Chicago Cubs Rumors

Chicago Cubs trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Stark On Rays, Zobrist, Utley, Cubs, Padres

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and while things figure to get exciting over the next month and change, not everyone is drooling over what might be available.  “To be honest, I don’t see much out there,” an official of one contender told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. “Who’s even selling? And what are they selling? I know there will be guys to trade for. But where’s the quality?”  The whole column is worth a read, but here are some of the highlights from Stark’s latest..

  • The Rays front office believed that they had the talent to win it all this year and that optimism could play into how they approach the deadline.  The Rays aren’t selling and Stark writes that if they believe what they have can power them to a championship next season, they might stand pat and keep the band together.  Teams that have spoken with Tampa Bay see a fire sale as unlikely.
  • The Rays might listen on Ben Zobrist, but one exec who has spoken with the club gets the sense that it would be “really, really difficult” for them to part with him.  The exception to all of this, of course, is David Price.
  • The Phillies are expected to be open for business between now and the deadline, but they might not like the offers that come in.  “Look at their trade chips,” said an NL executive. “Even if they blow it up, dangle [Cole] Hamels and dangle all these other guys, each one of those guys has some reason it will be hard for them to get back what they want.
  • Meanwhile, one exec flatly said a Chase Utley trade is “not happening.”  The sticker price might not be met on Phillies like Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jimmy Rollins, but teams see Domonic Brown as someone whom the Phillies would like to swap for a different young change-of-scenery candidate.
  • Teams that have spoken with the Cubs expect them to move pitcher Jason Hammel in the next two weeks.  That could just be the warm up for Jeff Samardzija, but they continue to tell teams that they’d like to hammer out a new contract with him.  This week we learned that the Cubs ace rejected a five-year, $85MM+ offer.
  • While some teams are beating around the bush, the Padres are aggressively letting teams know that they want to sell.  All of their outfielders, except Cameron Maybin, are available, and that includes Seth Smith, Chris Denorfia, and Will Venable.
  • Several teams report the Dodgers are telling them they’ll listen right now on every one of their outfielders except Yasiel Puig.
  • The Yankees have been asking almost exclusively about starting pitching in their preliminary conversations.
  • Teams that have talked with the Tigers say they’re focused on bullpen upgrades, not shortstop.
  • The Angels are in the bullpen market, but they’re looking hard at left-handed-relief options, not closers.
  • Things are murky around the D’Backs since no one really knows who is in charge their or what their goals are.
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore has indicated that the Royals can add payroll, but clubs believe that he won’t get to go-ahead to spend until mid-July.  When and if KC starts buying, they are expected to target right fielders and bullpen arms since that is what they’ve been asking about in conversations.

Samardzija Rejected New Extension Offer From Cubs

5:45pm: Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that Samardzija rejected a five-year offer that was worth slightly more than $85MM (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 4:48pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also hears that the Cubs have made a new five-year offer to Samardzjia, but he says the number is “definitely not in the vicinity” of Bailey’s $105MM guarantee and could be more in the $75-80MM range. Samardzija and his agents have not countered the offer, he adds.

Heyman notes that some Cubs people have spoken optimistically about trading Samardzija, only to sign him in a year and a half when he reaches the free agent market. Given Samardzija’s prioritization of winning, the Cubs would likely need to experience a drastic turnaround in 2015 to make that scenario plausible.

TUESDAY: Though most of the rumors surrounding Jeff Samardzija of late have understandably pertained to possible trade destinations, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Cubs are making a late push to extend their ace. Wittenmyer hears from multiple sources that the Cubs have offered Samardzija a new extension that would keep him in Chicago through 2019. While that contract length is the same as the previous five-year deals Chicago has offered, Wittenmyer says the new offer is for a higher guaranteed number than the previous $60-65MM figure that was proposed.

One source tells Wittenmyer that Samardzija would require something in the vicinity of the $17.5MM annual value that Homer Bailey received on his six-year, $105MM extension with the Reds. That deal, of course, essentially boiled down to a five-year, $95MM extension, as Bailey was already likely to earn about $10MM via arbitration in 2014.

