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Trade Rumors: New Entrants in the Hammel Derby?

Trade Rumors: New Entrants in the Hammel Derby?

According to the Tribune's Mark Gonzalez, Scouts from six teams had scouts at Jason Hammel's start last night.  Included in the six is a new entrant: the Kansas City Royals.

In the midst of an eight game winning streak, the Royals have closed within half a game of division leading Detroit.  Moreoever, the Royals are in the second and final year of their rental of RHP James Shields, so it makes sense that they want to make a push this year.

In addition to a starter, the Royals are seeking outfield help and a left handed reliever.  They were scouting the Cubs, presumably for these things, on Saturday in Pittsburgh.  While they may want to shoot higher than Nate Schierholtz in the outfield, a package build around Hammel and James Russell could fill a lot of holes for them.

It's unclear what the Royals would offer in return.  Top prospects Kyle Zimmer and Raul Mondesi seem very unlikely for a 2 month rental of Hammel.  LHP Sean Manaea -- who currently has a very strong 3.22 FIP in high A Wilmington -- is only slightly more likely.

Meanwhile, John Morosi tweets the Cubs are listening to offers on four pitchers:

Sources: Cubs telling teams they are willing to listen to offers for starting pitchers Samardzija, Hammel, E. Jackson and Arrieta. Cubs not planning to *trade* all 4, but they want to see what market values are for each and then decide on course. Due diligence.

The shocker here, obviously, is Jake Arrieta.  While I'm sure the Cubs are "listening" -- they'd "listen" on Kris Bryant -- I think it's a mistake to conclude that anything more than that is happening.  As Morosi himself says, it's due diligence.  Arrieta's improving performance (2.89 xFIP) and cost control -- he is first time arbitration eligible next year -- make him very valuable to the rebuilding Cubs.  Any deal would have to leave the Cubs in a significantly better long term position and it is difficult to see a team making such an offer.

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  • As much as I would hate to lose him, Valbuena makes a ton of sense to the Royals. They have a black hole at 3B with Moustakas having a disaster season (hitting about a buck seventy), he can play LF, he's a lefty bat, and he's cheap for a couple more years.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I believe you are right. Valbuena's continued solid play along with his ability to play both 2nd & 3rd makes him a very good hole filler for a quite a few contending teams. Besides KC at 3rd, he could step right in for the Orioles or Blue Jays at 2nd as well. Could be a secondary piece in a Shark or Hammell trade to get a better package. Just a question of who is going to step up and make a deal before their competition does?

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I think the real question with Valbuena is do you believe the BA is for real. If you do, he's a solid starter and we can win with a guy with those stats.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I wouldn't deal Valbuena at all. Look at his consistently high AAA numbers over several years. Looks like he's finally figured out how to get it done at this level. A young player, versatile, plate discipline, high OBP, solid defense, entering his prime, getting it done and doing it in the way that our front-office says it wants our players to do. A bird in the hand is worth X-number of prospects in the bush.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    If you keep Valbuena you really have only three lineup spots to fill after adding Valbuena ver.2015 and Bryant to the core of Rizzo, Castro and Castillo. That's already a huge upgrade over what this year's lineup was heading into the 2014 season without even breaking a sweat. Sign a productive outfielder for a couple/few years and a starting pitcher and let the rebuild continue at its own pace. That's a competitive team and then it's 2016 here we come with Baez, Alcantara, etc.!

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    If someone wants a third baseman thrown in make it Villanueva. I say Valbueno is off limits

  • I do wonder what kind of value Hammel could bring. Putting some pieces in could get us a better return. Will be interested to see how it plays out. He might not be a bad extension candidate himself if we don't like the offers.

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    In reply to givejonadollar:

    I'm leery of signing journeymen after a career year, which is what is happening with Hammel.
    I remember Himes or Lynch or whomever it was shoving Chris Stines down our throats because he hit .305 the year before. Same with Spendry and Aaron Miles. He kept saying the guy was a .300 hitter just because he did it once.
    More recent examples include Jeff Keppinger and Dioner Navarro.
    The odds are, a 32 year old journeyman regresses to the mean rather than seeing the upward trend continue

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I could not agree more...relying on Hammel to continue his 2014 performance from age 32 on seems overly optimistic.

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    No way I deal Arrieta or Wood unless there's an offer that you can't refuse.
    If Samardzija won't take 5/80 trade him. I love him but anything more than that has proven to be a bad investment for any pitcher. Even 5 years is stretching it.

