Cubs Quiet on Deal-A-Reliever Monday, Still Listening on Samardzija

The stretch run leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline on Wednesday (3:00pm CDT) began Monday morning when Jose Veras became the first of three relievers that would end up being traded by the end of the day. Houston sent their closer, Jose Veras, to the Tigers for minor league OF Danry Vasquez and a PTBNL. The Braves filled a void in their pen when they acquired LHP Scott Downs from the Angels for RHP Cory Rasmus. Atlanta is likely out of the mix for James Russell with Downs now in the fold.

The Rays took a big gamble when they traded for injured RHP Jesse Crain, but at the same time Tampa gave a pretty good indication of how thin the trade market is for relievers this year. The Rays will send a player or players to be named later and/or cash considerations to the White Sox for Crain. The Sox return will be based on how well Crain pitches once he is able to come off the DL.

So where does that leave the Cubs in regards to moving Kevin Gregg or James Russell? Gregg’s value has really dropped over the last few weeks as he has pitched more and more to his career norms. The Orioles and Tigers were rumored to have interest in Gregg at one point and both teams have now filled that opening in their pen. The Cubs are looking to move Gregg. But the question remains, is there a team that is interested?

As for James Russell, he does not fit the criteria as a player the Cubs would like to move prior to this trade deadline. Russell remains under team control for two more years and it seems that teams have been more interested in acquiring him than the Cubs looking to move him.

Jon Heyman reported late Monday night that the Cubs are talking to teams about Kevin Gregg and Carlos Villanueva.

Jeff Samardzija

The Cubs are listening to offers for Jeff Samardzija and according to multiple reports, the Cubs are asking a ton in return for him. The front office is doing what they should be doing. If a team is willing to pay their price for Samardzija, which would in turn speed up the building process, then he will be traded. With that said, the Cubs are asking so much for Samardzija that the chances he is traded would be somewhere between slim and none.

According to a report from Jon Heyman, “the Cubs are basically requesting of teams that they take whatever they want when it comes to a Samardzija deal.” Heyman reported several teams, including the Diamondbacks, are interested in Samardzija.

Nate Schierholtz

ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reported that Nate Schierholtz could be the next player traded. Schierholtz would like to stay with the Cubs and has expressed his desire to stay to the front office in recent days.

According to Rogers’ sources two or three teams have shown interest in Schierholtz.

The ESPN report indicated that because Schierholtz signed a one-year deal with the Cubs in the off-season that makes him a candidate to be traded. Unless there is language in Schierholtz’s contract that no one knows about, Schierholtz is under the Cubs’ control for one more season if they tender him a contract for next year in the off-season.

Kevin Gregg

Kevin Gregg is not sure if he is going to be traded or not. Gregg told Bruce Levine that he has enjoyed his time with the Cubs and would consider re-signing with the team in the off-season.

Brett Jackson

Brett Jackson was assigned to Double-A Tennessee on Monday. Jackson really struggled in four games with the AZL Cubs and went 1-for-14 with seven strikeouts. Jackson went 1-for-4 with a run scored and a strikeout in his first game with the Smokies on Monday.

Injuries have slowed Jackson this year and he really needs to finish the season on a positive note.

Scott Baker

Scott Baker made his fourth rehab start on Monday night as he works his way up the system and into the Cubs’ rotation at some point in the coming weeks.

Baker made his first appearance with the D-Cubs after making three starts with Kane County.

Scott Baker threw the ball much better than he did in his previous three games. Baker gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. Baker gave up two singles and a solo home run on 66 pitches, 40 for strikes. Baker recorded two groundball outs and had four other three-ball counts that did not result in walks. Baker hit the high-80s with his fastball (86-88 mph). Baker threw 23 pitches in the first (15 strikes), 19 in the second (nine strikes), 14 in the third (nine strikes) and 10 in the fourth (seven strikes).

News and Notes

Junior Lake was given Alfonso Soriano’s old locker at Wrigley Field. Lake ended a 0-for-14 skid with two hits in his final three at bats on Monday in his first start, and appearance, at Wrigley Field.

