Even though the Cubs cashed in their biggest chips on July 4th, there are still other pieces they will be looking to move and hopefully adding some more pieces to their insanely stacked system. I would expect to see various levels of speculation regarding the Cubs moving one of their shortstops, bullpen arms (especially from the left side), Nate Schierholtz, Darwin Barney (DFA or trade), Luis Valbuena, and possibly even Edwin Jackson (a boy can dream).
Editors Note: We will make this a rumors and notes piece since we don't expect a ton of rumors today, but there are some other interesting things going on around the league.
8:15 (Dan) The other Boy Wonder of Twitter reporting Robert Murray says that the Yankees have inquired on Edwin Jackson. According to Murray, the Yankees are looking to acquire high salaried starters who won't cost high level prospects. Earlier today, Yankees GM stated on WFAN that he had attempted to acquire both Samardzija and Hammel (in separate deals), but obviously the Yankees did not have a prospect at the level of Addison Russell to offer in trade talks (few teams do).
7:30 (Mike) Das Wunderkind weighs in with some trade rumors that expand what we had this morning. In addition to teams calling about James Russell, Wesley Wright is also getting some attention. It's easy to see trading one of the two as Zac Rosscup is ready to come up as soon as needed. Trading both of them may lead Chris Rusin to a career as a LOOGY.
1:30 PM (John): Brady Aiken talks have hit a snag as the top pick in the 2014 draft appears to have some medical concerns. Specifically it has to do with his elbow ligament. The Astros have rescinded their original $6.5M offer and are now offering $5M. This has not been a great month for the Astros. On the bright side for them, they could save money as they have quite a few unsigned picks, including top overslot, LHP Mac Marshall. They also have not signed their 4th round pick, RHP Daniel Megden.
1:12 PM: Thoughts on Cubs Rebuilding Plan and the Russell/Samardzija/Hammel deal
- Jesse Spector of the Sporting News praises the Cubs bold plan to add impact talent and contrasts it with the Diamondbacks muddling through the process.
- Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Dispatch writes an article that contrasts the Cubs building plan with the Cardinals. It's unsurprisingly oversimplified and biased but he does bring up an interesting point about how the Cubs have built with hitting and the Cardinal have tried to sustain success with pitching. He also gathers up some opinion from national writers for both sides, so it is worth a look even if the analysis from the author is unsatisfactory.
(John): Could the Mets make a play for Starlin Castro?
Disclaimer: I am not suggesting the Cubs trade Starlin Castro nor should they even shop him, which I can say that they are not. I am just saying that the industry buzz has been that other teams are very interested in the resurgent 24 year old All-Star SS.
Topping the list are the New York Mets. They are in dire need of a SS and despite some of the information you may have read publicly, they would very much like having a hitter like Castro in their lineup.
The Mets also have the most intriguing player to deal in former top prospect Zach Wheeler. I say former only because Wheeler is logging big league innings this year.
It makes sense on many levels. Both players are 24 and 3 years from their prime. Castro is having the better season (1.8 WAR), but Wheeler has shown flashes of the kind of pitcher he could become. He's been worth about a half win less so far this year and with crude extrapolation, we can say Castro will be the better player by about a win at the end of the season.
Wheeler would be the kind of guy you'd want Bosio to get his hands on. He works with a fastball that averages 95 mph. He also throws a very hard slider in the upper 80s, a curve, and a change. He's a power pitcher with top of the rotation talent. The only thing he lacks is command, but given the work Bosio has done with Jake Arrieta, Jeff Samardzija. and Travis Wood in that area, that could improve over time.
It will take more than Wheeler to land Castro and, like I said, I am in no way eager to deal the talented young SS. But Wheeler would at least get me to listen. The Cubs could still have an infield of Bryant, Russell, Baez, and Rizzo with an OF that could include some combination of Alcantara, Soler, Almora, Schwarber, and McKinney. The rotation would have two studs at the top in Wheeler and Arrieta, They also have Travis Wood while Kyle Hendricks will make his debut this week. The Cubs would be one veteran top 3 starter from having a good, mostly young rotation to go with what might well be the best young lineup in baseball.
- Early this morning Peter Gammons reported that James Russell's name was heard frequently over the past weekend in trade talks. With the Cubs having an overcrowded bullpen already and Zac Rosscup ready to replace Russell from the left side, it makes sense that the Cubs would be looking to move the veteran. Russell is having a quietly solid year despite a rough May and has surprisingly been more successful against right handed batters (.376 OPS) than lefties (.789 OPS). Not expecting a huge return for Russell, but he would make an interesting complimentary piece in a bigger deal. (Dan)
- Ken Rosenthal Tweeted this morning that the Cubs were asking for combinations of five different Toronto prospects in trade talks for both Jason Hammel and/or Jeff Samardzija. Rosenthal lists RHPs Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, and Aaron Sanchez, LHP Daniel Norris, and CF Dalton Pompey as Cubs targets in the trade talks. All these names had previously been reported as Cubs targets and Rosenthal later added that the two teams did not discuss a package of both Hammel and Samardzija.
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