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- The Dodgers have won 40 of their last 48. This has nothing to do with the Cubs right now except it gives me an opportunity to post this gif of our old friend LaTroy Hawkins after serving up the game tying home run.

- Back to the Cubs, they've lost 13 of their last 17 and have moved into a tie for the 4th draft pick with the Brewers, in which they own the tiebreaker.

Pick Team .PCT GB
1 Houston .328 --
2 Miami .387 7.0
3 White Sox .387 7.0
4 Cubs .433 12.5
5 Milwaukee .433 12.5
6 San Francisco .437 13.0
7 Philadelphia .442 13.5
8 Angels .445 14.0
9 Minnesota .449 14.5
10 San Diego .450 14.5

You can always find that table on the left sidebar by the way. While I'm mostly wrong in my predictions, I didn't do too badly this year. I surmised that the Cubs could probably make a run at .500, but once they start trading off pieces, they'll be near the bottom again. Now they never quite got to .500, but their run differential was pretty close for awhile and then once the trading began, the freefall was inevitable. Of course at this point, they're a lot closer to the 13th spot (3.5 ahead), then the 2nd spot (5.5 behind), but I think we're all confident in their ability to tank the rest of the season. I think the 4th or 5th spot is the most likely, although I wouldn't put it past the Marlins to make a decent run...they have some decent youth that's been playing much better of late.

The Cubs look to be comfortably back to being terrible...so terrible that Sunday's lineup is: DeJesus, Lake, Rizzo, Navarro, Schierholtz, Ransom, Watkins, Murphy, Villanueva.  Oof. And yes, that's Logan Watkins that has been promoted to take Luis Valbuena's spot, who went on the disabled list with an oblique injury. Watkins had a slash line of 243/333/379 over 412 AB's with 10 SB against 9 CS...hardly inspiring, but he seems to at least work the count. If there's much good news to be had, Yasiel Puig will sit out today after jamming his thumb against the brick wall.

But back on topic, Matt Garza said a lot of stupid things yesterday on twitter. To briefly summarize, he got beat by the A's and part of that beating included four bunts by the A's because, well Matt Garza and throwing to first base don't go together too well. The last of those bunts was by Eric Sogard and was a safety squeeze that gave the A's an insurance run, bumping the lead to 4-2. Garza, who I remind you has played major league baseball since 2006 and probably has seen a 1-run comeback or two in his day, didn't take kindly to this play for reasons unbeknownst to anyone but Matt Garza.  So he immediately jawed at Eric Sogard during the game and then took it to twitter and went full Archie Bunker.

Tags: 

TheJedi have already knocked out a number of trades earlier in the month, that today shouldn't bring too much excitement, but there's still a few pieces left on the trading block. One is Nate Schierholtz whom Jayson Stark reiterates is the most likely Cub to be dealt today. The Pirates and Rangers seem like the most likely spots at the moment.

Heyman says Jeff Samardzija won't be moved right now, but the Cubs will pursue a trade or an extension this offseason.

Bruce Levine said the Cubs nearly had a deal in place to move James Russell to the Braves last week.

Twitter was a buzz with talk that the Diamondbacks wanted to shed some salary to fit Jake Peavy into their budget and were willing to move Ian Kennedy to get it done. The Cubs, Angels and Padres were all rumored destinations. Not sure if the DBacks still are eager to move Kennedy with Peavy going to the Red Sox, although they could still be in on other pitchers including Bud Norris.

And don't forget this is just the non-waiver deadline, teams can continue to make moves through August 31st to acquire players eligible for their playoff rosters.

As you all know by know, Alfonso Soriano was dealt to the New York Yankees along with a ton of cash for RHP Corey Black. According to Buster Olney, the Cubs will pay $4.7M of the remaining $6.5M owed Soriano in 2013 and then $13M of the $18M owed Soriano in 2014, saving $6.8M total on the deal and getting a decent relief prospect that Theo compared to Jessie Crain. Soriano went 0/5 in his Yankee return with a run scored and an RBI. Black will stay in Florida and head over to Daytona.

It appears Alfonso Soriano is indeed headed to his original franchise...Dale Sveum was told before the game to pull Soriano from the lineup and has been telling the press that a deal is 99% certain with the Yankees. Sveum isn't too good with percentages lately, so let's temper our expectations a bit.

Olney says a lower tier pitching prospect will be coming back to the Cubs once Soriano gives his formal approval. He also claims Cubs will pay the bulk of the $25M owed Soriano through 2014. I will update as more information becomes available.

- Alfonso Soriano had a "scheduled" off day on Wednesday versus the Diamondbacks despite some gaudy career numbers against Ian Kennedy (6-for-13, 3 HR's, 7 RBI's, 3 BB's). The Twitter-verse was having none of it and the conspiracies flowed that the Cubs were just awaiting his approval on a deal. Soriano showed up though for a pre-game chat with the reporters and spilled the beans that he would accept the a trade to the Yankees and apparently gave TheJedi a list of a few other teams he'd be willing to say yes to...so it's Soriano waiting on the Cubs and the rest of the league. As of now, a trade has not been made, but somehow Soriano didn't manage to even get an at-bat in a 12-inning affair last night that the Cubs eventually won 7-6.

The N.Y. Post is reporting that the Yankees and Cubs are close to deal that will send Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees for a mid-level prospect. The Cubs owe a little over $6M for the rest of 2013 on Soriano's deal and then $18 million next year and the Cubs will pay the bulk of it, and whatever the Yankees are contributing will be for this year as the Yanks are trying to avoid luxury tax hell next season. Soriano still has to approve the deal, but it seems unlikely he'll reject a chance to go to his first organization and play alongside Jeter and Mo' once again...presuming this is all true.

