So the Cubs are mixing things up again against a LHP pitcher as they take on Ross Detwiler and the Nationals. The Nats are a team often used as a model for the Cubs as they try to rebuild a team into a winner with a combination of a strong farm system and the ability to spend on veterans. Of course, the Cubs haven't worked much on the second part of that equation yet.
But on to the news and notes, which is especially rumor-heavy today as it's becoming clearer who the buyers and sellers are. I don't need to tell you which category the Cubs fall under.
News and Notes...
- The Cubs made a trade! Okay, it's just a very minor one. They shipped utilty infielder Alberto Gonzalez, who had been playing at Iowa for a player to be named later or cash. Don't hold your breath on the return. When cash is stated as an alternative, it means the return isn't going to knock your socks off. No doubt the Cubs will try and get a sleeper they like, but if the Yanks don't cooperate, we might get a little cash instead. Ian Stewart could be the next minor deal, according to Gordon Wittenmeyer, though that is likely to be for nothing but the priviledge of not having to pay Stewart for sitting on the AAA bench.
- It's only May but the national media is already starting to drum up the trade rumors. Jon Heyman names the Cubs entire rotation outside of Jeff Samardzija. Scott Feldman is number 3 on his list, Matt Garza #4, Travis Wood is #5, and Carlos Villanueva is #8. According to Heyman, Edwin Jackson is the least likely at #20. I'd take both Wood and Jackson off the list, personally but the other 3 are fair game right now.
- Meanwhile, MLBTR names Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, and James Russell as possible bullpen trade candidates. Marmol has little value and neither does Gregg unless he continues to perform as he has. Russell on the other hand is a low cost LHRP with a track record of success, so there's some value there. The Cubs also have similar style LHPs in the minors in Chris Rusin, Brooks Raley, and Eric Jokisch. Rusin or Raley would be the logical candidates to take over if Russell is traded.
- Speaking of Kevin Gregg, it's become a routine now that once a player performs well, he is immediately deemed as "flippable". Such is the case with newly annointed Cubs closer. Frankly, this is fair game because Gregg is a low cost, but short term guy with closer experience, which will make him appealing to teams if he continues to succeed. The Cubs have also stated that they intend to create value with the closer role. It hasn't worked out so far for Carlos Marmol or Kyuji Fujikawa, but maybe it'll be different with Gregg. Patrick Mooney gives his thoughts here.
- MLBTR also has an interesting piece on trade candidate David DeJesus.
And a couple of Cubs Den originals on the rumor front..
- Remember too that we learned that the Cubs have focused scouting efforts toward the Kansas City Royals farm system, which makes sense to me because the two teams match up pretty well.
- Tom had a Q and A session with Patrick Mooney and among the subjects were possible trade candidates.
- Castro SS
- Ransom 3B
- Rizzo 1B
- Soriano LF
- Hairston RF
- Castillo C
- Sweeney CF
- Barney 2B
- Samardzija P
What to Watch For:
Felzz: Starlin Castro......OK. I'm interested. I'm not sure why Dale has decided to move him to leadoff. My guess is to challenge Castro to get on base more and maybe try and work the count. Perhaps he thinks Castro will get more fastballs. Whatever, it's an interesting choice, and I'm interested to see how it plays out....
John: With Dave Sappelt farmed out, the Cubs no longer have a RH bat to spell David DeJesus, so the task today falls on LH hitting Ryan Sweeney, who is also playing CF -- though he's a better corner OF'er. I'm watching the Cubs newest addition on both offense and defense today.
Tom: Jeff Samardzija has pitched pretty well but is still looking for his first win since Opening Day. It won't be easy today against the Nats, so let's see if he rises up to the challenge.