    Hammel is a goner. We can replace his capable production with one of our young pitchers. Same with Jackson. We have Hendricks at AAA and with all the good BP arms we have on the way I'd still like to see one or two of Vizciano, Grimm, and Ramirez get stretched out for a rotation spot next year.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I don't know what the magic number is but I agree Marcel that one can only go so far. I look at Verlander now and think of all the money Detroit owes him for so many more years if he is in decline.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree, giving our guys a shot for the remainder of the year is the only way to see what we have.

    I do think going higher on AAV is reasonable given the market and the lack of alternatives.

    Different situation from past couple of years where we trotted out some horrible pitching.

  • This team pitches well enough to make the playoffs (Top 10). They just cant hit (bottom 5)

  • Agreed -- no way they lose Arrieta or Wood. Too valuable to Cubs right now for reasons Mike stated.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Only reason I would think that Arrieta would be in play is that the Cubs may not trust him and are thinking they could get a good haul and keep Shark. It would have to be a really good deal though.

  • I find it weird that Arrieta is on that list but Wood isn't. And if Arrieta is on that list, then why not everybody? It just doesn't make sense.

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    In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    What may well have happened is a team called and inquired about Arrieta, the Cubs listened, and politely said no thank you. That is consistent with Morosi's story.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Does that mean that teams were inquiring about Edwin Jackson, too? Giggity giggity.

  • In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    No. It means that the Cubs would listen to offers for him.

    I think he's a viable trade candidate in the right situation, but...

  • In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    I agree. But the only thing I can think of Theo wanting to keep a LH in the rotation.

  • John, do you think that Hammel would be worthy of a qualifying offer? I don't think he will stick with the Cubs through the end of the year, but kind of wondering if that would be a possibility.

    I hope that the Cubs continue to pick up these rebound candidates as they improve the team overall. Maybe they become comp picks down the road instead of deadline trade bait. Bosio is a wizard with these guys.

  • Mike, John,

    Can you let me know when it is acceptable to start freaking out about Schwarber? Two more HR's today and I am starting to get close.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    This is going to sound a little harsh, but wait until A ball or AA ball. He's a lot more advanced than the kids he's playing against and, while it would be crazy to "expect" this level of dominance, it doesn't necessarly tell you much about his skills against high level players. Still a lot of fun, though.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It is nice to see him dominate from the start. His power is impressive.

  • I have been one of those who was really hoping the Cubs would extend/resign JS. After watching the way he mis-played the double play attempt just now though I am not so sure. Jeff actually over ran the bag a bit and was stretched a bit toward the outfield side. Castros throw was tailing and toward the infield side but was not that bad a throw. Jeff could not reach back and get it because of his poor position. If I were scoring I would be tempted to give the error to JS not Castro.

    Worse than that, though, was the way Jeff acted or failed to act after he missed the throw. First he just stood there for a moment and glared at Castro before he reacted and went after the ball. I can not stand that kind of attitude. Even if it was Castro's fault Jeff needs to get after the ball immediately. There is no time for sulking or glaring at a team mate while the ball is in play.

    Just IMHO.

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    OT: Jordan Bernfield reports that Schwarber has been called up to KC. Makes some sense. Travel day tomorrow, starts the second half of the season with his new team on Thursday.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That is great news! I may be at the KC game Sunday and it will be great to see Schwarber play. I was afraid he would skip KC like Bryant did last year.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    It's official. Schwarber to Kane County.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Just heard that during the game.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I was sort of expecting a call to daytona, didn't Bryant skip KC?

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    yes but this is more than likely partly for postseason as well

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    In reply to rsanchez11:

    nkniacc is right. The Cubs seem to like their prospects getting postseason experience, if possible, and Kane County is the best team in the MWL and Daytona is, uh, not. If he destroys Kane County like he destroyed the NWL (unlikely), they will have a tough decision on their hands.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good stuff. Thanks for the quick update

  • Schwarber is coming Schwarber is coming. It solves another issue for the KCC we can have. 4 catcher and pitchers working simultaneously! In all seriousness this is awesome and gives Zagunis a place to start his career as well.

