How about some news and notes for a lazy Sunday afternoon. It's been awhile since we've updated you on what's going around the web.
The Futures Game
The Futures game starts at 1 pm and can be seen either on ESPN2 or MLB.com. Cubs rising star prospect Arismendy Alcantara is in the starting lineup and will bat 2nd and play 2B for the World Team. Jorge Soler is also on the team but he will be unable to play because of a stress fracture he suffered at the all-star break.
The Futures Game is one part of the prospect/minor leagues that MLB markets well and it's a chance for many to see some names they've only heard and read about so far. It's too bad Soler can't play and that Javier Baez just missed being added to the roster. This would have been a great showcase for Cubs prospect fans.
Matt Garza Rumor Mill
After another strong performance, the buzz on a Matt Garza trade continues to intensify. Several insiders are chiming in on what teams are the most in on the Cubs talented RHP.
- Bruce Levine reports that it's the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays who were in heaviest on Garza last season and both teams are still watching him closely. It's hard to imagine Toronto being all that interested unless they get a window to negotiate a long term deal with Garza. Garza would likely want a place to settle down and raise his family, so I think he'd be amenable to something like that. As for Texas, Levine speculates that Mike Olt would likely be a part of any deal.
- Buster Olney tweets that the Orioles are out on Garza, but that's no surprise. They never had an inclination to give up top prospects, in part because of their thin system. They thought it would be too costly in terms of prospects. We know that they didn't want to discuss IF Jonathan Schoop or LHP Eduardo Rodriguez -- and it's likely the Cubs will surpass that offer anyway. Olney also tweeted that last night's start would likely be Garza's last as a Cub.
- Ken Rosenthal states that the Cubs continue to talk extension with Garza but also thinks the Cubs are likely to deal him before his next start. Curiously, he also says that the Cubs would be willing to accept a smaller prospect package if a team offers to pick up part of the tab. I have serious doubts about that. Rosenthal is well-sourced but it doesn't mean he doesn't get planted info that is inaccurate from time to time. As far as teams involved Rosenthal list the Nationals, Red Sox, Dodgers and Rangers as the most interested suitors. He also previously mentioned the Cardinals -- which would be great for the Cubs in that they have great pitching prospects, not so good in that they'd improve their rivals rotation. I don't think that's a realistic option.
- Lastly, from Garza himself, he is realistic about getting traded but he admits it's going to be tough to leave the Cubs. The feeling is mutual from our standpoint, but Garza understands it's a business. If the Cubs can improve their long term future by trading Garza, then that's what they need to do. He remains 50/50 on the possibility of re-signing.
Odds and Ends
- There's been rampant speculation that Nate Schierholtz not being the lineup is in part because of an impending trade. The Cubs are saying "bumps and bruises" which gives them a solid reason for giving him some rest while also allaying any fears about his long term health for this season. We have heard from good sources that the Cubs aren't shopping him, but that doesn't change the fact that some team see him as a desirable asset. If the Cubs can get value in exchange -- or if he's the piece that sweetens the deal on a larger package, then the Cubs have to listen.
- There was also speculation regarding Brett Jackson because nobody seemed to know where he's been lately. it turns out that he's rehabbing in Arizona from a calf injury.
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