There is a week left before the non-waiver trade deadline and with that a growing feeling in the game a lot of deals could be made in August after players clear waivers.
Several players on the Cubs big league roster that includes Emilio Bonifacio, Luis Valbuena, Nate Schierholtz, Justin Ruggiano, Junior Lake, Carlos Villanueva, James Russell, Wesley Wright, Hector Rondon and Edwin Jackson, plus the recently DFA’d Darwin Barney have been connected to teams through the mainstream media.
Theo Epstein told the beat writers Wednesday, “We’re not in a rush to make trades for the sake of making trades. Especially for players we control beyond this year, we’re not itching to make those deals, unless we get something that we can’t turn down.”
If the Cubs can make trades that will improve the overall health of the organization, the deals will be made. But the Cubs “will factor into the calculus how players fit in going forward” on players the team has control over past this season.
Theo Epstein explained the front office will look at “how well they fit into the clubhouse, what they can do for us on the field, how they mesh with the next generation of talent that might be coming up, especially for the complimentary-type players.”
The Cubs have control over Justin Ruggiano, Chris Coghlan, Junior Lake, James Russell, Wesley Wright, Hector Rondon and Luis Valbuena beyond this season.
According to a report from Bruce Levine, some of the “most well-known scouts in the game” were at Wrigley Tuesday to watch the Cubs and Padres and Emilio Bonifacio is at the “top of the Cubs list of available players.” Bonifacio could net the Cubs a “solid minor league player or two” according to Levine.
The Braves and Nationals are two of the teams believed to be interested in James Russell and Jim Bowden would like to see the Nationals send RHP Austin Voth to the Cubs for Russell. The Nationals selected Voth in the fifth round of last June’s draft and he turned 22 at the end of last month. Voth started the season in Low-A ball and is 2-1 in six starts in High-A with a 1.43 ERA and a 0.61 WHIP. In 37 2/3 innings, Voth has struck out 40 batters while issuing seven walks. Voth tends to sit in the 89-92 mph range in the first five innings of his outing according to Baseball America then starts ramping up his fastball into the 95 mph range in the middle innings.
After the trade with Oakland, Jed Hoyer expected the Cubs to be active leading up to the deadline and beyond. But will the Cubs receive what they are expecting in return for the players the front office is willing to trade?
Competitive Balance Draft Picks
The Competitive Balance Lottery was held Wednesday. The Marlins (1), Rockies (2), Cardinals (3), Brewers (4), Padres (5) and Indians (6) received an extra pick in Round A, along with additional bonus pool money, in next June’s Draft. And the Reds (1), Athletics (2), Mariners (3), Twins (4), Orioles (5) and Diamondbacks (6) received an extra pick in Round B.
The Cardinals received an additional high draft pick as well as two other teams in the Cubs division. The Cubs, due to the size of the Chicago market, are not eligible for a competitive balance draft pick.
Theo Epstein spoke out Wednesday about the fact the Cardinals are “probably the last organization in baseball that needs that kind of annual gift.” Epstein’s comments about the Cardinals were viewed as derogatory, but his statements were far from it.
Epstein told the beat writers, “I could talk all day about the Cardinals and how much we hold them in high regard. That’s a fantastic franchise. They have been for the better part of a century. They do extremely well from a baseball standpoint, and from a revenue standpoint. It will just make it that much sweeter when we get to a point where we can compete with them, and, ultimately, we hope prevail. Because it’s not necessarily the type of thing that they need, given their performance on the field and off the field. They do a fantastic job. It just doesn’t seem like something they need at this point.”
Other Trade Rumors
The Blue Jays could be looking at a reunion with Alex Rios according to a report for Jon Heyman. Alex Rios is one of the many right-handed outfield bats teams are looking into trading for this month. Justin Ruggiano is also on list and is believed to be on the Blue Jays’ radar.
According to Bruce Levine, the David Price trade talks are heating up and “possible multi-team deals are being discussed.”
The Tigers made a significant trade Wednesday night when they acquired reliever Joakim Soria from the Rangers for RHP Jake Thompson and RHP Corey Knebel. Baseball America ranked Thompson as the Tigers fourth best prospect prior to the season and Knebel was ranked sixth. Reports Thursday morning indicated Dave Dombrowski is still looking to add a reliever and could be focused on acquiring a southpaw for their bullpen.
The Yankees are trying to trade for a starting pitcher. According to multiple reports from the Sun-Times, Edwin Jackson is on their radar and the Yankees had scouts at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night to watch Ian Kennedy pitch. Will those same scouts stick around for another day to watch Edwin Jackson pitch Thursday night? The Padres will need to be overwhelmed to move Kennedy according to Jon Heyman while the Cubs would reportedly be willing to send along some of the money left owed to Jackson over the next two-plus years.
The Red Sox and Jon Lester would like to continue their relationship past this year, but according to reports out of Boston, the two sides have cut off contract talks until after the season.
Jeff Samardzija would like his new team to acquire Darwin Barney, and according to the same report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs tried to trade Barney before he was designated for assignment but the team’s asking price was too high.