Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Trade Rumors

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Peavy a Cub?

It's been discussed here a little ... Jake Peavy is apparently willing to be traded from the Padres, and thus far the Cubs are 1 of 5 teams he'd accept a trade to.  Now, obviously, a Cubs team with a rotation of Zambrano-Peavy-Harden-Lilly-Dempster (or Samardzija, or Marquis, or a warm bucket of spit - it really doesn't matter when those other guys are in there) would be ridiculous, but it's also pretty unlikely.

The primary concern has to be salary.  Zambrano is making 17.75 million next year, Lilly makes 12, Harden 7, and Dempster will likely be making 10 million on a back-ended deal, assuming he comes back at all.

With Peavy's 10 million+ salary - which is actually quite a bargain for his level of talen - that would give the Cubs starting 5 a payroll of $56 million plus - there were 6 teams with smaller payrolls in 2008, including the Rays who are still in position to reach the World Series for the AL.

I say that, hey, if the Cubs can afford it, then they should do it.  But file this one under Trades to be Mades - what would the Padres want for Peavy?  I'd assume that, minimally, Marshall, Pie, and probably somebody of Samardzija's level would be asked for by the Padres.

Brenly to the Brewers?

Our friend over at MLB Trade Rumors reports that Bob Brenly is being considered to manage the Brewers, and this just weeks after he extended his deal to broadcast for the Cubs.

Regrettably, Steve Stone is now calling games for the White Sox, and is signed up to do so for the next six years.  Guh.  Maybe there are other options out there, but most of them suck.  I anticipate that if Brenly goes, he'll be hard to replace in the booth, although I know there are some people out there who might loudly disagree.

Trades to be Mades Preview, Pt. 2

 

Trades to be Mades

Welcome to the second day of our coverage!  In today's article, I'm going to ... well, do a whole lot of nothin'.  I'm opening it up to you.

Basically, I love trade speculation as much as anybody.  When I was a kid, I used to fill up notebooks with trade ideas to help better the Cubs.  ....sorry, did I just mumble?  What I meant to say is that I was an unmitigated geek.  Actually, I still am.

However, I now realize how ludicrous fan trade suggestions are.  They just don't make sense, like, ever.  I mean, no, the Cubs aren't going to get Derrek Lee to break his no-trade clause, and even if he will, San Diego wouldn't take him, Jason Marquis, and a prospect in a trade for Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez.

(In all seriousness though, there is a report that Peavy would waive his no-trade clause to pitch in Chicago.)

So, rather than make some trade suggestions that will surely get ripped apart, I'd like to welcome you, the Goat Reader, to offer up some suggestions of your own ... which, uh, will surely get ripped apart.  ...ahem.

Or,  you could even just list off some non-free-agented players out there who you think the Cubs should consider pursuing.

Or, you could make some ludicrous trade suggestions.  Either way.

Trades to be Mades Preview, Pt. 1

A big thanks to Rob for his article this morning on the risks of acquiring Milton Bradley.  Before I get too far into the intended content of this post, I just thought I'd say a few words on it ...

Hell yes, he's worth the risk!  However, I'd consider it a fairly large risk because I don't think he's ever had a manager before with such a legendary temper.  I could see them clashing quickly before Bradley gets chucked to the wind.  I'm not sure how I missed him in my preview, but Bradley's ability to hit certainly brings something to the table.

With that out of the way ... let's look at the Cubs players who should be trade bait this off season:

 

Trades to be Mades

SP Jason Marquis - He has a year remaining on his contract, which is a plus in terms of dealing him.  Unfortunately, he's also scheduled to make 9.75 million, which makes him tougher to deal, unless Hendry decides to eat probably half his salary.

Why He Will Be Dealt: As much as we loathe him and lament his presence on the Cubs, Marquis brings one thing to the table here - as far as #5 pitchers go, he may be the best in baseball, and on a fair number of teams, he might even be the best #3 option.  Perhaps even more importantly, Marquis may see his trade value skyrocket once this off-season's premier free agents are locked up.  Somebody out there will be a loser holding a checkbook, and rather than go home empty, will submit to a trade of Marquis in order to tell his disappointed fan base "see?  We got somebody!"