The I-Cubs placed Josh Vitters on the 7-day DL on Monday with a strained right hamstring.

Jake Arrieta is looking forward to his Cubs’ debut on Tuesday in the second game of the twin bill. Arrieta told the media he “doesn’t plan on going back to the minors.”

Several scouts were at Wrigley Field on Monday night watching the Cubs and Brewers. The Pirates and Nationals are two of the teams that had scouts in attendance. According to Bruce Levine, 15 scouts were at Wrigley watching a variety of players.

Jon Heyman reported the Cubs are talking to teams about David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz and Dioner Navarro.

The Cubs are 30-26 since May 26 and Dale Sveum talked about what it would mean for the team to finish with a .500 record. Sveum said, “It’s a goal that you want to have, but it’s not a goal that we want to have with this organization because I think those kind of things hold things back, too. Oh, as long as we get to .500, yippee, but you’re still going home like everybody else who’s not in the playoffs.”

The Cubs’ pitching staff accomplished something a Cubs’ staff has not done since 1971. Jeff Samardzija become the third straight starter to pitch seven innings without allowing a run joining Chris Rusin (Saturday night) and Travis Wood (Sunday afternoon). The last time three Cubs’ starters completed seven innings without allowing in a run in three consecutive starts was in August of 1971 when Bill Hands, Milt Pappas and Juan Pizarro accomplished the feat.

On a sad note, former Cubs’ pitcher Frank Castillo drowned on Sunday in a boating accident in Arizona. Castillo was only 44 years old. The CCO sends out our thoughts and prayers to the Castillo family.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

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  • Ripsnorter1

    I would think this last start by Samardzija would even increase interest in him, if anything.
    Some team that really wants to make the playoffs should pay the extra price to get a real
    starter. I myself do not want to trade him. He has great stuff. One year he will have a career
    year and really take off, imo.

  • Tony_Hall

    Neil has it right on Samardzija. They are listening and expecting a kings ransom. They have not shopped him. They have not been shopping him. And it is most likely no one will pay the price, but no different than any other player, if a team is willing to overpay, you have to say yes. They wouldnt be doing their job if they didn’t listen to other teams offers.

  • Tony_Hall

    30-26….anyone want to still say how bad they are and how bad this FO has been. Two years in a row the team has played well in the middle of the season. This has to be above expectations for anyone. And in such a short time they have turned the farm system into a Top 5 system that will be producing useful players for the major league club as they are no longer putting all their eggs in the basket of just a few guys.

    • cubtex

      What is 30-26? 56 games out of 162? What is the point you are making? This team lost 100 games last year and will lose 90 this year. They are doing a great job concentrating on building the farm system but c’mon Tony. The major league team is a joke

      • cubtex

        Just read Neil’s recap so I see. I guess you have to find some silver lining when you lose 100 and 90 games in a season

        • Tony_Hall

          I knew you would figure it out. You really should try reading the articles and not just looking at the pictures :)

          • cubtex

            I also buy cereal for the prize at the bottom of the box.

        • 07GreyDigger

          If you look at their current winning percentage, they’ll lose 87 to 88 games.

          • cubtex

            They are worse now with the loss of Garza and Soriano. I will take the over.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Good luck. I don’t think they lose 100 games this year. Improvement is improvement!

          • cubtex

            Who said 100? It is hard to lose 100 games 2 years in a row. Here is the issue I have. From last year to this….we still have Valbuena at 3rd. We still have Barney at 2nd. We still have DeJesus in the outfield.

          • 07GreyDigger

            DeJesus may be gone at the deadline, but I agree with you on Valbuena and Barney. I think if Watkins were hitting better, he’d be up already.

