With just three days remaining until the trade deadline and over a month remaining until the waiver deadline, the Cubs still have a few players who we haven’t profiled who could be of some interest to other teams. Let’s take a look and see what the Cubs might expect to receive in return.
To say Edwin Jackson’s time with the Cubs has been nothing short of a disaster would be an understatement. After being used as leverage by Anibal Sanchez to up his salary with the Detroit Tigers, the Cubs went out and signed Edwin Jackson as veteran rotational depth. The Cubs were hoping to get more of the effective pitcher Jackson was in the previous few seasons, but instead have gotten the erratic pitcher whose career ERA in a Cubs uniform of 5.28 matches more who he was at the beginning of his career. With the team still owing Jackson $26 million and two years remaining on his deal, it’s no secret that the team would love to get out from under this albatross deal. There have been some rumors that the Yankees may be interested due to the complete decimation of their rotation to injuries and their ability to take on salary, but there have also been rumors that the Yankees have been looking at White Sox pitcher John Danks, who is younger and more effective this season. Whoever decides to take a chance on Jackson, the deal to acquire him will undoubtedly be a salary dump, so let’s take a look at some possibilities.
The first deal to consider is one that involves Ervin Santana. After watching his ERA balloon to 5.16 following a strong 2011, the Angels dumped Santana and $1 million onto the Royals in the offseason leading up to last season. In return they received Brandon Sisk, a left-handed relief prospect destined to be a potential LOOGY. Santana returned to form with the Royals and they gave up almost nothing to acquire him. The same could be said for the deal that sent A.J. Burnett from the Yankees to the Pirates for minor leaguers OF Exicardo Cayones and P Diego Moreno. In the deal, the Yankees ended up paying most of the remaining salary on Burnett’s contract and thanks to some quality tutelage from the Pirates; Burnett was able to turn his career around. The Pirates like the Royals, didn’t give up much as Cayones isn’t even a part of the Yankees system anymore and Moreno at 28, is running out of time in the minors to prove he belongs in the majors. The moral to both trades is that even if the Cubs pay most of Jackson’s salary, the possible return for these trades is next to nothing, with some sort of salary relief being the main draw.
Chris Coghlan has been on quite a tear lately. Since June 30, Coghlan is top five in the majors in OPS and he sports an impressive line of .370/.447/.630 with three home runs and 13 RBI. He’s pretty much wrestled away the starting left field job away from a slumping Junior Lake and provided stability atop the order when Emilio Bonifacio went down with an injury. However, at the beginning of the season, Coghlan was unable to make the team out of Spring Training and couldn’t buy a hit in May and June. The former rookie of the year definitely has some talent, but thanks to injuries throughout his career, may not have the ability anymore to play as many positions as he could earlier in his career. For these reasons, it’s especially hard to determine which Coghlan is the real deal and at this age, how much he has left in the tank and what his value is moving forward. Here are some deals that attempt to answer that question.
One guy that comes to mind with having similar abilities to Coghlan is former Cub, Jeff Baker who can play second base, third base and the outfield corners and has been traded three times in his career. The first trade was from the Rockies to the Cubs for reliever Al Alburquerque who never played with the Rockies, but has made a career as a member of the Tigers pen. The other two trades in Baker’s career netted the trading team players to be named later in pitcher Marcelo Correno, a failed top 10 prospect and pitcher Greg Ross who was later returned. Baker is a guy who is helpful on a Major League bench because he can hit against lefties and start occasionally without too much of a drop off. The same can be said for Coghlan and it’s likely the Cubs are better off keeping Coghlan to do the same for their squad. As you can see the potential return doesn’t seem to justify trading him away.
Emilio Bonifacio signed during Spring Training after being released by the Royals and has spent much of his time either in centerfield or at second base, but can play pretty much all over the diamond. He had a hot start to April posting a line of .337/.385/.406 with 10 stolen bases, but he has tailed off severely since, posting a line of .233/.269/.319. In June, he injured his rib cage and did not return until July 22, but has hit .333 since coming back. Bonifacio has been traded a couple of times in his career and these deals are the best place to look when considering his value.