Why He Will Stay: If Ryan Dempster fails to return to Chicago, then the Cubs might not want to take a risk in also losing Marquis, a, uh, "proven commodity."  The Cubs have a pretty steady rotation, and they've got depth they can play with in Marshall, Gaudin, and perhaps even Rich Hill.  But if Dempster goes, and with Harden's proneness of injury, then the Cubs just might not be able to afford the risk of dealing Marquis, too.

2B Mark DeRosa - Poor guy.  He signs a 3 year deal with the Cubs, busts his ass in the first year while playing multiple positions, and then goes home to an off season of trade speculation.  Then, it turns out that he keeps his job, puts up career numbers which arguably make him the team MVP, and here he is, a guy on the trade block again - at least, in my twisted view.

Why He Will Be Dealt: The Cubs are very limited in how they can offensively upgrade.  Hendry will have to look closely at the versatile DeRosa and conclude accurately that he won't put up numbers equal or better to his '08 performance.  Therefore, his value will never be higher.  Not to mention the fact that the Cubs may choose to upgrade defensively, and if they do it will be in the middle infield.

Why He Will Stay: DeRosa is just too valuable to the Cubs.  He is able to play a number of positions, he can get big hits, and he's only making 5.5 million next season.  Considering the uncertainty of Fukudome in RF, Hendry and Piniella might keep DeRosa around simply for the comfort he provides them.

SS Ryan Theriot - In his second full major league season, Theriot hit, hit some more, and then hit even more after that.  To the angst of Colins everywhere, Theriot put up great numbers (at a glance) and has proven to be an inexpensive alternative to a multi-million dollar free agent, like Raffy Furcal.

Why He Will Be Dealt: Meet the Rich Hill of the '08 off season.  Hill had a very respectable 2007 and immediately became the talk of the trade block because he did not look like a good #2 pitcher and the Cubs needed one.  Hendry held onto him though, and we saw his trade value evaporate.  Theriot might be in the same position.  Yes, he batted .307 this year - led the team, in fact.  He also had a .387 OBP and 22 steals.  Will he do it again?  Probably not.  Might as well deal him while he's got some value and try to upgrade at short.

Why He Will Stay: On a very expensive team, Theriot isn't.  More to the point, he just might be the kind of hitter we want - a guy who works the count, slaps singles, and gets on base.  While he will remain the weakest offensive link next year, his presence allows for Hendry to pursue upgrades in right field that he might otherwise not be able to afford.

CF Felix Pie - At this point, Pie has been a disappointment to the Cubs.  Like Corey Patterson before him, he has yet to answer the call and demonstrate his ability to perform at the ML level.

Why He Will Be Dealt: Neither Hendry nor Lou will feel comfortable with Pie being Option 1 in center field.  Not to mention that - correct me if I'm wrong - he's out of options, so he will never see Iowa skies again.  Therefore, before he proves to be a total bust, while he still has some value, the Cubs will likely look to trade Pie.

Why He Will Stay: He's not Option 1.  He's perhaps Option 1-A.  The Cubs could - and very likely will - move Fukudome to CF next season, making their need of Pie not entirely certain.  However, if he is a bust, he's still a bust with a glove and he might be the best defensive 4th outfielder available to the team.  Besides, let's not overlook one thing - the Pie Man had a good September and maybe, just maybe, he's figured it all out.  I will submit to you this final thought: if Pie gets traded, it won't happen until March.  He'll be the last one Hendry wants to let go of.

Conclusions

If you think I missed out on somebody, post about it in the comments section.  It's likely that, tomorrow, I'll take a stab at players other teams might be open to trading to Chicago.  But, then again, maybe I won't.  I think the biggest mistake a blogger - or media type - can make is actually speculating on this kind of thing, because that person will always come off looking like an uneducated doof.

Real, honest news!

Carlos Marmol, in spite of his car accident, seems to be perfectly healthy. Rich Harden, in spite of his lack of car accidents, could have surgery in the offseason. If the Cubs do not pick up this $7 million option, they go to arbitration, where Harden could well make even more.

