An annoying lack of rumors yesterday meant no Trade Rumor Thread. Not sure if everyone was distracted by the July 2 IFA signings, but I prefer to think that it means that teams were all deep in discussions over trades that are happening today.
3:00 PM (Mike)
- Gordon Wittenmyer has a source who sees things differently than Hoyer. Wittenmyer's source feels that teams will jump to get the extra four to five starts from Hammel. This is more important than it may seem because Jon Lester -- who may or may not be on the market -- competes most directly with Hammel in the trade market. Having Hammel traded by the time the Red Sox decide what to do with Lester would be ideal for the Cubs.
1:50 PM (John):
- The Cubs have 3 more IFA signings: LHP Wander Cabrera, who had been connected with the Cubs from the start. He is a 6'2", 190 lbs 16 year old with arm strength but not much else right now except for projectability. They also signed ($100K) 3B Tony Rijo, a 6'1" #B who BA describes as having "quick hands, a line drive stroke, and occasional power". There are already questions about whether he can stay at 3B and may have to move to a corner OF position in time. They also signed SS Yellier Peguero who as the athleticism and skill to stay at SS or at least 2B. He is a switch-hitter with a line drive stroke and above average speed. Cabrera and Peguero signed for the Cubs full $250,00 they are allowed. All players are from the Dominican Republic.
- A fortnight that has seen three starters go down (Wacha, Miller, and Garcia) lead the Cardinals to an uncharacteristic 6-8 record as they tread water 5 1/2 games behind the Brewers. The Cardinals offense is sputtering as their 309 runs scored ranks dead last the the NL Central and ahead of only the woeful Padres in the NL. They have been winning on pitching and, to have a chance this year, they need to add a starter who will eat up innings as well give his team a chance to win every time out. Realistically, that gives them two options. David Price and Jeff Samardzija, in that order. The Cardinals may be thinking along those lines because, according to Jim Duquette on MLBNR (h/t to long time Denizen Mike Caldwell), they have called the Cubs to inquire on Jeff Samardzija. Obviously, an "inquiry" is a long way from an actual trade. However, with the prospect cost for David Price rumored to be high (see the Heyman piece below), Samardzija might be their best option if they choose to go for it this year. The downside is that trading Samardzija to the Cardinals leaves him in the hands of our bitter rivals for the next year and a half. The upside, however, is that the Cubs would be able to demand a premium for trading him within the division. (Mike)
- As mentioned in the previous bullet, the reason the Cardinals may opt to go with Samardzija instead of Price is because of the prospect cost the Rays are attaching to the former Cy Young winner. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Rays want "most of" the Dodgers elite prospects in a deal for Price. Heyman speculates, reasonably, that this means any deal for Price would include two OF Joc Pederson, SS Corey Seager, and LHP Julio Urias. When prospects are re-ranked at the end of the season, all 3 are likely to be top 50 prospects. It seems like a lot. Not because Price isn't worth it -- he is -- but because starting pitching is so far down the Dodgers list of concerns. However, such a deal would be great news for the Cubs because it sets a high bar for premium pitching. Even if the Cubs don't get as much for Samardzija (they shouldn't), they'll could still argue for two Top 50 guys, which I don't think anyone would complain about. (Mike)
- After last season's international free agent spending spree, the Cubs are not allowed to sign any player for more than $250,000 this year and are not attached to any of the top rated IFAs this year. However, according to Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel the Cubs have signed their first player from the July 2 class, Panamanian shortstop Francisco Garay. The terms of the deal have not been announced, though obviously it will be for less than $250K, and he does not appear on any of the major prospect lists for this class. (Dan)
- Despite speculation that the Cubs could look to make a deal involving one or more of their IFA slots and Jason Hammel's next start corresponding to the anniversary of the Scott Feldman trade, GM Jed Hoyer tells Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune that the Cubs may not make an early trade this year. "People get a lot more serious with each day that gets closer to the deadline. It probably works both ways. I don't think you ever go into July thinking you're going to make deals early, but sometimes it can come together.'' (Dan)
- There is skepticism about the Royals ability to add payroll for a playoff run. The significance here is that, if Dayton Moore really is at the end of his payroll rope, trading for Jeff Samardzija becomes difficult but trading for David Price is all but impossible. This could work to the Cubs advantage in two ways. The most obvious is this could increase the Royals demand for the cheaper Jason Hammel significantly. Secondly, unlike the Rays, the Cubs are in position to include some money in the Samardzija deal to help make it work for the Royals. (Mike)
- Following the Cubs sweep of the Red Sox, the two teams have virtually the same winning percentage. Buster Olney checks in again (Insider required) on the Red Sox's contract extension talks with Jon Lester and speculates that it may be too late for the two sides to come to agreement. Olney references the Homer Bailey extension as shifting Lester's value much as it did for Samardzija's. This leads to the obvious question of will the Red Sox look to trade Lester if no agreement can be reached? With Lester's obvious connections to the Cubs' FO and the team's need for starting pitching, there will likely be discussions if and when Lester reaches free agency. A mid-season trade of Lester would remove the possibility of the Qualifying Offer which would likely raise both Lester's price tag and the Cubs interest in signing him. (Dan)
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