The first time Bonfacio was traded he was sent to the Nationals for Jon Rauch. Rauch was having a career-season saving 17 games while Bonifacio was a young player with not a lot of experience, but potential due to his speed. The second time he was traded he was sent to the Marlins along with young players RHP P.J. Dean and OF Jake Smolinski from the Nationals for pitcher Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham. Willingham was getting too expensive for the penny-pinching Marlins so the flip gained them a speedy utility guy along with some young talent that never really amounted to anything. The final time Bonifacio was traded he was part of a huge deal that saw the Marlins dumping a lot of high salaried players that failed to shoot them to the top of their division in SS Jose Reyes, C John Buck and pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to the Blue Jays for young pitchers Justin Nicolino, Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, OF Jake Marisnick and C Jeff Mathis.
In any of these deals, Bonifacio has value for what he is, but he’s not a headline deal kind of player. He’s a player you throw in to improve on the return in a larger deal. He might be a nice piece to add in for a better return if the Cubs can dump Jackson on a team or improve the return for a player like Justin Ruggiano, who might not have much value on his own. However, a deal for Bonifacio on his own might net a prospect with issues, but some amount of potential. Considering that Arismendy Alcantara is a younger, cheaper version of Bonifacio, he likely doesn’t have a future with this team and isn’t much value to the team moving forward.
Last season at this time, Nate Schierholtz had a lot more trade value, but the Cubs couldn’t pull the trigger on a deal to pull in some young talent. The reasoning behind the lack of deal is up for speculation, perhaps the team did not feel they were receiving the offers that matched their perceived value of Schierholtz or maybe they determined that he could build on a solid season that saw him posting a line of .251/.301/.470 with 21 home runs and 54 RBI. Whatever the reasoning, the gamble to hang onto Schierholtz for another season to continue to build his trade value has not paid off and he is worth close to nothing now. His line of .200/.247/.315 with six home runs and 32 RBI is not likely to entice teams to give up anything or to even make any sort of offer. There are two deals that best suggest what the Cubs could hope to receive for Schierholtz.
The first is when the team received Ivan Pineyro from the Nationals for Scott Hairston last season. Hairston, like Schierholtz this season, struggled badly and didn’t provide the value the team was hoping for so they settled for a young pitcher not close to the majors with some amount of upside to a system that needed depth at that position. The second involves a player similar to Schierholtz in Ben Francisco who was traded a few times. Francisco had some potential earlier in his career, but settled into a reserve role as a good bat off the bench, something Schierholtz career is likely to continue as. The first couple of deals Francisco was involved in were as throw-ins with bigger deals involving Cliff Lee being sent to the Phillies from the Indians and a large trade where the Blue Jays acquired J.A. Happ from the Astros. The only time he was traded by himself was to the Rays from the Astros for a player to be named later, pitcher Theron Geith. Due to Schierholtz’s struggles this season, he’s likely not going anywhere and wouldn’t net the team much than a player to be named later.
Ryan Sweeney was off to a nice start to his Cubs career last season when injuries derailed him for much of the year. Similarly, this season Sweeney was injured at the beginning of the year and has found his role significantly diminished, only getting a couple of starts per week. Sweeney is signed with the team through next season at a reasonable rate of $1.5 million and his ability to play all three outfield positions may give him some extra value to a team looking for a capable backup. It may persuade a team to give up a better minor league player for Sweeney, who at this point has almost no value on the trade market. Let’s take a look at a deal or two that suggests this.
When David DeJesus was injured and later traded, Sweeney was the main benefactor of his playing time. Like Sweeney, DeJesus had an extra year of affordable control on his contract and was playing pretty well, but ended being traded for cash to the Nationals from the Cubs and then to the Rays from the Nationals for player to be named later in LHP Matthew Spann. Not a whole lot for productive player who can start and be a good bat off the bench. Another former Cub, Reed Johnson was traded from the Cubs to the Braves in 2012 along with LHP Paul Maholm for pitchers RHP Jaye Chapman and RHP Arodys Vizcaino. Johnson was a nice sweetener to the deal to net injury reclamation project Vizcaino, who the Cubs hope to be a top flight back of the bullpen guy.
As you may have noticed, all of the guys on this list do not carry much value on their own. They are best packaged either together or with stronger players to net a bigger return. Because the Cubs have already traded their two best chips in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, if any of the guys on this list do get traded, it will be to open up playing time for Cubs prospects.
- Trade Value of Cubs Lefty Relievers
- Trade Value of Carlos Villanueva
- Trade Value of Justin Ruggiano
- Trade Value of Luis Valbuena