As for Henry Blanco’s option, the Cubs may buy it out and try to ink him to a smaller deal.

The Cubs have a Fukudome problem and are likely to bring in a free-agent right fielder as “competition.”

To be frank, I still can’t figure out if P-Sully is passing on the latest insider info or just reading the FanPosts on Bleed Cubbie Blue. Among what he says:

  • Soriano could be moved down in the order, possibly for Brian Roberts, who is being shopped by the Orioles! (No, really this time!)
  • Rich Hill is headed to winter ball to see if he can’t fix his control issues.
  • Derrek Lee “could be asked to lift [his no-trade clause] if he's dealt to a team in California for pitching help.” Let’s narrow this down a bit. The Padres have Adrian Gonzales and so are not in the picture. Lee doesn’t sound like a good match for the A’s and their philosophy (by which I mean he gets paid in money). I’m tempted to start a very irresponsible Lee-for-Cain rumor here, but won’t. Very weird all-in-all.
  • Ronny Cedeno could be traded, “after yelling at trainer Mark O'Neal during a nasty exchange before a game in Milwaukee on the final weekend of the regular season.” Consider this Exhibit #348 in the growing case that Ronny Cedeno really doesn’t appreciate how hard my life is as de-facto leader of the Ronny Cedeno Fan Club.

I'm already regretting passing on that bit about Lee, by the way. God help me.

Maybe Next Year? A Look At The Offseason

Overview

The Cubs are already committed to roughly $115 million in salary going into next season, and while they do have a few holes on the roster to fill, I seriously doubt that the Cubs front office plans on dismantling a 97-win team. So expect some mild tinkering, not the radical remakes of the past two offseasons.

Pending Free Agents:

Henry Blanco, C – The Cubs have a $3 million option on Blanco, a long-time fan favorite. Three mil is probably a lot to pay for a backup catcher, and while Blanco is probably an upgrade over Koyie Hill, that’s money that could be spent elsewhere. The Cubs could also be eyeing prospect Wellington Castillo as Soto’s backup of the future, and the future could be soon.

Jim Edmonds, CF & Reed Johnson, CF – The Cubs have a lot of decisions to make in the outfield this offseason, and they’ll probably break up the most successful outfield platoon for 2008 in the process. Edmonds has to decide whether or not he’s still interested in playing after this season. Johnson may see if he can find full-time work elsewhere. The Cubs need to figure out if they’re interested in a long-term answer or another one-year stopgap in center field.

Ryan Dempster, SP – Ryan Dempster is probably the single-biggest decision facing the club this offseason. Coming off a career year, he’ll probably be the third-most sought-after pitcher in free agency, possibly the second-most if the Jays are able to sign A.J. Burnett to an extension. (Sheets may have really hurt his cause with his late-season arm problems.)

That said, we’re talking about a guy with a career ERA identical Jason Marquis’, and the Cubs already have a lot of money locked up into the rotation, with commitments to Zambrano, Harden, Lilly and Marquis. They also have Marshall, Gaudin and Samardzija, all of whom could be competing for a rotation spot. Hendry stayed out of the Zito and Schmidt bloodbath, to no small credit, and he may decide to sit out on the bidding for Dempster. He’ll almost certainly rate Type A compensation, which means a first-round draft pick if the Cubs let him walk.

Rich Harden, SP – The Cubs have a $7 million option on Harden that’s simply a no-brainer. He’ll be back next season.

Kerry Wood, CL – And Wood’s the second-most likely guy on this list to return, right after Harden. He loves the Cubs, and the Cubs love Wood, and as a closer he was worth every penny to the team, some minor health issues notwithstanding.

Bob Howry, RP – Howry could be a Type B free agent, but after the year he’s had the Cubs may decide to not risk him accepting arbitration. I don’t think he’s in the team’s future plans.

Jon Lieber, RP – Lieber is most likely out of baseball at this point.

Daryle Ward, 1B – With the emergence of Micah Hoffpauir, it’s not clear that the Cubs need Ward (if they ever did). This is one area where the Cubs could trim a little salary without anyone noticing.

Trade Bait:

Jason Marquis, SP – After a blessedly mediocre season, Marquis could finally be tradable, especially with only one year remaining on his contract. He’s certainly expendable at this point.