          • K_Gripp

            They are place holders. The farm system is deep in these two positions. Baez should be up next year at some point which I think means Castro goes to second and if that doesnt work out Alcantera is in the pipeline. Olt, Bryant, Baez, and Villanueva are all possibilities at 3rd in the next 2-3 years. There is no need to fill these positions with overpaid and overvalued FA when the younger cost controlled options are almost ready. Barney is a serviceable player until then and Valbuena will be replaced sooner than later.

          • cubtex

            Olt and Bryant weren’t on the team at the beginning of the year. They have a weak outfield and noone ready in the minors besides a retread in Bogusevic and a non prospect in Sappelt.

          • K_Gripp

            Just because they werent on the team doesnt mean there wasnt a plan. I believe that the Cubs will sign Choo or Ellsbury this off-season. Lake looks to be in the OF next year as will either DeJesus or Schierholtz. Almora and Soler are the future of the outfield 2-3 years away. The Cubs will win more games this year than last year and even more games next year. I think they are a RH power bat and a number 1 starting pitcher away from being a playoff contender. The system has enough now that if the right move presents itself they might be able to make it happen via trade. The fact is that the alternative options just werent that great.

          • cubtex

            Do you think they planned to draft Bryant? Not a chance. The plan was to draft Appel. I think they were shocked he was taken by the Astros. I hope they don’t sign Ellsbury. He is a fragile player who hit 30 HR’s one year and can’t even hit double digits anymore. This team will be another high 80 loss or 90 loss team next year. The FA market is not good. The kids like Lake and Olt will have their ups and downs. They will have a weaker starter rotation with Garza gone and filling his spot with and Arrieta or Scott Baker. Travis Wood will not be as effective next year(IMO) They will have no middle of the order bat. Other than that…they should be fine :)

          • K_Gripp

            I prefer to Choo to Ellsbury but I sometimes get distracted by the fact that Ellsbury has stole 70 bases in a season and hit 30 home runs in a season but you are right he is not that player anymore. Regarding the rotation w/o Garza. He made 11 starts this year and he made 18 starts the previous year. The Cubs will be fine without him. As I say they are missing a RH power bat and a #1 starter. Im sure the FO understands the clubs needs more than I do and Im sure they have their eyes on what they want. There really hasnt been any analysts, experts, or baseball guys who have been critical of the new FO. Just us fans who are tired of missing out on the playoffs. The worst is over.

          • cubtex

            I am not saying that they are doing a terrible job. I am saying they are not doing anything any other rebuilding team couldn’t. When you lose, you get high draft picks and top prospects. The Marlins have 2 very good OF prospects in Yelich and Marisnek. They have one of the best young starting pitchers in baseball. This is what happens when you rebuild and lose for 3,4,5 straight years.

          • K_Gripp

            They’ve shed a ton of payroll, built the farm system from a bottom 5 to a top 5 in less than two years. They are now in a position where they can make a trade or a FA signing. The difference between the Marlins and the current Cubs is that Yelich, Stanton, and Fernandez will be traded as soon as the Marlins cannot afford them. The cubs are going to be able to afford to keep these players long term. I guess Im not sure what you want the FO to do. They are building the team the right way. What moves would you have made over the past 18 months that would have the Cubs in playoff contention?

          • cubtex

            I am just pointing out that what they are doing is not extraordinary. You need to include the past 3 drafts because Theo took over right after that and Hendry was able to draft their #1 prospect in Baez. They also got Vogelbach,Maples,Dunston and others in that draft. Any losing team with 3 top drafts in a row and trading away a #2 pitcher in Matt Garza for prospects should have a top 5 farm system…… or close to that.

          • K_Gripp

            They had 3rd base covered without Bryant and Olt. Now they just have depth. Baez and Villanueva are both legit 3rd base prospects. Now 1 or 2 of the 4 are likely to stick.

      • cc002600

        If you don’t make the playoffs, what difference does it make how many games you lose ? Who cares ?

        And this may sound strange, but think about this for a second. If they would have had Gregg on their team from the start, they would easily be over .500, given the number of games that Marmy and the bullpen blew in Apr / May.

