There was a flurry of roster activity of all kinds: trades, signings, call-ups, and DL stints. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer didn’t waste any time starting their sell-off, firing the first shot of the deadline season.
We can only gather that there will be even more roster moves in the next day or two with the new additions to the bullpen and over the course of the month as the Cubs continue to move pieces. This figures to be just a start of things to come…
Dodgers Get: RHP Carlos Marmol, Cubs #4 International Signing Slot, Cash
Cubs Get: RHP Matt Guerrier
What It Means For Cubs: Carlos Marmol is officially not a Cub, anymore. Guerrier was in DFA limbo with the Dodgers. He becomes yet another arm in the Cubs’ busy bullpen this season. Marmol gets a fresh start. Adding Guerrier could spell the end for Shawn Camp. *Fingers Crossed* Jayson Stark, interestingly, tweeted that this is almost a no lose for the Dodgers. If he doesn’t work out and is released, the Cubs are on the hook for more money if he signs elsewhere.
Orioles Get: RHP Scott Feldman, C Steve Clevenger
Cubs Get: RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP Pedro Strop, Number 3 International Signing Slot, #4 International Signing Slot
What It Means For The Cubs: Clevenger being moved comes out of right field, since he and the Cubs apparently just within the last day had a difference of opinion on his injuries. Feldman was expected to go as part of a sell-off, and the Cubs actually did quite well in this move. Jake Arrieta is a talented 27 year old who hasn’t quite figured it out at the major league level just yet. He will go to AAA Iowa for the time being. He could be part of a trade to the Padres, who apparently like both him and Matt Garza. Acquiring him could help sweeten the return if the Cubs send Garza and Arrieta to San Diego. Strop is a good bullpen arm and should fill the void being left by Carlos Villanueva being stretched back into a starter. He, too, has struggled some at the major league level. Overall, I’d have liked this deal if it was Feldman for Strop OR Arrieta and the pool money. To get both, while only losing Clevenger in addition to Feldman is a nice move for the Cubs, regardless of whether they view Arreita as a trade asset or as an arm to bring to Chicago.
Astros Get: INF Ronald Torreyes
Cubs Get: #2 and #3 International Signing Slots
What It Means For The Cubs: More international spending money. Torreyes is a good hitter, but with the logjam in the middle infield in the Cubs’ organization, they could afford to make this move to spend money on potential impact international free agents. The move brings in $784K to add to the spending pool, which would presumably be used to target OF Eloy Jimenez. After all of the moves today, the Cubs have $5,520,300 in total international spending money, which is one of the key means of stocking the system with talent.
Cubs Sign: SS Gleybar Torres ($1.7M). P Jefferson Mejia, Erling Moreno, C Johan Matos
What It Means For The Cubs: The search for impact players continues, with Torres ranked the #2 International Free Agent. He’s 16, so you can file his name away, but scouts love him and say he is quite polished for being so young. Mejia is 18 and his contract is for 2013, so he is a name we might hear a bit sooner than Torres.
Cubs Call-Up: LHP Chris Rusin, OF Dave Sappelt
Cubs Place OF Ryan Sweeney on 60 Day Disabled List (Fractured Rib)
What It Means For The Cubs: Rusin takes the roster spot vacated by Feldman, and he will start tonight at Oakland. He has been very good at Iowa, being named to the PCL All-Star team. This is an opportunity to try to stick in Chicago, either in the rotation or the bullpen, as more moves are likely as the deadline approaches. Sappelt adds a right handed bat to the outfield mix after Sweeney fractured a rib in Seattle. Sweeney could have been a trade chip, but going on the 60 Day DL kills that opportunity, and is now not eligible to come back until the end of August.
As the deadline approaches, the Cubs are in a full court press, trying to make moves to improve the overall talent level of the organization. The good news is, they are actually well positioned to add one or more core pieces to the roster. While it will probably take more than one of the Cubs’ chips to get a piece that would be significant enough to add to the big league roster right away, the Cubs do have Matt Garza, who can fetch a player who has upside and is Major League ready.
There are some destinations where Matt Garza could turn into a piece who is part of the team that Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and presumably, Dale Sveum are looking to push into the playoffs. And those teams could all use a player like Garza to make a push in the second half of this season. While it remains to be seen what happens, Garza is the player who will net the biggest reward, and it is he who should be watched the closest as the next month unfolds.