Multiple sources also indicated to Wittenmyer that “at least” two teams, including the Blue Jays, have already had preliminary talks with the Cubs about Samardzija and exchanged potential names that could change hands. He adds that contenders that are looking for starting pitching this summer “still believe Samardzija is firmly on the market.”

A midseason extension for Samardzija certainly wouldn’t be unheard of; Cole Hamels was thought to be a trade candidate for a potentially rebuilding Phillies club in 2012, but Philadelphia instead inked him to a six-year, $144MM extension. Matt Cain signed a five-year extension that guaranteed him $112.5MM in new money shortly after the onset of the 2012 season, which could be a potential talking point in negotiations for Samardzija. That contract, however, was worked out entering Cain’s contract year, while Samardzija has one-and-a-half years of control remaining.

The Cubs are reportedly gauging the market value of Jason Hammel, Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta in addition to Samardzija — perhaps in an effort to assess what they can pull in via trade should they lock up their most valuable trade chip long-term rather than ship him elsewhere for what would surely be an impressive haul of prospects. Given Samardzija’s excellent season to date and the fact that he is controlled through 2015, it’s hard to envision the Cubs getting anything less than the package they received for two months of Matt Garza last summer. In my estimation, a team would have to top that package — C.J. Edwards, Mike Olt, Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez — in order to pry Samardzija away from Chicago.

In 91 innings this season, Samardzija has pitched to a 2.77 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 50.2 percent ground-ball rate. Both the walk rate and ground-ball rate would represent the best full-season marks of his career, should he maintain them. Sabermetric ERA estimators love Samardzija’s work even more than usual, as FIP pegs him at 2.95, xFIP at 3.27 and SIERA at 3.39.


NL Notes: Samardzija, Arroyo, Phillies, Marlins

The latest trade deadline news and rumors out of the National League …

  • Even as the team explores the possibility of an extension, the Cubs are still indicating to other clubs that top starter Jeff Samardzija is available, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. As Wittenmyer notes, Chicago engaged in “lukewarm final talks” with Matt Garza last year prior to dealing him away.
  • We heard last night that the Blue Jays were keeping a close eye on Samardzija. Further reports indicate that, unsurprisingly, they were not alone in watching his start last night. The Giants took a look, according to a tweet from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, as did the Royals, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Also present, albeit with unknown targets in their sights, were scouts for the AngelsIndians, and Reds, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
  • Diamondbacks starter Bronson Arroyo has a sprained UCL and is now on the DL for the first time in his career, reports Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (Twitter links). Though the current plan is for Arroyo to rest for about ten days, the injury certainly throws some uncertainty into his potential status as a trade candidate this summer. Arroyo’s calling cards, of course, are his remarkable durability and consistency. The injury suggests a potentially increased risk for a pitcher who is 37 years old, has 3,469 2/3 professional innings on his right arm, and is owed not only the rest of a $9.5MM salary for this year but also $14MM in future guarantees.
  • Phillies president David Montgomery says that he is confident in GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and his staff, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer“I just believe that group of people gave us the successful period we had,” Montgomery said. “They had different roles in it. I know people focus on Ruben’s role having changed vis-a-vis 2009 vs. 2008. … [Y]ou have to look at the whole body of work. Have we been served well? My answer to that is yes.” Regarding the team’s operating strategy, he said that it will continue to “pay attention to both today and tomorrow, and to do what’s right in both cases.”
  • While it remains unclear whether the Phillies would be willing to deal either or both of their veteran middle infielders (Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins), or if the players would in turn be amenable to waiving their no-trade protection, it is also worth considering what kind of value they might bring back. “I don’t know if some of those guys will get you enough in return to warrant making the trade,” an American League executive told the Inquirer’s Bob Brookover. The unnamed exec did indicate that some teams may be willing to look past the negative clubhouse reputation of closer Jonathan Papelbon, whose strong performance to date could make it possible for the Phils to offload him and save some future cash.
  • The Marlins are open to dealing for rotation help, but will first explore internal solutions, reports Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Miami just promoted youngsters Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani. If the club does ultimately consider dealing away close-to-the-bigs talent in exchange for an established starter, Frisaro says that it would likely aim for a player that it can control beyond the season. He floats the possibility that the Fish could dangle infield prospect Derek Dietrich, who offers intriguing left-handed power.