Felix Pie, CF – The Cubs kept Pie on the postseason roster in preference of Micah Hoffpaiur, but that’s the only sign in a long time that the organization still holds Pie in any sort of high regard. Pie’s last minor league option year has been used, so the Cubs must keep him on the 25-man roster next season or lose him to waivers. The Cubs might decide to shop him instead.

Mark DeRosa, 2B – This is an outside shot, but I figured I’d mention it. The Cubs have Mike Fontenot, a capable replacement for DeRosa at the keystone. They could go out and get someone like (ugh) Willie Bloomquist for peanuts to fill the utility role, no doubt not as well as DeRosa but probably well enough. DeRosa is coming off a career year and has probably peaked as far as trade value goes.

Possible Acquisitions:

Outfielder – The Cubs were able to find a stopgap in center field, but may attempt to address the issue long-term. There’s little chance they go into camp with little more than Pie and a prayer for a third time.

The free agent market for center fielders is thin at best and nonexistent at worst. The trade market looks pretty much the same as the last time we looked at it – Marlon Byrd? Coco Crisp?

The Cubs do have an inhouse candidate who seems ideal for the job – Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome is probably never going to give Lou the offensive production he desires; his MO seems to be Ichiro Light, but with walks instead of singles. He’s a talented defender who could probably handle center well, and moving him out of right field relieves him of expectations on offense – particularly power – he likely can’t meet.

That opens a whole as soon as it creates one, though, leaving the Cubs with an opening in right field. They could consider moving DeRosa out to right field to make room for Mike Fontenot. Trader Jim could get creative, although after the Harden deal it’s not clear he has a whole lot to offer in trade.

There are some free agent corner outfielders available, although none of them sound like strictly good ideas. One free agent name to idly consider is Adam Dunn, the sort of lefty power Lou always seems to be after. Manny Ramirez is of course available, baggage included. There’s no indication that the Cubs are after that caliber of free agent, however. The Cubs could go back to kicking the tires on Raul Ibanez.

Shortstop – Don’t expect much on this front – Theriot put up a career year that should solidify him in the eyes of the organization going into next season. (I’m sure my own feelings on the matter are well known.) But if the organization still hasn’t forgotten about the allure of a switch-hitting leadoff man, Rafael Furcal is available through free agency.

On The Farm

There isn’t a lot of potential impact available from the farm system right now. The most interesting options are bench players – Micah Hoffpauir and Wellington Castillo. Hoffpauir you’re all familiar with by now, and it seems plausible that he’ll step into Daryle Ward’s spot on the bench next year.

Castillo is the organization’s top catching prospect following Soto’s matriculation. Nobody thinks he’s got Geovany’s potential on offense, but as a catch-and-throw type he has real potential. Could possibly be ready to be a backup as early as next year. Could also be trade bait, with Soto seemingly locked into the catcher position for a long time to come.

The Cubs also have a lot of fungible pieces when it comes to pitching in the minors – not really impact players but capable enough of slotting into middle/long relief roles out of the bullpen.

Scott Eyre designated for assignment

Scott Eyre has been designated for assignment, according to Bruce Miles.

Now what does this mean? Well, in order to be designated for assignment, a player has to clear waivers. So Eyre has cleared waivers.

And remember - the "Assignment" in "Designated for Assignment" is to a team's minor league system. The upshot is that Eyre is now off the 40-man roster (which I believe now stands at 38 players.)

Former Dodgers GM (and current Padres front office type) Paul Depodesta explains the waiver trading rules. Rob Neyer of ESPN has an indispensible transactions primer. Here's the gist:

  • The Cubs have seven days to trade Eyre, likely taking on salary to do so. The Yankees and the Red Sox were both interested at the deadline.
  • If at the end of seven days the Cubs haven't traded Eyre, they can either assign Eyre to a minor league team or give him his outright release. Eyre can refuse an optional assignment, so it would be up to him, basically.

(EDIT: I should probably add that Kerry Wood was brought up to take his place.)

