It's no secret that the new regime in Chicago will need time to turn the Cubs around, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the changes to the draft rules will hamper their progress even further. Both the amateur draft and free-agent market are more difficult for high-revenue teams to exploit, giving Epstein a significant speed bump to deal with. In Boston, Epstein went over-slot to draft core pieces such as Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, and other assets used to trade for Adrian Gonzalez, Jason Bay, and Victor Martinez.
In the short-term, the Cubs need to get as much as possible out of Jeff Samardzija, Anthony Rizzo, and Brett Jackson. For the long-term, they can consider trading Matt Garza for prospects or, go in the other direction and sign the right-hander to an extension. Here's more from Rosenthal..
- If the Brewers wind up falling out of contention, Milwaukee could be an interesting seller at the trade deadline. Potential free agent right-handers Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, and reliever Francisco Rodriguez would all be in high demand if the Crew isn't in contention in late July. The club will have to restock their farm system at some point as they rank near the bottom in MLB.
- Rosenthal opines that the Angels shouldn't hesitate to sign shortstop Erick Aybar to an extension. Many believe that the Halos could let him go and turn to prospect Jean Segura, but the youngster is playing above Class-A for the first time this season and has struggled with injuries in the past. The Angels signed Howie Kendrick to a four-year, $33.5MM extension earlier this offseason.
- A scout following the Padres saw them often in spring training and raves about the team’s future. San Diego is unlikely to sign major free agents but eventually could swing a Mat Latos trade in reverse, using prospects to acquire young impact players. Edinson Volquez, who is earning just $2.2375MM, could have immediate value at this year's trade deadline.