        Still a long way to go but they are making strides. Nobody said this was going to be a 1 year process, so I’m not sure what you are expecting after just 1.5 years into Theo’s regime.

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

          Well said

        • cubtex

          Tell me what team in baseball you can’t say that about? IF. IF this player hadn’t gotten hurt. IF this player performed like last year. IF this. IF Moises Alou had caught that ball instead of Bartman…IF Gonzales had fielded that ground ball instead of booting it they would be WS champs.
          You are right…I could care less if they lose 88,90,95 games this year. They are not competitive and aren’t putting a good product on the field.

          • 07GreyDigger

            You should reverse the Gonzalez thing and Bartman thing. Losing that series in 2003 is all on Gonzalez in my opinion.

          • cubtex

            I know. poor guy Bartman. he did what almost every other fan would have.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I forgot about Dusty Baker leaving Mark Prior out there too long too.

          • cubtex

            Farnsworth got lit up. I didn’t have a problem leaving Prior in. He was there best option even a little gassed

    • cubtex

      Lets take a look at where Rip’s favorite team the Pirates are today. This is the same path the Cubs are taking. As I said….A small market rebuild and it will eventually work. The Pirates had lost for years and years. They’ve accumalated a ton of top picks and they are finally reaping the benefits. They also have a top 3 farm system. If the Cubs tried to compete and rebuild at the same time…then it would be genius and the FO should get a ton of accolades….however, what they are doing is nothing out of the ordinary. They are losing and getting top picks and signing international free agents. So far they haven’t been too successful with the international ones(hopefully Soler will be different) but Concepcion was a bust, The asian relief pitchers were a bust so we will see.

      • 07GreyDigger

        There’s a difference between the Pirates rebuilding and the Cubs rebuilding. Money spent. Sure, the Pirates signed guys this year like Russell Martin and Jason Grilli, but what huge free agent deals have the Pirates signed that put them over the top?

        As evidenced by the Edwin Jackson signing early in the rebuild, this FO isn’t afraid to spend money like the Pirates have been and I don’t think the rebuild will take nearly as long. That’s my 3 cents at least.

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

          That is the difference. And they will wait to make those moves when we are competitive. Which is prudent

          • cubtex

            Which is what the Pirates did. Same thing.

        • cubtex

          the EJax signing is evidence?

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

            But the difference with the Pirates as their big moves gave been to aign Derrick Lee and consider Nate Schierholtz. When we are in that position we will look to trade for a guy like Garza and sign a player like Cano or Price. Difference of economics, is why this plan, executed in a large market, will set up for years of absolute dominance. Think Yankees of the late 90’s.

          • cubtex

            Do you not think the Pirates are not setup for success for the next several seasons? And….if they win they will draw fans and make more revenue to spend more money. They have McCutchen,Marte,Alvarez,Walker as core players who they drafted by having high picks. They have Gerrit Cole, and Taillon in the minors who are top of rotation starters that they drafted and made great FA signs in AJ Burnett and Liriano. This is the same thing THEO is doing. Not buying any FA UNTIL prospects are ready. It is a small market rebuild that is copying the Pirates and other small market blueprint.

          • 07GreyDigger

            EJax is a long term big money commitment. Name me a Pirates free agent in the last three years that fits that description.

          • cubtex

            I’ll give you that but I doubt they will spend anywhere near that for a position player. The pitching staff in the minors was so barren that is why they signed him and they knew they wouldn’t resign Garza

          • 07GreyDigger

            Depends on the position player I bet. If he’s a player that’s in his mid-twenties that fills a need, they’d snap that up in a heartbeat.

          • cubtex

            It would have to be thru trade because those guys won’t be available via free agency

  • redlarczykg

    I’m still amazed to see a Cub, Junior Lake, bunt so well. It’s been a very long time between good bunters.
    It make me wonder what Campana was working on since Little League? His homerun swing?

  • Tom U

    Mike Safford of Boise Hawks Radio is reporting four roster moves for today, including two promotions. Stick with the CCO for all the details.