Last year, it was reported that the Rangers were in on Matt Garza before being scared off by his medicals and settling on a deal for Ryan Dempster. They were also the team that took Geovany Soto and sent Barret Loux when Jacob Brigham had a medical issue. The point is, the Cubs and Rangers are no strangers to making deals, and the magic could be rekindled this year.
3B Mike Olt: It is only a guess that Olt was the piece the Cubs were in on when trying to move Garza to Texas last summer. He has the potential to be a nice core piece, especially if Kris Bryant has to move off the hot corner. Keith Law rates him as a plus defender. He probably won’t hit for a huge average, but he’ll get on base with his fair share of walks (12.4 walk rate at AAA this season). He also has the power to hit the ball out. The consensus is that all he needs is at-bats, and if he were to come to Chicago this season, there is no good reason why he couldn’t get his share of them immediately.
The Cubs have been rumored to be discussing a Matt Garza trade to the Padres. A deal here would make some sense, considering Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod came to the Cubs from San Diego. Familiarity can breed success, so being familiar with the players as deeply as the front office knows these players make the likelihood of a successful trade a little greater.
2B/3B Jedd Gyorko: One thing the Cubs have done successfully is add big bats who will hit for a ton of power. Gyorko isn’t one of those guys. While he is playing second for the Padres this season, he is a natural third baseman, who will hit for good average, but will not put up gaudy power numbers. He has a .284/.341/.461 so far this season, to go with eight long balls and 25 driven in while playing at a park and in a division that is not conducive to big time hitting numbers. Coming to the more hitter friendly NL Central could really help his offensive game blossom, while giving the Cubs a good hitting third baseman to compliment the power that is already in the organization.
The Dodgers are eight under .500. They are also only a mere seven games out of first place. You know they’re not afraid to spend money and to take on as many good players as they can. Anything short of the playoffs would be a disaster for the Dodgers and their obscene payroll. And, after having too much starting pitching as the season started, are now in a position where another arm couldn’t hurt.
RHP Zach Lee: While Lee is not ready for “The Show,” he is an athletic pitcher who has some solid middle of the rotation potential. At the AA level, he would be the most developed Cubs’ prospect who is pitching this season. It would be a surprise if he were the only piece coming back in return for Garza, but he would be a strong centerpiece if the Dodgers were so inclined to try to bring Garza out west.
The Indians haven’t been good recently, but are in the hunt this season. They also have terrible pitching. This is a match made in heaven.
RHP Trevor Bauer: He is pitching much better in the early going in his Indians career after being traded from Arizona last off-season. He would be a heavy price to pay for half of a season of Matt Garza. Veteran pitching with his playoff experience is hard to come by, though. While this is the least likely of any scenario, there is no denying the mid to upper 90s fastball to go with a very good curve ball. Pairing the 22 year old Bauer up with Jeff Samardzija at the front end of the Cubs’ rotation for years would make for a solid 1-2 punch.
The last destination for Garza is one where he doesn’t actually leave. He’s had some injury issues the last couple of seasons, but throughout his career, he’s been durable, he’s been tested, and he’s had success as a player who’s gone to the World Series with the Rays. Extending him for a contract similar to the one the Cubs dangled to Anibal Sanchez would be a good move, especially if the Cubs don’t get a deal they like at the deadline.
First and foremost, again, there has been some growing popularity with the number of page views. That’s awesome. Thank you to everyone who takes some time to check out some of the nonsense that I spew out here. It’s always great to know that people are actually looking at this!
Now, on to business. It appears that Starlin Castro and the team have worked out an extension for 7 years/ $60M dollars, which includes a $1M buyout for the 2020 season, if a $16M option is not exercised. Starlin is one of the key pieces of the rebuilding project and there is no doubt at all that the team wants him around now. I see this as a great move by the team, to lock up Castro before he goes to arbitration and avoid it altogether. With the leaps and bounds Starlin has made over the course of the last 2+ seasons in the majors, this deal could turn out to be an absolute bargain.