AL Notes: Durrett, Rios, Moreland, Jackson, Kubel, Jays

ESPN Dallas writer and reporter Richard Durrett, whose work was often referenced in MLBTR’s pages, passed away suddenly today. In one of his final pieces, Durrett wrote an excellent assessment of Alex Rios and his value to the Rangers as a trade candidate or member of next year’s club. As we commend his work one last time, MLBTR offers its deepest condolences to Durrett’s young family, friends, and colleagues in the press box.

Here is the latest news out of the American League:

  • Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland is “leaning toward” season-ending ankle surgery, GM Jon Daniels tells Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. Moreland had struggled thus far in 2014, but his absence will still tell for a Texas club that has had more than its fair share of injuries. As Fraley notes, the 28-year-old could be a non-tender candidate.
  • The Mariners are in position to begin full-on negotiations with first-round (sixth overall) selection Alex Jackson, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. As Dutton explains, both sides have strong incentives to get a deal done. Jackson’s spot in the draft comes with a $3,575,900 slot allocation, but at present Seattle can dedicate as much as $3,882,900 to the high schooler before incurring penalties, Dutton notes.
  • Despite their obvious need for outfield help, the Red Sox appear to have little interest in the recently-released Jason Kubel, reports Sean McAdam of Comcast SportsNet New England (via Twitter). Kubel, 32, scuffled to a .224/.313/.295 line in 176 plate appearances in his return to the Twins.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos took on a range of topics in a press appearance today, and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a transcript. Addressing the team’s still-unsigned first-round choices (injured righty Jeff Hoffman and catcher Max Pentecost), Anthopoulos said that he “feel[s] very confident that [deals] will get done.”
  • Turning to the upcoming trade deadline, Anthopoulos said that talks are still in a preliminary stage, with teams “calling to see what everyone’s needs are.” Strongly implying that Toronto expects to be a buyer, as one would expect, Anthopoulos continued: “I think the stage that everyone is at is, where do we have fits, what teams do we line up with and then the next step is, teams are out seeing our affiliates, or are going to see our affiliates.”
  • Toronto is not necessarily just focused on adding a starter, Anthopoulos said. “[W]e’ve talked about every spot,” he said. “I was just on the phone with someone that, if they have a player available [and] we have a good player at that spot but that player’s an upgrade, we’d look to do it.” At this point, said the GM, “we’re just basically canvassing the clubs to see who’s available. In some of the conversations, players we didn’t think were available are, and we’ll see where the dialogue goes.”
  • All that being said, the Blue Jays still seem likely to pursue rotation help. Indeed, the club sent a scout to watch Cubs‘ righties Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija in their most recent starts, reports Bob Elliott of the Canadian Baseball Network. On the other side of the coin, scouts from the Cubs and Rays were present to watch last Thursday’s outing for Jays’ minor league lefty Daniel Norris, along with the rest of the Class-A Dunedin squad.

Central Notes: Verlander, Tigers, Cubs, Morris, Pinto, Marmol

Justin Verlander‘s recent struggles are “a giant concern” for the Tigers, writes James Schmel of MLive.com, because Verlander himself admits that he isn’t sure how to fix them. Verlander told reporters that he doesn’t feel he’s at the point in his career where he needs to reinvent himself on the mound, though he acknowledged that he doesn’t have the same velocity he used to have and said he didn’t blame the fans for booing him last night as he left the game. Verlander yielded seven runs on 12 hits last night and has posted a 7.83 ERA with a woeful 26-to-20 K/BB ratio over his last 43 2/3 innings (seven starts). He is averaging a career-worst (though still solid) 92.6 mph on his fastball.

