Trade Deadline Rumor Roundup
TRADE RUMOR UPDATE (4:23 PM CST): Jayson Stark reports that the Mariners are asking a steep price for Ibanez:
The Cubs, meanwhile, are resisting attempts by Seattle to get Felix Pie and a second prospect for Ibanez. The Cubs almost certainly would be willing to offer a couple of prospects in the Sam Fuld stratum. But teams that have spoken with the Cubs say they've shown little sense of urgency to overpay to add a final piece or two of late.
A few notes about the Cubs/Brewers series first...
- So the Cubs win the battle of the aces last night, with Carlos Zambrano putting together the type of heroic effort that should be remembered for years. 118 laser precision-like pitches over eight innings with nine strikeouts and only five hits and the Cubs are guaranteed to be still in first place after the series ends. They're also set-up nicely for a series win or dare I say series sweep with Ryan Dempster and Rich Harden going the next two games. (Doing my best Mel Allen) How about that?
- The "struggling" Cubs offense has pounded out 26 hits over the last two games. Apparently you can just turn it on when it's needed most.
- Entering the series, Jason Kendall had morphed himself into a late-90's Ivan Rodriguez, throwing out 27 of 57 baserunners for a league-leading .474 caught stealing percentage. Lou and the Cubs baserunners didn't seem impressed. They're now a perfect five for five in the first two games. Kendall needs to take another dip into whatever fountain of youth he found.
Some trade rumors after the jump...
- Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cubs are showing interest in Raul Ibanez or any left-handed hitting outfielder. Jim Edmonds knee must be worse than they originally thought and it never hurts to have some insurance. It seems the Cubs are perfectly willing to move Kosuke Fukudome to center field on a full-time basis and find someone to play right field. Reader "Chifan" put together a list of some outfielders that might be available:
May I suggest a Ronny Cedeno for Andre Ethier swap?
- Scott Eyre is still very much on the block as well, although I wouldn't be surprised if he's a post-July 31st trade that has to go through waivers.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.