Nonwaiver trade deadline talk

I've gone ahead and stickied this post, I think, so it should stay at the top of the page for the rest of the day. Live coverage of the nonwaiver trade deadline, courtesy of Goat Riders of the Apocalypse!

8:50 AM - There's still buzz about acquiring Raul Ibanez. Daily Herald beatwriter Bruce Miles says he'd mostly play off the bench, not become our starting right fielder. The Cubs are also reportedly looking at David DeJesus and Brian Giles, both of whom are entirely awesome and I wants, but I don't think we need them.

Also, the White Sox have traded for "CF" Ken Griffey Jr. I find this achingly hillarious. Right this moment, Ken Griffey Junior is probably the third-worst defensive outfielder in baseball. True story! The White Sox would have been better off trading for Adam Dunn and making him their center fielder. This is insane.

9:32 AM - The Cubs may be making a deal to shed a player, namely Scott Eyre.

12:40 PM - The Red Sox and Yankees have been inquiring on Eyre. It looks to me like the Cubs are trying to clear some room so that they can keep Samardzija on the big club when Wood gets off the DL. Wood (say it along with me, folks) threw a simulated game today, incidently.

1:10 PM - Bruce Miles says the Cubs turned down a Brian Giles deal. Milton Bradley's name has come up, albeit casually.

2:20 PM - The oft-rumored three-team Manny Ramirez deal seems to have fallen apart. Jason Bay leaves the division, as he'll be with the Rays. The Pirates pick up shortstop Reid Brignac and pitcher Jeff Niemann; they could be a team to look out for in a couple of years.

2:40 PM - The Cubs are no longer talking about Raul Ibanez. Meanwhile, Howry is getting fistbumps in the pen. Is it a trade? I feel little for even asking that question.

2:52 PM - Howry warming up in the pen. So... no trade.

3:05 PM - Or Bay to the Red Sox. I don't know anymore. Everything's quiet on the Cubs front, as far as I can tell; the Cubs have a really solid team right now, and seem likely to stand pat.

Trade deadline approaches; Cubs looking at Ibanez?

Jayson Stark:

The Cubs, meanwhile, are resisting attempts by Seattle to get Felix Pie and a second prospect for Ibanez. The Cubs almost certainly would be willing to offer a couple of prospects in the Sam Fuld stratum. But teams that have spoken with the Cubs say they've shown little sense of urgency to overpay to add a final piece or two of late.

Ken Rosenthal chimes in:

The team is not close to a deal, major-league sources say, and ultimately might settle for a bench player who would be an upgrade over Daryle Ward, or make no trade at all.

At the moment, the Cubs are set in the outfield with Alfonso Soriano in left, Jim Edmonds and Reed Johnson in center and Kosuke Fukudome in center and right, with center fielder Felix Pie hot at Class AAA.

The addition of Ibanez would force Fukudome to center full-time, leaving the Cubs with below-average defenders, Soriano and Ibanez, in left and right. It also would reduce the playing time of Edmonds and Johnson, both of whom have been productive.

Edmonds, however, remains a physical risk — he has not played since receiving a cortisone shot in his left knee on Sunday. Ibanez, 36, would protect the Cubs against injury, and perhaps even spell Soriano and first baseman Derrek Lee against certain right-handers.

Chris Deluca likes this idea:

Veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds was a nice pickup when he was plucked off the waiver wire in mid-May, but he looks to be running out of gas at a bad time. His sore left knee kept him out of the lineup again Tuesday. After a strong showing in June (.319, six home runs, 19 RBI), Edmonds has sputtered in July (.231, three homers, nine RBI).

If the Cubs are serious about loading up for what figures to be a grueling two-month final kick into the postseason, they would be better served to thank Edmonds for his contribution, part with some of their young talent and get lefty-swinging Raul Ibanez from the Seattle Mariners.

Ibanez, who has been on the Mets' radar, entered play Tuesday hitting .281 with 15 homers and 62 RBI -- numbers Edmonds no longer can match. Put him in right field and keep Kosuke Fukudome in center, where he played Tuesday.

Uh, please no. Let’s ignore – for one paragraph - the fact that Raul Ibanez is a one-man circus in the outfield, and not the fun kind with ponies but the really crappy kind where the carnies look like they wandered off the set of Freaks. Ladies and gentlemen, your Marcel projections!