Here’s more on the Tigers and the baseball’s Central divisions…

  • Jon Morosi of FOX Sports hears that the Tigers aren’t planning on making a move to upgrade at shortstop, as they like what they’ve seen from rookie Eugenio Suarez since his promotion to the Majors (Twitter link). It’s tough not to like what they’ve seen from the 22-year-old Suarez, who is hitting .346/.452/.808 with three homers through his first 10 games. Clearly, he’s due for some regression, but the optimism is understandable.
  • An AL scout tells David Kaplan of CSN Chicago that he’s spoken to the Cubs about both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but he hasn’t gotten any indication from Chicago that any of their other starters are available (Twitter link). That contrasts recent reports that the team would be willing to listen to offers on Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta. Given Jackson’s remaining salary, it seems hard to believe that Chicago wouldn’t be open to moving him.
  • The Pirates weren’t looking to trade right-hander Bryan Morris before trading him to the Marlins, GM Neal Huntington tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, Miami expressed interest in the deal after being attracted to an increase in Morris’ velocity and the addition of a two-seam/sinking fastball to his repertoire, and the two sides were able to strike a deal. Pittsburgh received Miami’s Competitive Balance Round A pick (No. 39 overall), used to draft (and sign) Connor Joe, while Miami has been rewarded to this point with 9 1/3 innings of scoreless relief from Morris, who has shown greatly improved command.
  • Twins closer Glen Perkins offered some candid comments regarding catcher Josmil Pinto on 1500 ESPN Radio with Phil Mackey and Judd Zulgad (via Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). While he was highly complimentary of Pinto’s offensive skills, the left-hander was blunt in his description of Pinto’s defense: “He’s a long, long ways away, to be honest with you. …his pitch framing, he’s got some work to do.” Perkins flatly he said Pinto is “surely not at the big-league level as far as catching for me.” Perkins went on to preach the importance of framing and praise veterans Jonathan Lucroy and Jose Molina for their prowess at the skill. Minnesota recently sent Pinto to the minors to get more consistent at-bats and consistent time behind the plate. He’s spent much of the season DHing while Kurt Suzuki, whose offensive contributions have been somewhat surprising, has done the bulk of the catching.
  • After leaving the Reds organization to take a “mental break,” the representative of reliever Carlos Marmol says that the righty may not look to return this season, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Agent Paul Kinzer told Heyman that Marmol decided to return to the Dominican Republic to deal with unspecified personal issues, and has had no physical problems.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Cubs To Sign Carson Sands, Justin Steele

The Cubs have agreed to sign fourth-round pick Carson Sands to a well-above-slot $1.1MM bonus, reports John Manuel of Baseball America (via Twitter). He was taken with the 109th overall pick, which came with a $480.6K slot allocation.

Chicago has also added fifth-rounder Justin Steele – also a high school lefty — on a $1MM bonus, tweets Jim Callis of MLB.com. His 139th overall draft slot came with a $359.9K allocation.

Baseball America and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis both listed Sands as the 53rd-best talent available. The lefthander, who had been committed to Florida State, reportedly has boosted his fastball into the low-to-mid 90s and has decent secondary offerings that he can command.

ESPN.com’s Keith Law was somewhat less bullish on Sands, ranking Sands at 85th on his own top-100 list. But he had Steele higher than the other two observers just noted, placing him at 99th. Steele had been destined to play college ball for UCLA.

The extra cash needed to lock up Sands and Steele takes a big bite out of the approximately $1.5MM that the club saved by getting fourth-overall choice Kyle Schwarber to sign for less than his slot allocation. Sixth-rounder Dylan Cease has, like the two players just inked, been noted as a tough-sign prospect who will likely go above slot.


Cubs Gauging Market On Samardzija, Hammel, Arrieta, Jackson

JUNE 16: In addition to discussing Samardzija and Hammel trades, the Cubs are at least willing to consider the possibility of moving additional arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Morosi hears Chicago is trying to gauge the market on Samardzija, Hammel, Edwin Jackson and even Jake Arrieta.

