Thursday, July 14, 2011

Here Come the RUMORS.....

- The Indians are looking to upgrade their offense, especially the corners of the outfield and infield. The Indians have already contact and had preliminary discussions with the Cubs about Carlos Pena, Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, and even Alfonso Soriano. The Indians said they would be able to add payroll but taking on a “significant” salary at the deadline is not in the cards. So in the case of Soriano and Ramirez I think the Cubs would have to chip in quite a bit of cash. On the Cubs side, team officials confirm the talks and one source said the Cubs have interest and are asking about Lonnie Chisenhall and/or Carlos Santana in a deal for their power bats.

- The Tigers are looking for pitching help and are targeting Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, and Carlos Zambrano.

- The Giants are looking for bats and maybe looking at Pena or Ramirez to fill that need. The Cubs have scouted Brandon Belt and Madison Bumgardner in the past few weeks.

- Speaking of the Giants, there is a rumor that a Zito and Rowand for Soriano and Byrd were discussed during the All-star break.

- Brian Cashman could be a serious candidate for the Cubs GM job if Hendry is let go.

- The Cubs have been scouting the Rays entire system. Rumors say the Cubs like Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Torres, and Matt Moore.

Until Next Time..

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Things; they are a changing....

Here is the latest from the Cubs rumor mill-

- The Pirates have interest in several Cub players including Zambrano, Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome, Ramirez, and Pena.

- The Cubs promoted Brett Jackson and Ryan Flaherty to AAA Iowa and both could be MLB bound in August depending on who they trade.

- Flaherty is view by some the possible starting 3rd baseman next season if they don’t trade for one or keep Aramis. The 3rd baseman market is really weak next season.

- Cub sources said they could see Soriano being an August deal just like Derrek Lee was.

- San Francisco is very interested in Koyie Hill. I would trade him there for a bucket of balls!

- Rumor out of the White Sox organization is that they would consider a cross town bad contract trade of Dunn for Soriano. Soriano has 3 years 54 million left while Dunn has 3 years 43 million so they would have to make up the difference somewhere.

- Speaking of the White Sox, if they make Gavin Floyd available the Cubs will be interested.

- Levine says Aramis maybe back next season but not a chance Fukudome is back.

- The Cubs number one player on their list for next season is Prince Fielder.

- Sources say Billy Beane would be Ricketts first choice for GM next season if Hendry is fired. Sources close to Billy Beane say there is “mutual interest”

- Mike Quade could be on his way out whether Ricketts likes it or not, that is if Hendry and/or Kenney is fired. Reports are saying the new GM will “have his pick of staff” that includes assistants, scouts, manager, coaches, etc..

- Sandberg would not rule out coming back to the Cubs to manage. The full story is here- SandbergCubs

Until Next Time..

28 under 28: Dodgers,M's, and Orioles

This entry for “28 under 28” we take a look at the Dodgers, Mariners, and Orioles.


James Loney-1b- Dodgers

Loney was once the most sought after prospect in the Dodgers system and now the Dodgers are considering non-tendering him before next season. Loney maybe your classic “needs a change of scenery” guy and at the age of 28 he maybe worth taking a gamble on. Loney is still somewhat serviceable putting together a .268 average with 4 homers and 3 SB this season but the Cubs would hope the change of scenery would cause him to put up numbers he did from 2006 to 2009 when he posted a .293 average with a .352 OBP and averaged about 14 homers. The Cubs could likely get Loney for a midlevel prospect or two. Definitely worth the gamble to me.

Trade happening- 15%


Justin Smoak-1b-Mariners

I am a big Smoak fan and thought the Cubs should have traded for him before the Rangers sent him to Texas. Smoak is only 25 years old and still needs some work but I think this kid will be special in the very near future. Smoak is hitting .229 with a .327 OBP and 12 homers in 84 games for the M’s. The Mariners could do a Carlos Pena for Justin Smoak swap to add more power to the corners. They could also be really interested Aramis Ramirez as well. Adding Smoak does not mean the Cubs would not go for Prince or Pujols but it does mean they will give him a chance to prove the Cubs don’t need them.

Trade happening- 10%


Josh Bell-3b-Orioles

Josh Bell is only 24 years old but has spent 7 seasons in the minors where he has posted a .283 average with a .350 OBP. He was labeled as the 34 best prospect in baseball but has fallen down the list in 2011. The switch hitting 3rd baseman could be made available for upgrades to the rotation and outfield. Not to mention the O’s have a great stocked farm system filled with infielders. They could look at Tyler Colvin, Reggie Golden, or Jae-Hoon Ha. The Cubs could continue to develop Bell in the minors until he is ready or have him start in 2012 at 3rd and go through some growing pains. Josh Bell is a lot more available than you would think.