Player G PA AB H 2B 3B HR BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
Jim Edmonds 56 205 180 44 9 1 8 24 39 .244 .334 .431 .766
Raul Ibanez 56 243 220 60 13 1 8 22 34 .274 .343 .455 .798
Daryle Ward 56 73 65 18 4 0 2 8 11 .270 .350 .438 .788
Mike Fontenot 56 134 120 33 8 1 4 13 20 .273 .351 .444 .795

And you can stop ignoring his defense now. Ibanez is currently trying to establish himself as Ryan Braun without the range in the outfield. (Make sure you scroll down to the links to the animated GIFs!) He’s currently about as desirable as a kick to the head. By, like, Robbie Gould. After you’d just tried to run him over with a car, so he’s really pissed at you as he’s kicking you in the head. And Brian Urlacher is placeholding you for him.

You want to move Dome to center and get some more left-handed power in the lineup? Move DeRosa into right field and make Fontenot the second baseman. Please, please no Raul Ibanez.

Harden a Cub - now official

670 The Score and ESPN 1000 are both reporting that Rich Harden may now be a Cub - Sean Gallagher and Matt Murton are the names I'm hearing right now. Updates as they happen.

UPDATE: Hendry presser live. Trade official. Murton, Gallagher, and Eric Patterson are definately involved. A "minor leaguer" is also involved.

UPDATE 2: Gallagher, Donaldson, Patterson and Murton go to As; Cubs get Harden and Chad Gaudin. I don't even know who Gaudin is yet. Josh Donaldson is a catcher in our minor league system and one of our best prospects.

UPDATE 3: Here's the Trib link. And here's Harden's stats; Gaudin's stats.

Harden's contract:

signed 4-year deal worth 9M thru 2008 season that superceded deal for 2005 season on 4/2/05- + he receives a 1M signing bonus and salaries of 500K in 2005, 1M in 2006, 2M in 2007, and 4.5M in 2008- + the deal includes a Team Option for 2009 worth 7M with no buyout- + the deal includes escalators based on IP that could increase the total value of the deal to 18M- + the option could vest by 2006 or 2007 if certain targets based on combinations of back-to-back 200 IP seasons and top 5 Cy Young Award finishes are reached

Rumors aplenty

Not surprisingly, the rumor mill has begun churning trade possibilities in a big way, as Jim Hendry is looking to retaliate to the Milwaukee trade of C.C. Sabathia. 

At the top of this list of rumors is Rich Harden and A.J. Burnett.  To go along with the pattern of Names-By-Initials (C.C., A.J.), Rich Harden shall now be known as J.R., short for his full name of James Richard.  

J.R. Harden would be a very interesting candidate.  He's 26, he has a career ERA of 3.42 (including 2.34 so far this year), and his career record is an impressive 36-19.  Oh, and he's playing for the A's, who are very much in the thick of a playoff race, plus he's a slightly healthier Mark Prior.  If Hendry is able to pull Harden away from the A's, it's going to cost the Cubs some prospects -probably Sean Gallagher and Matt Murton for starters, and there'd likely be a handful of others included as well.

If J.R. Harden compares less-than-favorably with Mark Prior, then A.J. Burnett is a similar guy to Kerry Wood.  He's an overpowering strikeout pitcher who wears the number 34, he's had arm problems in the past, and, oh, he's never won 15 or more games in his career.  He's also having a less-than-stellar season, even though he's pitching in the meanest division in baseball.  Burnett is 8-8 with a 4.92 ERA.  The Jays are reportedly looking for a few young prospects, including a shortstop.  I'm not sure what the general value of Ronny Cedeno is at this stage, but I'd assume he'd be locked into any trade package offered for Burnett.

I'm betting that, within a week of the All Star Game, the Cubs will have made an impact trade.  If Harden is healthy, he's the clear first choice, even though the Cubs would probably have to give up too much for him.  But in a year in which the Cubs are very likely to reach the playoffs, they could and should do everything possible to improve their chances of winning once they get there.  No prospect should be off the table.

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