Jacque Jones Rumors
According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday, the Cubs are trying to trade another position player by Monday so they can add a 12th pitcher.
That position player probably is our good friend Jacque Jones. Wittenmyer named the Padres, Rangers, and White Sox as interested parties. Bruce Miles adds the Mets to the mix. The Cubs would have to eat some of the $7.2MM or so remaining on Jones' contract, which runs through 2008. Another option would be to move shortstop Cesar Izturis, who has about $2.6MM left on his deal (assuming his '08 option is bought out).
Buster Olney yesterday mentioned that the Cubs were one of the teams in one Milton Bradley, in addition to the Yankees and Padres. Bradley is still fair game, and the Cubs may be looking to replace Jones with him.
This is unexpected. Apparently the Texas Rangers have discussed a for right fielder Jacque Jones with the Cubs.
Jones makes $4MM this year and $5MM in '08, so at first glance it's perplexing that a team like Texas would want him. There are two scenarios I can see. Maybe the Rangers are working on a larger deal and Jones helps fill some other club's need. Or, maybe the Rangers like Jones at $5MM for 2008 and think he could be a useful part of next year's club. Regardless, I don't expect Jim Hendry to get much in return for Jones. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times mentions that the Cubs are in talks with several other teams about Jones as well.
Wittenmyer also mentions that the Cubs would like to acquire a middle-of-the-order left-handed hitter. He specifically names Ken Griffey Jr., who surfaced in a rumor a few days ago. Wittenmyer mentions that Griffey is owed $6.5MM in 2007 and 2008 with a team option for 2009. That's not exactly true, as Griffey actually makes $12.5MM but with a lot deferred. According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, that makes the present day value of the contract something like $9-10MM. And don't forget the $4MM buyout for '09 and possible compensation for waiving the no-trade clause. According to Wittenmeyer, Griffey has told friends he'd welcome a move to Chicago.
On my first draft of this post, I had a hard time identifying other lefty sluggers the Cubs could acquire. Somehow I missed the obvious one, which is Adam Dunn. Such an acquisition would require creativity, such as moving Alfonso Soriano to right field. But Dunn is definitely someone the Cubs should consider if in need of a lefty slugger.
There's a Cubs-Reds rumor making the rounds, reportedly one that originated on The Score here in Chicago. Obviously I can't catch all the radio rumors myself, so I rely on listeners to pass these along. Since these rumors often spread like a game of telephone, consider this one dubious until confirmed.
The rumor hitting my inbox repeatedly: the Cubs could send Sean Marshall and Jacque Jones to the Reds for Ken Griffey Jr. Keep in mind, this one isn't even confirmed as a legitimate rumor.
Whether or not this rumor has any legitimacy, let's discuss. In Marshall I see a strong left-handed starter under the team's control through 2011. He's improved his repertoire and should be a cog in the Cubs' rotation for years. In other words, very valuable.
Griffey is in the midst of another resurgence, but is at significant risk of injury at any given moment. There's a chance playing right field reduces that, but I wouldn't bank on it. Griffey makes $12.5MM annually through 2008, plus he'll be owed a $4MM buyout for 2009. When I began writing this I thought Junior's contract was a lot worse. It's really not terrible and would be somewhat offset by Jacque Jones. I can see Griffey approving a trade to Chicago, though he could ask for his contract to be guaranteed through '09.
I can see how one could consider this trade fair. I wouldn't trade Marshall for the risk of Griffey, but it doesn't sound absurd. I still don't see it happening - why would the Cubs take a hit in the rotation to add more offense? The Cubs have a strong rotation and will need Marshall over the next several seasons. It seems more logical for the Cubs to add a reliever.
Meanwhile, CubDumb reports that the Cubs are actively shopping Michael Barrett right now. While this might aid the pitching staff, it would likely weaken the offense.
Jacque Jones has become something of a punchline for the commenters on this site. Cubs fans, who frequent MLBTR disproportionately, think he is worth something decent. Everyone else does not. Even as a Cubs fan I have to side with everyone else.
Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times writes today:
"The New York Mets are in the market for outfield help at a time when the Cubs are expected to renew their efforts to trade Jacque Jones."
An update on the Mets' situation: Shawn Green comes off the DL from a chip fracture in his foot today. Endy Chavez should miss a month with a hamstring strain. Moises Alou had fluid drained from his strained quad on Monday, and said at the time he wasn't close to playing. Carlos Beltran at least seems recovered from his bruised knee.
Given that Omar Minaya acquired Green last year, it's not impossible to envision him snagging Jones on the cheap, hoping for a revival. Jones still wouldn't get regular playing time a few weeks from now if both Green and Alou are healthy, however. Jones makes $4MM this year and $5MM in '08, and one would assume the Cubs would eat some of that to move him for a warm body. Even a lukewarm body.
To my knowledge, Jim Hendry has only made one trade with Minaya. That was Hendry's December 2003 acquisition of Jose Macias when Minaya was GM of the Expos. Theo Epstein and Dave Littlefield are Hendry's favorite trading partners.
- A little elaboration on the Adam Dunn to San Diego idea - Rosenthal throws Clay Hensley's name into the mix. Hensley has had a rough couple of months, with a nasty blister, a groin strain, and some awful starts. His 54% groundball rate would be a nice fit in Chicago or Cincinnati. Another player I could see catching Wayne Krivsky's eye is Cla Meredith.
- The Cubs continue to shop Jacque Jones, hoping to slide Felix Pie in every day. Pie is ready for the show, but the Cubs would like something to show for Jones. He is earning $4MM this year and $5MM in '08. It looked like a bargain after Jones hit .285/.334/.499 last year, but he's tanked in the Cubs' crowded outfield. He could fit well with the Padres, a team that doesn't hit lefties or righties. Jones normally just struggles with lefties. Jacque was born in San Diego, too. Kevin Towers and Jim Hendry matched up for a couple of smaller deals last summer with Todd Walker and Scott Williamson.