Trade happening- 15%

Look for the next addition of “28 under 28” to include the Giants, Nationals, and A’s.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

28 Under 28: Rangers and Angels

As we continue “28 players under 28 years old” we take a look at the Rangers and Angels.


Chris Davis- 1b/3b- Rangers

Chris Davis was once targeted for Chicago before Robinson Chirinos was traded to the Rays as a part of a deal for Matt Garza. The Cubs idea was to have Davis play 1st for the Cubs. The Cubs still remain interest in Davis and rumors have been circulating that he could be dangled for a guy like Ryan Dempster or Carlos Zambrano. Davis could provide the Cubs will stability at 1st or 3rd base this season and beyond. He could fill the void if and when Aramis Ramirez leaves or if the Cubs miss on their plan A, B, and C for 1st base. Davis is only 25 years old but has 6 minor league seasons under his belt. In his minor league career he has hit .316 with a .374 OBP 16 SB, 114 HR, and 398 RBI. It finally looks like he is coming into his own and is ready for everyday ABs at the ML level and with the Cubs I think they can provide that for him.

I put this trade at 50%

Marin Perez-SP- Rangers

Know as the future of Rangers baseball I know prying him away will be as hard as trading for Pujols! Perez is a 20 year old lefty who can hit 94 on the gun. He is ranked the 24 best prospect in baseball and is doing really well in AA this year. He has posted a 3.16 ERA with a 4-2 record; in 88 innings pitched he has 83 Ks. The Rangers would ask for more than Z or Dempster for him, they would likely want Garza. If the Cubs acquired him he would be the 2nd player under 22 years of age on the Cubs 25 man roster.

I put this trade at 5%


Mark Trumbo- 1b- Angels

Why would the Angels trade away a power hitting 1st baseman who is only 26 years old and having success at the ML? Simple! They have Kendry Morales coming back next season and they are looking to add power to other areas so they maybe willing to sacrifice a guy like Trumbo. The Angels are only likely to deal Trumbo for an impact player this season for the playoff push which is why they are targeting the Cubs Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez. If the Angels acquired both the Cubs would obviously demand Trumbo (not to mention the Angels would be replacing him at first with Pena). Trumbo is hitting .260 with 17 homers, 41 RBI, and 8 SB in 84 games for the Angels. Trumbo would allow the Cubs to stop their 1st base free agent search before it starter and allow them to go with the “play the kids” mentality. Acquiring Trumbo means no Pujols and no Fielder.

I put this trade at 25%

Hank Conger- C- Angels

A 24 year old switch hitting catcher is considered the Angels backstop of the future, he is also trade bait for the Angels. The Angels would dangle him for the same guys they would dangle Trumbo for. Conger has had limited time in the ML so we will take a look at this minor league stats. Conger is rated the 84th best prospect in baseball and showed why in 2010 batting .300 with a .385 OBP and 11 homers in 108 games. Conger also has a plus arm, great glove, and calls really good game. He has been compared to Johnny Estrada and Greg Zaun.

I put this trade at 25%

That does it for this addition of 28 under 28… Tune in next time for the Dodgers, Mariners, and Orioles.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Garza is Going to Cost You and Quick Hits....

According to both Phil Rogers and Nick Cafardo the Red Sox have Matt Garza at the top of their wish list for pitchers. This is a very curious situation because at the end of June Peter Gammons reported that the Red Sox cannot add payroll this year which means they would have to have the trading team eat money or trade for an equal contract in return. Since then it has come out they will be able to add “some” money for the right situation. The thing that also makes this really interesting is that Jim Hendry recently said he will not trade away players that are young and under team control which says Garza is likely to stay put. But with both reports coming out and the intriguing possibility that the Yankees may get involved as well if Garza is made available it puts Hendry in a tough spot. If the Yankees and Red Sox both make plays for Garza the Cubs could actually get a much better package for him now than what they originally traded for him.

Either way the Cubs are in the driving seat here. They do not have to trade Garza so they can set their price for him as high as they want. I am in favor of keeping Garza, he has been a great clubhouse guy, cheerleader, and best overall pitcher this season. Having said that if the Red Sox come calling with a ton of prospects it would be hard for Jim Hendry and the Cubs to say no. Another thing the Cubs could do is lump a bad contract with Garza; maybe Zambrano or Soriano? Given the fact the Red Sox cannot add much to payroll I would assume this would not work for them. So with all that known I offer the Red Sox this deal.

Red Sox get: SP Matt Garza, OF Kosuke Fukudome, and CF Marlon Byrd (they have a total of 10 million left on their contracts for 2011) Cubs pay 5 million of it.