It’s not surprising that they’d be willing to move Jackson, as they undoubtedly would be pleased to shed some of his salary obligations — he is owed roughly $28.3MM through 2016 — but Arrieta is somewhat of a surprise. Chicago acquired him in last year’s Scott Feldman trade, and he’s off to an outstanding start in 2014, having pitched to a 2.09 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 52.1 percent ground-ball rate in 43 innings. Still just 28 years old, Arrieta is not yet arbitration eligible and is under team control through 2017, so it stands to reason that the asking price would be high.

Listening on Arrieta is a bit puzzling, as one would think he’s the type of arm the Cubs would like to build their rotation around, but he’s also battled injuries and has never been able to consistently succeed in the Majors, despite having the talent to do so. As Morosi notes, the Cubs aren’t planning to trade all four starters, but rather is doing its due diligence to know the market value of each starter heading into trade season.

JUNE 14: The Cubs are already discussing trades involving starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel with at least two teams, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Interested teams include the Braves, Blue Jays and Mariners, and Wittenmyer cites one source from within baseball who tells him Hammel is likely to wind up with Seattle.

With about six weeks left to go before the trade deadline, the Cubs are 27-38, 11 1/2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. It is, of course, not necessarily surprising that the Cubs would consider trading two veteran pitchers who are having good seasons. Samardzija, who is eligible for free agency following the 2015 season, currently has a 2.77 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 91 innings. Hammel, who’s signed to a one-year deal for $6MM, is in the midst of the best season of his career, with a 2.81 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


AL East Notes: Norris, Rays, Markakis, Wieters

Notable talent evaluators from the Rays and Cubs were recently on hand to watch Blue Jays prospect Daniel Norris throw five scoreless innings in a high-A ball start, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports.  Norris, 21, was a second round draft pick for the Jays in 2011 and was ranked as the franchise’s sixth-best prospect by the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook.  The southpaw has a 1.22 ERA, 4.22 K/BB rate and 10.3 K/9 in 13 starts this season, and Elliott wonders if Norris or outfielder Dalton Pompey could be targeted by the Rays or Cubs as part of a trade package for David Price or Jeff Samardzija this summer.  Both Elliott and two scouts feel the Jays (who are known to be looking for a pitching upgrade) need a power arm to be legitimate postseason contenders.

Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • Also from Elliott, he hears that the Cubs are asking for four players in return for Samardzjia.  The Blue Jays had two evaluators present for Samardzija’s start against the Marlins on June 7th.
  • The Rays are “looking like the strong favorites” to sign 15-year-old Dominican shortstop Adrian Rondon, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports, though Rondon cannot sign until he turns 16 on July 7.  Rondon, who is 6’2″ and 180 pounds, is expected to sign for around a $3MM bonus.  Several scouts consider Rondon to be the best prospect available on the international market, with one scout even telling Badler that Rondon’s upside could make him “a Hanley Ramirez-type of offensive shortstop.”
  • Nick Markakiswants to play here for the rest of his life,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters (including MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko).  The O’s have a $17.5MM club option on Markakis for 2015 that will very likely be bought out for $2MM, though Markakis’ strong play this season is putting him in good shape for a new multiyear contract.
  • The Orioles expect Dr. James Andrews to recommend that Matt Wieters‘ right elbow will require Tommy John surgery when the catcher is examined later today, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports.  Losing Wieters would obviously be a major blow to the O’s this season, and it would further complicate any plans they might have to sign Wieters to a contract extension (Wieters is under control through 2015).
  • Two-thirds of the Red Sox roster could be trade candidates if the team decides to rebuild for 2015, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes.  Abraham’s list includes several relievers (including Koji Uehara), A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross, Stephen Drew, Jake Peavy and Jonny Gomes.  While you could make a case for the likes of Jon Lester, Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks or Clay Buchholz to be dealt as well, Abraham feels these players are much longer shots to be traded.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington needs to make a move for a quality outfield bat before the season is lost, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines.