As for the prospect, no one knows yet but here's a top 20 list from the preseason. Manny Banuelos was a 5-star prospect heading into 2012 before Tommy John surgery, so maybe the Cubs can take a shot at the upside there. Dellin Betances was well up there as well before 2012 or maybe the Cubs see something in catcher Austin Romine, who was once a top 100 prospect. More likely, it's someone not on any of this lists with far less upside...we shall wait and see.

Rumors be the Cubs were just waiting to see if the news on Clay Bucholz turned for the worst in a hope to get the Red Sox heavily involved. That didn't happen and now Garza is headed to Texas, a team he had nearly joined two other times (before being initially traded to Cubs and last trade deadline).

This is what we know..the Cubs are getting 3b Mike Olt and SP C.J. Edwards. They are also getting a third player that will be a pitcher and if you believe Jeff Passan's tweet, a fourth "player-to-be named later" is also part of the deal. Jeff Wilson of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram name dropped reliever Joe Ortiz at one point, but that yet to be confirmed. As we've learned many times over the last few seasons, nothing is for certain until there's hugging in the dugout.

Olt was the #22 prospect in all of baseball heading into the season according to Baseball America (Sickels gave him an A- grade, the same as Baez), but had a rough go of it in 2013. Many of his troubles were said to be rooted in a vision problem and he has hit a little better since returning from a lengthy disabled list visit, but still not quite as well as expected or hoped. Obviously the Cubs are banking on him hitting again, but he's also a skilled defender at the hot corner. In a bit of serendipity, Olt was selected by the Rangers with the compensation pick they received when Jim Hendry signed Marlon Byrd.

Edwards was a 48th round pick of the Rangers in 2011 out of high school in South Carolina. He's struck out over 11 per 9 with a walk rate around 3 over the course of 3 shortened minor league seasons. He's now with their A affiliate in the South Atlantic League (Kane County equivalent) and is playing his age 21 season. He's starting right now and features a mid 90's fastball with a "plus curve".

UPDATE #1: Passan says the third player is Justin Grimm and a 4th player will be added later. Grimm's no world beater, but he's 24 and with major league experience. A strikeout pitcher he is not, but Sickels had him at #5 on his top 20 preseason Rangers list.

Stuff has never been the issue: Grimm's fastball can hit 96 MPH and averages 92. Scouts also like his curveball, rating it a plus pitch, and his changeup, while still inconsistent, is much better than it used to be. He is very athletic, an attribute which should help him stay healthy, especially with his improved mechanics.

Grimm's three-pitch mix and ability to throw strikes could make him a nice number three starter. He could also thrive in a relief role if the Rangers choose to go that route. I had him as a Grade B- pre-season and that still seems reasonable, with some chance for a straight B.

UPDATE #2: Olt, Edwards, Grimm and a PTBNL for 2 months of Garza whom the Cubs could resign if they really wanted to next offseason. Hard not to like the deal. If you wish to extrapolate it even further, Cubs moved Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Sam Fuld, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos for just over 2 years worth of Garza starts, Fernando Perez, Zach Rosscup, Olt, Edwards, Grimm and a PTBNL. Hard to say if the Cubs are losing on the deal, they'd certainly like a pitcher with Archer's capabilities and service time around right now and Lee still could be a decent regular, but it does appear that it's close to a zero-sum movement at this point...other than the last 3 seasons, but they were lost anyway.

UPDATE #3: Wittenmyer tweeted that RHP Neil Ramirez is among the pool of players that the Cubs could choose as the player to be named later. The deal gets even better. I suppose Joe Ortiz may be one of those players as well, along with others.

UPDATE #4: it's actually 2 players to be named later coming the Cubs way.

Fantastic!

UPDATE #5: According to the Rangers GM, the numbers of PTBNL's headed to the Cubs depends on whom the Cubs choose...could be one, could be two.

UPDATE #6: Slight modification to the PTBNL deal according to Wittenmyer, Cubs either choose Neil Ramirez or they choose 2 pitchers from an agreed upon pool of players.

 

Not yet...

Although I suppose they were as close as they could be yesterday, exchanging medical information on players and something turned up on one of the Rangers pitchers that caused the Cubs to squeeze the brakes. Names have been flying around, but Neil Ramirez, C.J. Edwards and Mike Olt seem to be the hottest names of late. Jeff Passan says the Rangers also showed interest in James Russell, although no one knows if he was part of what sounded like a 6-player deal...although once again, no one knows for sure.

Rumors be the teams will continue today to try and find a fit and that nothing in Garza's medical dossier caused a panic for the Rangers.

So the Twitter-verse exploded Thursday night with numerous reports that the Rangers and Cubs were nearing a deal to send Matt Garza to Texas for up to 3 prospects. Names were even bandied about that included the likes of Luke Jackson, C.J. Edwards and a position player that varied between Mike Olt, Luis Sardinas or Jorge Alfaro. When it came to getting some of the Rangers top 20 talent, the Cubs would be doing well...although since Mike Olt's dropoff this season, none would be real top shelf minor leauge talent (top 30 in baseball). Nonetheless, 2 very promising arms and a potential decent position player would seem like a decent haul for Garza.

(Brake Screech)

Then Patrick Mooney reported late in the evening that the Rangers were moving quickly on a Plan B finding the Cubs asking price too high. Jeff Passan suggests that Plan B is probably Bud Norris of the Astros. It could all be posturing by the Rangers, or maybe it was all controlled leaks by the Cubs to float some names out there in hopes other organizations would pony up.

At the end of it all, Garza is still a Cub and the rumoring will continue at a feverish pace tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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