Cubs get: CF Jacoby Ellsbury P Anthony Ranaudo, 3B Will Middlebrook, SP Felix Doubront, C Ryan Lavarnway, and IF Heiker Meneses

Before I get raked over the coals I first want to say that this is what I would want for those three players if I am Jim Hendry. I would insist that the Red Sox include Ellsbury in any deal for Garza and in return I would fulfill their other need at the deadline and that is RF help. Fukudome and Byrd would strengthen the outfield tremendously defensively and lessen the blow of losing Ellsbury. A lot of you think the Red Sox would be overpaying and I agree! They have to so they can obtain Garza and keep him out of Yankee pinstripes.

What the Cubs will be getting in this deal is close to perfect. I will break it down for you.

Jacoby Ellsbury- We all know what happened in 2010 and how he was almost on the verge of being traded but 2011 is a new year. Ellsbury is hitting .316 with a .377 OBP. He has hit 11 homers and drove in 49 in 361 ABs. He is your prototypical leadoff hitter and has stolen 70 bases in 2009 and has already swiped 28 bags this season. Ellsbury is 28 years old and would be the Cubs leadoff hitter for years to come not to mention having him in CF with Brett Jackson in RF and eventually Matt Szczur in their as well. What an exciting outfield and the reason why I insist on having him in a deal for Garza.

Anthony Ranaudo- Ranked the 37th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America’s midseason report he is a must have for the Cubs. His only 21 but on the fast track to the majors. In one year he has jumped for lower A to high A and is now 5-5 with a 3.84 ERA. He is a strike out pitcher but has not polished his stuff yet. Many compare his stuff to Pineda in Seattle which tells you why they are so high on him.

Will Middlebrook- A guy hampered by injuries and some off the field issues; he maybe a give or take for most of you but I see a guy that could fill the Aramis Ramirez void. Middlebrook will not be found on any Red Sox top 10 list but that may change after this season. Early on scouts suggested Middlebrook to be a defensive minded 3rd baseman in the ML who would not hit for power or average and could struggle to hit past A ball. He has now changed his batting stance and is making scouts change their opinions. Middlebrook has played in low and high A ball along with AA. This year between the two leagues he is hitting .316 with a .361 OBP with 12 homers and 6 SB in just 274 ABs. There is talk he will be in AAA before the season ends.

Felix Doubront- This pitcher was just called up to the ML to relieve for Boston at the age of 23. Scouts say he should be a starter at the ML level but the Red Sox are currently using him in the pen. In 2010 he had an 8-3 record with a 2.81 ERA in 16 starts. Very good stats for a 23 year old lefty. He could be end up being the prize of this deal.

Ryan Lavarnway- This guy went from the 16th best prospects in the Sox system to potential starting catcher in 2012. Lavarnway is not a defensive catcher but is good enough to work a ML pitching staff. He has a decent arm but need refined in calling games. His bat will make you overlook his defensive liabilities. So far in 2011 between AA and AAA he has hit .303 with a .377 OBP 21 homers and 60 RBI. He has been consistent pretty much throughout his minor league career which is a great sign. Adding a guy like Lavarnway who is only 23 could allow the Cubs to trade Soto down the road as Lavarnway continues to develop. Lavarnway could be ML ready in 2012 but would do much better if he continued to work on his defense for a year or two.

Heiker Meneses – A middle infielder who is only 20 years old and still a ways away from the majors. He is a wild card but he has intangibles that have me including him in this deal. He is a switch-hitter, can play all infield positions and even talk he can handle the outfield. The Red Sox signed him at the age of 16 and of course struggled in 3 years of rookie ball. Now the 19 year old who recently made the jump for A to AA is doing very well. Between the two squads he is hitting .286 with a .361 OBP 19 SB and 2 homers. He will need a lot more time in the minors but if he continues to do well see himself as a utility player or better in the ML by 2014-2015.

As you can see I believe Matt Garza is very important to this team going into the future and anything less than the package I suggest we get for him along with Byrd and Fukudome would be just silly. The Cubs sent 5 players to the Rays for Garza before the season. Three of the players were listed in top 10 prospects. Chris Archer was labeled the Cubs number 1 prospect by Baseball America so when you compare that to what the Cubs are receiving this deal is not “as crazy” as it seems.

- Nick Cafardo says the Angels have expressed the most interest in Aramis Ramirez but the Braves, Mariners, and Dbacks also have interest. Something we here at HSC have reported weeks ago.

- While Hendry denies the “rebuilding” stage for the Cubs it looks like they could be heading that way. With Matt Szczur getting the promotion to Daytona other players could get a bump up like Brett Jackson, Brian LaHair, Trey McNutt, and Rafael Dolis depending on who is getting traded at the deadline.

- Cubs could be looking to see what Randy Wells trade value is. He could end up in AAA if he does not pitch better.

- The Diamondbacks and Pirates have big interest in Carlos Pena according to sources.

Until Next Time…