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    OT I'm off to Omaha tomorrow - 14 yr old travel team. any tips and pointers are welcome. Any of our draftees playing in the CWS?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SKMD:

    We did that tourney too back when the CWS was at old Rosenblatt Stadium. That was 11 or 12 years ago, I don't remember much about the area or anything. It's a great experience. Have fun.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Got our butts kicked in Cooperstown, this is supposed to be a little more fair competition

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Good luck in the tournament. Hope you bring home some hardware. And the boys will love the CWS game. It's great for them because they get to see "kids" not all that much older than they are playing at such a high level.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Thanks. doubtful on the hardware, but my kid already has some :)
    If I go to a CWS game John I'll send some pics, but I'll probably be on a golf course instead.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Cool! Have always wanted to go. Maybe next year,

  • In reply to SKMD:

    The Henry Doorly zoo is nice but pricy. The Old Market is pretty cool too, lots of good local bar and grill type areas and a nice riverwalk.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Good luck, I think my buddy will be there as well. Do it right baseball

  • Kane County is loaded at Catcher and OF with Remillard, Carhart, Brockmeyer, Dunston, Hannemann, Balaguert, T. Martin and now Schwarber. I wonder how playing time works out ??

  • Will talk about it in recap but for those who don't know, Kyle Schwarber was promoted to Kane County.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wow. That was fast.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I wonder if there will be a corresponding promotion. Carhart? He's 24, hitting well, especially of late, played 19 games at catcher, 5 at 3B and 5 at 1B. He hasn't played any OF.

    If they hope to play Schwarber in the OF some, it's going to be very crowded. Balaguert, Dunston, Martin are all very young and not tearing it up. Hannemann isn't performing well either. It's possible one of Martin or Dunston gets demoted to Boise.

  • OT: Mike, John, or anyone else....Watching all the Tony Gwynn clips from the last couple of days, I have to ask this.
    Some talking head on ESPN said that Tony Gwynn, in the past 60 years, has been the best baseball player that they have ever seen in.

    Hypothetical question....If your a GM and you had the first pick in the draft, and these 2 players were available....with the benefit of hindsight, who would you take, Tony Gwinn or Pete Rose ?

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    In reply to biittnersmustache:

    Gwynn. Best pure hitter I've ever seen.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed, don't bet on Rose.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Exactly.....best pure hitter of this generation. I am not saying he's the best overall pure baseball player of this generation but he's def in the conversation.

    Nobody had bat control like that man. He was the best and a great guy too.

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    In reply to biittnersmustache:

    Rose gives the advantage of being able to play anywhere on the diamond. Gwynn was a better hitter and every bit the tough-as-nails competitor Rose was. Both are beyond special and unique, but I'd also take Gwynn.

  • In reply to biittnersmustache:

    Tony Gwynn. I have nothing against Pete Rose, but Gwynn was a better hitter -- which is odd to say considering Rose is the all-time the hit leader :)

  • NO ARRIETA!

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    If a team is willing to overpay for any player the Cubs would be well served to look long and hard at the offer. He won't come cheap, that's for sure.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    Yup, this is exactly it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yea but is there a package you would take for Bryant?

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    Sure. Just not a realistic one.

    For example: Mike Trout.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    yea I get that. I have very high expectations for KB.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Of course.

  • As far as the Royals for Hammel...Manaea, please, Manaea. After him, a combo of Miguel Almonte and Christian Binford might be okay. Or Almonte and Sam Selman.

    Almonte is ranked right behind Manaea by Mayo. Binford is somewhat of a Kyle Hendricks clone. Average sinker, great control, gets groundballs. Selman is a lefty with a good FB, slider combo but lacks control.

  • Manaea would be the best from them. But got to get more.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    I think Manaea would be enough for me. Big LH SP with his potential are rare.

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    In reply to John57:

    How's Manaea been pitching !

    What would it take to get Zimmer?

    Also, if Cleveland gets involved, who would you guys rather have as a headliner, Trevor Bauer or Danny Salazar? Both have their share of warts but both have very high potential ceilings.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Peripherals are much better than his results. Since the Royals are not a saber friendly team may be able to buy low.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's not such a bad thing. Anytime u can get a bargain, ie 75 cents on the dollar, this front office loves that.

    If Baltimore doesn't want to give us Bundy then I say lets get Manaea

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Manaea is a very good prospect and Hammel was signed off the scrap heap. He has had a few decent months, but I would be jumping for joy and make the trade asap if someone offered a legitimate top prospect for him.

  • In reply to springs:

    yup I agree.

  • It sounds like KC was scouting JS last night. Would Zimmer and Manea be a realistic offer? In an ideal world, I would make that trade but ask Jeff to consider coming back to Chicago after the 2015 season. That way Jeff could avoid another year of growing pains, but still be part of the Cubs bright future.

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