With the Castro deal getting done, the whispers of a Jeff Samardzija extension have begun. I think it is premature to extend him at this point. Jeff was very good in the second half of last season in a setup role, and he has been up and down as a starter this season. He appears to have figured it out a little bit more as the season has worn on, putting together some very good starts, but extending him right now carries a ton of risk. Personally, I would wait, and if at this time next season, Samardzija is putting up good outing after good outing, then I would go ahead and talk long term extension. Anything before that, in my mind, is premature. Whether Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer see it the same way remains to be seen. The starting pitcher I would be focusing on this off-season would be Matt Garza. There is no indication that his elbow has undergone significant damage, and it would be nice to have a starter with Garza’s stuff anchoring the staff for years (4-5) to come.
The Cubs have claimed LHP Alex Hinshaw off waivers from the Padres. To make room on the 40 man roster, Arodys Vizcaino was moved to the 60 day DL. The team has not announced a move to make room on the 25 man roster, but that will be done before tonight’s game at Milwaukee. I would anticipate that it is Jeff Beliveau, because he is a left handed reliever with options remaining. He would seem to be the most likely candidate at this point. Brooks Raley, who notched his first ML win on Saturday evening was sent back to Iowa, but he was the 26th man on the roster for the doubleheader, so he was not the corresponding move to make room on the roster. Hinshaw is 29 years old and has spent time with the Padres and Giants. This season, he is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 31 outings, making his first MLB appearance since 2009 on May 9.
You think that it’s safe to go on vacation after the trade deadline because there would be a period of relative quiet afterward, and then all hell breaks loose. Just some of that has been…
- Jeff Baker being traded to the Tigers for two players to be named later was not a surprise at all. I was kind of surprised he was not dealt before the deadline.
- Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters both being called up was somewhat of a shock, especially since they were called up at the same time. Jackson has struggled, going 2-17 with 11 strikeouts in his first week as a big leaguer. Vitters is 2-15 with 2 RBI, so all in all, not much better than Jackson. The last couple of months of the season will be a great opportunity for both to get some good at bats and playing time in the majors in preparation for 2013, which is pretty much all that is happening for the duration of this season. This is another step in the development process for two of the cornerstone prospects in the system. They are the most major league ready players in the system, so it makes sense to get them to Chicago and allow them to play in games that have significance down the stretch, as the Cubs will see some teams with a lot left to fight for. To make room for Vitters and Jackson, the aforementioned Baker trade was consummated and Tony Campana was sent back to Iowa.
- Jorge Soler went 1-4 with an RBI last night in his Peoria Chiefs debut after being promoted on Thursday from Mesa. Tonight, he hit a grand slam in his first career at bat with the bases loaded… seen here:
- With the loss today, the Cubs are back at their low water mark for the season, 24 games under .500.
- Former Padres Scouting Director Jaron Madison is coming to the Cubs to take the same job. That moves Tim Wilken to a role as “Special Assistant” to Theo Epstein. Really, these moves are only adding more talented front office men to the baseball operations staff. Wilken is well respected around baseball, having been the man to draft Roy Halladay, Chris Carpenter, Michael Young, and Vernon Wells when he was with the Blue Jays, and having all four of his first round picks with the Cubs from 2006-2009 making it to the majors with the Cubs. (Tyler Colvin, Josh Vitters, Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson) Madison is a rising star in baseball, and having worked with Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod during their time together in San Diego, this move makes a lot of sense.
- Speaking of the front office, GM Jed Hoyer said he expects Matt Garza to be in the Cubs’ rotation in 2013. That could mean that he anticipates resigning the pitcher this off-season to a contract extension or he is posturing potential trade partners for leverage to deal him over the winter. Hoyer was quoted by Paul Sullivan, saying, “He’s likely to be a member of the Cubs in 2013,” [Hoyer] said. “And we’re excited to have him. (Trading him) is the last thing we’re thinking of. We’re just trying to get this guy healthy.” With Garza being sidelined at the moment with a “stress reaction” in his elbow, it might be smart to keep Garza around, especially if he is unable to pitch again in 2012.
- Alfonso Soriano got on Starlin Castro’s case about his lapse in Friday’s game. As the senior most veteran on the roster, that is absolutely Sori’s place, and it probably softened the blow in the meeting Castro had with Manager Dale Sveum. Starlin has been much better with his concentration of late, but losing track of the ball, down five runs, is another exhibit of how far the young short stop still has to go in his maturation process. He is still a developing player, and often times, that fact gets lost in the fact that he has been so good over the course of his first three seasons in the majors.