NL Notes: Marlins, Polanco, Bryant

The Marlins‘ offensive improvement from 2013 to 2014 has been enormous, as Dave Cameron of Fangraphs points out in a piece for FOX Sports. They’ve gotten help from newcomers Casey McGehee, Garrett Jones and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. But the Marlins’ offensive resurgence has truly been a team effort — they’ve also gotten a big bounce-back season from Giancarlo Stanton, plus solid contributions from Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich (who’s now headed to the DL with a back injury) and Derek Dietrich. Their offense is the main reason they’re still above .500 despite the loss of Jose Fernandez to elbow trouble. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • Top prospect Gregory Polanco just keeps hitting for the Pirates, with 12 hits in his first six games. SportsCenter points out (via Twitter) that Polanco is the first Pirate to have hits in each of his first six games since Roberto Clemente in 1955. The Pirates promoted Polanco on Tuesday, possibly delaying his arrival until after the likely Super Two threshold. Polanco had one hit in each of his first three games, then had five, including a decisive two-run homer, in the Pirates’ 13-inning game in Miami Friday.
  • Kris Bryant has dominated so far this season at Double-A Tennessee, but the Cubs want to keep his performance so far in perspective, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. “I think we try to keep in context that a year ago at this time he wasn’t even a signed player yet. We had just drafted him,” says Cubs executive Jason McLeod. “He has had two very good months at Double A, but still, only two months. … Obviously he has been really, really good and forcing us to take notice of his performance.” Bryant, the second overall pick in last year’s draft, has hit .357/.460/.709 in 291 plate appearances at Double-A.

Cafardo On Lee, Papelbon, Giants, Hammel, Black

In his Sunday Baseball Notes column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reminisces about a pitchers’ duel between the Red Sox’s Luis Tiant and the Angels’ Nolan Ryan 40 years ago, the likes of which we may never see again in today’s game. Tiant threw 195 pitches and was still on the hill when the Angels scored the game-winner with one out in the bottom of the 15th inning. Ryan, meanwhile, tossed 235 pitches in a meager 13 innings of work. “When you took the baseball, you wanted to finish what you started,” Tiant told Cafardo. “I didn’t even feel tired. I could have gone as long as I had to go. They beat me on a ground ball that went through the second baseman’s legs. It was the 15th inning and I was OK.” The last pitcher to pitch more than nine innings in a MLB game was Cliff Lee, who lasted ten innings in April 2012.

Here’s more from Cafardo’s column:

  • Speaking of Lee, the Phillies left-hander will likely have to be a post-waiver deadline deal since he won’t have enough time between now and July 31st to rehab his strained elbow. Lee should be able to clear waivers because he has two years left on his deal at $25MM each.
  • Jonathan Papelbon is pitching a lot better and there’s an expectation he could be one of the first Phillies to go once they decide to sell. One AL scout who has watched Papelbon’s outings said, “I’ll give him credit. I think he’s learning to pitch with what he’s got left. He’s not 96-98 [miles per hour], but he’s getting back up to 92-93 and making a lot of good adjustments.” Cafardo wonders if he could be a future member of the Tigers or Orioles.
  • When Marco Scutaro returns from his back injury, he will likely become the Giants‘ utilityman and GM Brian Sabean is trying to add a second baseman by the trading deadline. Chase Utley would be a great fit, but Cafardo wonders if the Phillies will actually deal him, whether the veteran would waive his ten-and-five rights, and whether the Giants would give up the necessary bounty to acquire him.  Ultimately, SF could set its sights lower.
  • Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel is having a good season, but the scouting community is mixed on what impact he’d have on a contending team.  Some question whether he can keep up this pace or whether he’ll be more of a back-of-the-rotation starter. Even positive comments Cafardo has heard have been tagged with the caveat you wouldn’t give up the farm for him.
  • Despite the harsh assessment of the Padres‘ season by club CEO Mike Dee recently, Cafardo finds it hard to imagine Bud Black losing his job and opines firing him would be a mistake because he is seen as one of the game’s best managers in the eyes of a lot of baseball executives.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.