-minnesota-twins-give-byron-buxton-6m

  • Ripsnorter1

    Remember when…..?

    Remember when the Reds dealt perennial 40 HR hitter Adam Dunn to the Diamondbacks for 2 top prospects?

    Micah Ownings and Travis Buck went to the Reds for Dunn. Buck never made a single day in MLB, although he did make it to AA ball. Ownings is more of a hitter than pitcher, and the Brewers just signed him to their minor leagues to serve as Brooks Kieschnick take #2. He will play OF and pitch. Owings is a career .282 MLB hitter with .502 slugging. Pitching, well…..

    • Shawon O’Meter

      Remember when the Rangers shipped Esteban Loiza who was a plus pitcher to the Blue Jays for Michael Young?

      Loiza reverted to an average at best pitcher the rest of his career and Michael Young became one of the five greatest Rangers in team history.

    • BosephHeyden

      I don’t think anyone ever accused Walt Jockety of being competent. How he still has a job is beyond me, other than his teams win in spite of him. I mean, as bad as that trade seems (and, at the time, it wasn’t that bad, because Owings occasionally looked competent on the mound in the minors and seemed like a change of scenery guy, while Buck and Castillo (the catcher they also got) seemed like they might amount to something…they didn’t), it doesn’t really compare in bonehead moves to his trading away a young lefty starter, a young outfielder already at the highest part of the minors, and another prospect for a lefty reliever who was, at best, above average.

    • paulcatanese

      Are you saying Travis Wood comes to mind?

  • John_CC

    Remember when….

    Just a month ago a popular doomsday theme here was that Starlin Castro had been ruined by Cubs’ coaching? They just ruined him period, are forcing him to take strikes, he can’t hit any more!

    Whew…apparently even Starlin Castro can have an extended slump (his first ever in his MLB career). He has 6 multi hit games and 3 HR in his last 16 games raising his BA from a low of .228 to .240 in that period.

    • cubtex

      O great. Now you are at it again with a small sample size pointing out what a 23 year old did in his last 16 games. LOL. Touche

      • John_CC

        Good to know that you understand!

        • cubtex

          You teed that up for me. All I did with Baez was point out his progress after he hit the HR in his first at bat. I didn’t say anything else. You took it to say I was giving him a dig. It wasn’t at all. I think he is going to be a very good pro. People get excited with young players but it is not an easy game and there will be bumps in the road. One of my pet peeves is this ETA that is put on these kids. The ETA is determined by the player. There are injuries,learning curves,setbacks etc. Who cares if Baez has to repeat AA again next year. I hope he does. He is only 20 years old and you want him to be as ready as possible when he makes that jump to the show.

          • Denver Mike

            When referring to ETA look no farther than Travis d’Arnaud, former top prospect of the TOR farm system was the centerpiece of the R.A Dickey trade and now with the Mets. In spite of all of his talents, and many predicting he would be in the majors at the beginning of last year, has missed time with a bluging disc in his back, a torn PCL, and most recently a broken foot that is not healing as quickly as some had hoped. By all accounts he has all the tools and talent to be a stud in the MLB, but now at 24 finds himself a couple years behind where many expected him to be in his progression but no fault of his own. Sometimes back breaks just happen, and until a prospect breaks into the show nothing is guaranteed.

          • John_CC

            Totally agree with you … Holy Cow!

            I also have high hopes for Baez. He has all the tools to make an impact.

  • cubtex

    I am still holding out the slightest glimmer of hope that Garza gets extended instead of traded. I am not sure if other teams are feeling that the Cubs asking price is too high and they are making other plans…..but I would have thought that he would have been dealt by now. We shall see.

    • Suzy S

      Cubtex, I’m in agreement with you.

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

        Could go te the Cardinals! I hate te idea of helping them compete for a chamionship but I’d love to swipe a few of their top prospects.

        • paulcatanese

          As was seen last night, they do have a few, and all are burners.

    • daverj

      I still don’t think other teams are offering much for garza so I think this remains a possibility. Another possibility … the cubs keep him for 2013, tender him in the offseason, and then resign him when his price comes down due to teams (other than the cubs) having to give up a draft pick to sign him.

    • RynoTiger

      the best plan would be to trade him for prospects and then, if the team he was traded to didn’t extend him, try to sign him in the off season, and if you get him back, then you look like a genius.

    • paulcatanese

      I agree, hope he does get extended. As far as other teams feeling that the asking price may be too high, I think that’s their problem. I would hope that the Cubs stick to their guns and get what Garza is worth, which in my opinion, they are probably asking too little instead of too much.
      After all, they will more than likely getting prospects back, and we all know they are still prospects, and Garza is more or less a proven commodity. He (Garza) fits the bill with the Cubs moving forward, and IMO how can anyone say he is not to be part of that future,
      whether he is 1-2-or 4, doesn’t matter, he is solid wherever he is rated. And a spot they don’t have to fill.

