Donald Veal Rumors

Orioles Eyeing Cubs’ Marshall?

The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says the Cubs offered the Orioles Ronny Cedeno, Sean Gallagher, Donald Veal, and possibly Jose Ceda for Brian Roberts earlier this spring.  As you know, there are differing schools of thought on whether the Cubs took the initiative and made an offer.  And Ceda’s inclusion is questionable.

Regardless, one player Baltimore may have in mind is pitcher Sean Marshall. The Cubs do not have room for the lefty in the rotation or the bullpen – always a situation conducive to trade rumors – and the Orioles had scouts in the stands yesterday, during Marshall’s start against the Rockies.

Marshall said he doesn’t pay any attention to those guys, however. "They’re there every day."

Sarah Green writes for the Boston Metro and She can be reached here.

Cubs Did Not Offer Ceda

FRIDAY, 7:42pm: I have it on good authority that Ceda has not, in fact, been added to any kind of offer to Baltimore.  With minor league games having begun today, the O’s are still doing their due diligence.   Dave van Dyck’s sources agree that no deal is imminent.

FRIDAY, 7:13am: We’ve actually got some movement this morning on the Brian Roberts front.  According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs have added hard-throwing 21 year-old reliever Jose Ceda to their offer.  They’d also send Sean Gallagher, Ronny Cedeno, and Donald Veal to Baltimore.  The Cubs had been holding out on Ceda, a nasty relief prospect.  With him included, they’d be sending their three best pitching prospects (according to Baseball America) in the 4-for-1 deal.

Wittenmyer also notes that the deal could be expanded to a 5-for-2 with cash if Jason Marquis and Jay Payton are included.  He believes a deal will get done before Opening Day, but it may go down to the wire.

No Recent Brian Roberts Talks’s Jon Heyman wrote on Monday that the Cubs and Orioles had resumed talks for Brian Roberts.  However, Cubs GM Jim Hendry came out on Wednesday and said he hadn’t had any trade talks for five or six days.  Tonight, the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec chimes in, confirming Hendry’s statement of inactivity.

Zrebiec was able to confirm from two sources that the Cubs offered Ronny Cedeno, Sean Gallagher, Donald Veal, and another unknown player for Roberts.  The teams can’t agree on the fourth player, and the O’s may want a fifth too.  The Orioles are said to like top Cubs’ prospects like Jose Ceda, Felix Pie, and Tyler Colvin.  Andy MacPhail is clearly demanding a high price for two years of his second baseman.  Zrebiec also confirms that the Cubs and Orioles have talked about a scenario where outspoken veterans Jason Marquis and Jay Payton are in the deal. 

For now, it appears that the Cubs will open the season without Roberts. I’m of the opinion the Cubs would be better off going with Mark DeRosa and Cedeno as their doubleplay combo over Roberts and Ryan Theriot.

Brian Roberts Rumors

Jeff Zrebiec and Roch Kubatko of the Baltimore Sun are on top of the Brian Roberts rumors.  Let’s discuss.

The Cubs had two scouts watching Roberts play yesterday, so this thing is still alive and kicking.  The Sun gets the impression that the Mark DeRosa heart surgery does add some urgency for the Cubs.  Perhaps this means they’ll concede a little bit extra on their offer.

The authors reiterate Ronny Cedeno and Sean Gallagher as part of the deal.  They say the O’s might want Jose Ceda or Donald Veal as the third player, and could ask for a fourth as well.  It’s been said that the Cubs are unwilling to part with Ceda.  We’re probably a few weeks from completion but a deal seems plenty possible.

Odds and Ends: Spiezio, Pavano, Gross, Jackson

Links, rumors…

Cubs Aggressively Pursuing Brian Roberts

UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 10:58pm: The Baltimore Sun guys have more.  The Cubs have a significant offer on the table, and it may include Gallagher and Matt Murton (but not Hill or Pie).  The Cubs will have to do better than just Gallagher and Murton, I imagine.  According to Jayson Stark, the Cubs would have to be blown away to trade Hill or Pie.

UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 10:03pm: ESPN Radio 1000′s Bruce Levine checks in to add that Ronny Cedeno would likely be involved in a Roberts deal.

UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 9:39pm: ESPN’s Amy Nelson says Hill is not part of the Roberts talks.  Marshall, Gallagher, Felix Pie, and Donald Veal may be in the mix though.

UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 8:17pm: ESPN’s Steve Phillips says the Orioles "would get Rich Hill and Sean Marshall" for Roberts.  Not sure if that means the Cubs offered it.  Seems like a lot, but I am an unabashed Rich Hill fan.

FROM 12-5-07 at 5:31pm:

Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun are reporting that the Cubs are aggressively pursuing the Orioles’ Brian Roberts.

A three player deal is on the table, so I assume the Cubs would send two players over.  It’s known that they’d send a starting pitcher, but we don’t have names yet.  The authors note that the Orioles have been fond of Rich Hill and Sean Gallagher in the past.  Keep in mind that a trade of Roberts would require Peter Angelos’ approval.  Per Zrebiec, Angelos would have to be "totally overwhelmed" with an offer.

The authors also note that the Orioles have talked to Tadahito Iguchi‘s agent in anticipation of a possible Roberts trade.  The Padres and Dodgers would join the Orioles as his top three choices.

Long Shot: Willis Back To Cubs?

Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus has an interesting note in today’s Rumor Mill:

"The Cubs also still covet Dontrelle Willis as "the one that got away" and–despite his not being on the market–Willis is one player the Cubs could get if Larry Beinfest suddenly changes his mind about that. Adding Felix Pie to Jacque Jones and Donald Veal would get it done, while not adding to the Cubs payroll."

Jim Hendry already tried to patch up one of the all-time classic Cub mistakes by signing Greg Maddux before the 2004 season.  At least that departure didn’t happen under Hendry’s watch. 

Back in March of 2002, Hendry traded Ryan Jorgensen, Jose Cueto, Julian Tavarez, and Willis to the Marlins for Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca.  Where are they now?

  • Jorgensen, a catcher, had a four-game cup of coffee for the Fish in ’05, and now toils for the Reds’ Triple A team.
  • Cueto, a pitcher, never made it past Double A and finished off his career back in the Cubs’ system in ’04.
  • Tavarez started 27 games for the 2002 Marlins, but his performance was worth only 0.4 wins.  He left via free agency after the season to sign with the Pirates.  Now he’s with Boston, of course.
  • Clement provided a ton of value to the Cubs during 2002-04; he was worth about 17 wins over those three years according to Baseball Prospectus.  He was worth 4.8 wins in 2003, but Willis was worth 5.8 in fewer innings.  Getting Clement made this a respectable deal for Hendry, though in hindsight he would’ve rather just kept Willis.  Clement signed a three-year deal with B Boston and succumbed to shoulder woes in Year 2 of the pact.  He hopes to help Boston as a reliever in September, which should be interesting.
  • Alfonseca was OK as the Cubs’ closer in ’02, saving 19 games.  He was not helpful in ’03, and the Cubs let him go.  Now he’s in the Phillies’ pen.

Back to the present day rumor.  Jones, while hitting better of late, probably would not be missed by the Cubs.  He’s still only slugging .382 in July.  Veal was the Cubs’ best pitching prospect heading into the season but has taken a step backward in Double A.  Veal has been control problems, though his arm has been described as "electric."  Lefty starters who can touch 95 can be hard to find.

Pie, though, would be the gem of the deal and the player with the best shot at stardom.  Literally – BP gives him a 30-40% chance at becoming a star player.  He struggled mightily in his first 139 ABs with the Cubs, but he now owns Triple A pitching.  He should be the Cubs’ starting center fielder for the next six years at least. Trading him for the declining Willis would create another "one that got away" situation, which seems perfectly Cub-like.  Most likely nothing happens in the next two days, but we might revisit this rumor this winter.