- Mike Lowell may leave Boston after this season as a free agent. He's easily the best affordable 3B on the market. Perhaps the Yankees want him back. Other possibilities include the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Phillies, and Astros according to Rosenthal. Hard to believe Lowell is so popular and successful after he was a throw-in forced upon the Red Sox in the Josh Beckett deal.
- Eric Byrnes is probably headed out of Arizona, and he'd be a valuable center field addition who won't break the bank. He'll be 32 in '08, and on a reasonable three-year deal could be a better value than Ichiro, Torii, or Andruw. Wouldn't be surprised to see the White Sox get involved.
Last year, Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins was the second-best hitter at his position, behind only Miguel Cabrera. Atkins isn't set to reach free agency until 2011, making him a very valuable commodity. The Rockies had talks with him this offseason about a deal covering his arbitration years and first year of free agency, but no agreement could be reached.
Now, both the Denver Post and L.A. Times are reporting that the Angels are interested in trading for Atkins. Troy E. Renck of the Post says Atkins's name first came up during the Winter Meetings when the two clubs were discussing a Todd Helton deal. Renck writes that Ervin Santana would be a must in any trade and that the Angels also have interest in Brad Hawpe and Jeff Baker. He also says Atkins is still considered a core member of the team, so a deal is unlikely. I wonder if Bill Stoneman is trying to take advantage of a subpar start for Atkins - his defense hasn't been pretty and his power has been MIA.
From the L.A. side, Mike DiGiovanna adds several players on the Halos' radar: Kevin Mench, Jacque Jones, Pat Burrell, Emil Brown, Morgan Ensberg, and Edwin Encarnacion. DiGiovanna agrees that Santana is the top trading chip. Santana could really blossom in the National League. With Freddy Garcia and Adam Eaton struggling and Brett Myers in the pen, the Phillies probably have the strongest need. Starters Joe Saunders and Dustin Moseley could be used if the Angels want to make a smaller deal.
As long as the Angels are making an all-out blitz for a third baseman, let's speculate on some other possibilities. Mike Lowell, Chad Tracy, Hank Blalock have all been rumored in the past; the Rangers clearly have the biggest need for a starter. Santana, however, could be Brandon McCarthy all over again with his flyball tendencies.
I know MLBTR can be a little Cub-centric at times, but hey, whatcha gonna do.
Nate Silver at Baseball Prospectus has an interesting Unfiltered post up today, outlining all sorts reasonable of trade scenarios the Cubs could pursue to clear up their outfield logjam.
Possible bounties for Jacque Jones, in Silver's opinion: Mike MacDougal, Jon Lieber, or Erick Aybar. I think any of those trades would improve the Cubs this year. In particular, Lieber makes a fine fit. He once won 20 games for the Cubs, but would only need a 4.50ish ERA to be one of the game's best fifth starters. I like the idea of giving Angel Guzman a shot at the job, but you can never have too much starting pitching depth.
Jones is owed $9MM for 2007-08, and could play center field in a pinch. I wonder if the Marlins would add him to their top-ranked offense? They could send Jorge Julio to balance salaries and a good prospect to make it worth the Cubs' while. For some reason, Julio in a Cubs uniform seems all too fitting.
Respected Cubs beat writer Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald writes that a Jacque Jones trade is within the realm of possibility. However, Miles does not think a Jones trade makes sense.
Miles points to the reasonable $9MM due to Jones over the next two seasons. He mentions how Jones's left-handed bat and defense are needed. Plus, his .284/.334/.499 performance last year was solid (the average NL RF hit .268/.345/.453).
These are all good points. In my opinion, the Cubs should certainly listen to offers but only if they help the team. I know the Cubs don't want to upset the $136MM man, but he should be moved to right if Jones is dealt. Felix Pie's defense would go a long way, and he can develop his bat with low pressure at the bottom of the order. That alignment would make the Cubs a better team compared to the current plan. I wrote that the Jones signing was a mistake at the time, and he proved me wrong for one season. Why not sell high?
But who cares what I think? Vote here on whether the Cubs should trade Jones.
The Cubs have certainly been looking to trade right fielder Jacque Jones all offseason. It's not a matter of performance or salary - Jones played a respectable right field last year for a mere $3MM. He's due $9MM for 2007-08.
But as Chris De Luca reports, Jones hasn't been comfortable in Chicago since the beginning of last season. His source indicated that both parties feel a trade would be best. However, De Luca makes a good point in that the Cubs need Jones right now. Why trade him and then sign Steve Finley or someone to bridge the gap until Felix Pie is ready? The Cubs should just keep Jones and use him in center. He hasn't played more than 10 games in CF since 2000, but it's worth a shot.
De Luca also says the Cubs are reluctant to sign Cliff Floyd until Jones is dealt. The Cubs have been aggressively trying to swing a Jones to anywhere trade all offseason.
Meanwhile at the Tribune, which owns the Cubs, Paul Sullivan mentions that "Floyd has told friends he intends to be a Cub, while Jones isn't expected at the weekend fan convention, indicating he's likely on his way out of town."
Calm down, this is a family trade rumor site. I am referring to Steve Phillip's latest, found via RotoWorld.
The idea: Jason Jennings to the Cubs; Jacque Jones, Carlos Marmol, Paul Maholm to the Rockies; Brad Hawpe to the Pirates.
If this one is legit, Dan O'Dowd lied to Brad Hawpe's agent.