      • cubtex

        agreed

      • triple

        I agree very much with you Paul… almost no need to respond to Cubtex’s original post. With how quiet the Garza talk has been over the last couple days, I really believe that the FO is talking with Garza more about extending the contract and really figuring out what it will take. But at the same time, they surely are telling the rest of the league that they are trading Garza so other GM’s are still thinking about what they’re willing to give up.

        WIth all the comments from Garza about wanting to stay and his family liking Chicago and wanting to stay, I gotta think that if he’s offered something close to what he wants (financially, still no NTC), that he would accept. The ball is in the Cubs court on this matter. They will know all the information they will need to make the right decision. IF they get the return they demand in a trade, then they may see that as the safer route without having to commit so much financially (and in years) to Garza. I imagine they want a couple guys with the same stuff that they saw in Travis Wood, at the least! Plus a couple other lower level throw-ins to only sweeten the pot. Remember, the idea of having prospects is suspect, and it is in fact a numbers game, they will want quantity along with quality.

        Having said that, I don’t think they will get what they want from other teams, and it would be best to get an extension done. Not easy to find a guy who’s proved he belongs in a major league rotation during crunch time, and as Paul said, Garza is a proven commodity, no matter what spot in the rotation he is needed to fill.

    • TheWrongGuy

      The only way I see Garza signing a contract with the CUBS current FO is with a no-trade clause, but NOT a full no-trade. Probably a 3,5 or 10 team no-trade list. There are many bad things about this. He will be traded.
      For Garza’s part I understand why he is looking for or leaning this way. Look at how many times he has been traded already and with a family moving all over the place… not fun or good for his family.

      But this CUBS FO won’t do any no-trade contracts so… Garza will be traded.

  • Tom U

    A moment of congratulations to Neil as the site reached its 9 millionth hit sometime last night.

    The CCO reached 8 million hits toward the end of January, and is on pace to record between 2 to 2.5 million hits this year. Thank you to everyone for your support and once again, congratulations Neil!

    • texcubnut

      Put me down for at least 365 hits on this site every year, at the very least. I come here every day and sometimes , obviously, multiple times a day and that includes every day during the off season. Why? Because Neil makes this the best and most informitive and interesting site on the web about the CUBS!! The news is always timely and well presented. And last, but not least, are the good Cub fans that come to this site to discuss our Cubbies. (which is 99% of you). Congratulations on the milestone, CCO. And Neil, may you be around when the web site hits 1 trillion, and may the last blog you post…….be mine! :)

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Thank you very much.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you Tom and for all of your hard work,

    • paulcatanese

      Congratulations Neil, and Tom. I will continue to post as one of the blabbermouths (me) as it’s one of the most interesting sites on the internet, and check on it several times a day.
      Good job by both of you.
      Paul

  • Tom U
    • Denver Mike

      As I just posted above sometimes there isn’t anything a player can do about injuries, as the bug can bite at any time. I was really hoping to see some (no matter how small) signs this year that Jackson and Vitters could someday contribute to the MLB team in some capacity. In years past the spotlight was on them as being the “top” prospects in the system in spite of the fact they weren’t really top prospect talent. I came in to this year thinking that the media focus on the Soler, Baez, Almora’s of the system would take the focus off of them and allow them to play with a little less pressure. Unfortunately, now it appears that injuries have derailed both of their seasons for the most part, and in the next year or two there may not be room on the AAA team for them to continue plodding along as other worthy prospects will be banging down the door to take their spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both became “throw-ins” in future deals with the hope a change of scenery gets them back on track.

  • cubtex

    Well if Garza is traded….this will be his last start at Wrigley Field as a Cub. His next 2 starts in July after this will be on the road. If he is traded, I have enjoyed watching him compete and watching his enthusiasm in the dugout.

    • triple

      Wherever he goes (if he’s traded), I’ll definitely root for him. He’s earned my respect, and I’m a fan. And I say that in confidence that he will not be traded within the division.

    • Shawon O’Meter

      Great post Cubtex. I agree 100%. Garza’s enthusiasm for the game has been awesome to watch.

  • triple

    I know it’s a very small sample size for Castro, but I think he’s turning the corner. He’s definitely looking more confident at the plate lately. I think it was Paul that mentioned that his stance isn’t as open as before. Is it me, or does it seem like he’s a little more on top of the plate too? Or is that just a result of his stance? If he’s getting a better feel of the strike zone, that should allow him to still reach a slightly outside pitch and hit it with authority! As you can’t deny he has been squaring up some pitches much better lately. Hopefully this trend continues.

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