The deadline for signing draft picks is this Friday, well the Cubs got their number one priority taken care of today. Per multiple reports from Jim Callis, Peter Gammons, and Paul Sullivan the Cubs have agreed to terms with Kris Bryant for full slot, meaning $6.7M. It seemed like the Cubs would be getting Bryant signed all along, he is a Boras client so I’m not surprised it took this long. The money is a record in the slot era, but again, Bryant got slot so it’s not like the Cubs went over, but some were hoping he would go for under slot. Expect the Cubs to make it official shortly then we get to see where Bryant will start his Cubs career, wouldn’t be shocked to see him start at High A Daytona right off the bat.
There’s hot, and then there is what Alfonso Soriano is doing. Soriano is unconscious at the plate right now, his latest reminder to the rest of baseball that he can play was a two home run performance last night as the Cubs pounded the Angels 7-2 for their fourth straight win. In his last eleven games Soriano is hitting .400 with eight home runs, and seventeen RBI’s, wow. Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and Darwin Barney also got in on the long ball fun to pace the Cubs attack. On a night where every fly ball was dangerous Travis Wood carved up a dangerous Angels lineup. Wood worked 6.2 innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out five to pick up his sixth win of the season. The Cubs are now eight games under .500 and nine games out of a wild card spot, just pointing that out, not insinuating anything, yet.
PICTURE OF THE GAME
Matt Garza was dominant again last night, with every start his value goes up, not just in regards to what the Cubs want for him, but what Garza might be looking for in regards to a contract extension with the Cubs. That’s right, the news before yesterday’s start was that the Cubs have kicked the tires once again on bringing Garza back with a long-term extension.
David Kaplan weighed in on this yesterday:
“Theo [Epstein] and Jed [Hoyer] know that they have a great asset. They will not cave on what they want in return,” said the AL exec. “They will play this thing out until they get what they want. He’s too valuable to not trade. When you are in a rebuild you need to move assets to fuel the plan. Garza should help to do that. I’d be stunned if he is a Cub Aug. 1.”
I agree with the thought process of Kaplan in regards to the extension talk, I think it’s just that, talk. The Cubs aren’t going to let Garza go for less than their asking price unless they absolutely have to.
Gordon Wittenmeyer had more on the Garza extension talk after last nights game:
“Team sources, however, characterize the recent, brief talks as confirmation that the sides aren’t much, if any, closer than they were more than a year ago when they first engaged in talks with little progress.”
Now on to the newest information on Garza…
Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports has information on what teams are interested in Garza. Last nights start was scouted by the Rangers, Indians, Blue Jays, Pirates, and Padres. For the most part it seems as though the Rangers and Indians have strong interest, and the Red Sox, Nationals, and Dodgers are also keeping an eye on Garza. Morosi also touches on what Garza might be looking for in an extension and the numbers would rival what Anibal Sanchez got from the Tigers in the off-season, so a five-year, $80MM deal.
Stay tuned as the trade talk and Garza talk will pick up considerably as we get closer to the deadline and Garza continues to pitch well and prove his health.
This should have happened a month ago, but because of rain Cubs fans had to wait another month for full bragging rights. The Cubs pounded the White Sox for the fourth straight game the result was a four game season sweep. The Cubs offense had it going late as they pounded out thirteen hits and scored eight runs, six of those runs coming in the eighth and ninth inning to break it open. Alfonso Soriano is putting on a show for the rest of baseball, he was 3-for-4 with his thirteenth home run of the season, a walk, two stolen bases, a double, and three runs scored. Soriano’s trade value is climbing with each passing day, and a game like last night shows teams that are interested that this guy isn’t done. Speaking of trade value, Matt Garza got the start and was brilliant once again going seven innings giving up two runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out six to pick up his fifth win of the season.
PICTURE OF THE GAME
Late last night the news started coming out that Scott Hairston was traded to the Nationals, this morning that news was confirmed. The Cubs have traded Scott Hairston to the Nationals for minor league righty Ivan Pineyro, there was also a mention of a PTBNL but I’m not sure if that has been confirmed, if true it would most likely be going from the Cubs to the Nats. Hairston has struggled this year with the Cubs, but has provided some power off the bench as he has eight home runs in just 99 at bats. The Nationals are also paying the majority of Hairston’s salary as he was signed with the Cubs through next year. The player the Cubs got in return might end up being a steal. Pineyro is a 21 year-old right-handed pitcher that has seen success so far this year at class A, and high A ball with the Nats. The Cubs have reported that Pineyro will report to Daytona and assume a spot in the rotation there, for the year Pineyro is 6-3 with a 3.24 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 77 innings.
For the time being the Cubs have called up Brooks Raley to help out in the bullpen tonight against the White Sox. There is some discussion in the organization that Junior Lake might make sense as a call up, currently the ultra talented outfielder is tearing up Iowa, hitting .315 with all sorts of slugging numbers. Odds are the Cubs aren’t going to speed up his development, and Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs would like to use Lake as their righty platoon in RF next year.
Carlos Villanueva made his return to the rotation this afternoon and was good but was on a pitch limit, so the Cubs needed a real big effort from their pitchers, and they got it. Villanueva and Hector Rondon each gave up a run today, but other than that the Cubs pitchers were spotless, all seven of them. Oh, except for Kevin Gregg, leading 3-2 in the ninth the Pirates were down to their last strike when Starling Marte launched a game tying solo shot, gut punch. Matt Guerrier came on in relief and gave the Cubs a chance to win and the Cubs did just that. After loading the bases with nobody out Dioner Navarro hit a game winning sacrifice fly to right field, and just like that the Cubs had a series win, their fourth in their last five. Sure this season is lost, but it is nice to see some positive results on the North Side, finally.
PICTURE OF THE GAME
Carlos Villanueva gets the start today for the Cubs as they try to take the series from the Pirates this afternoon in the rubber game. The Pirates will counter with A.J. Burnett who has been outstanding against the Cubs this year. Villanueva was really good as a starter earlier this year but was relegated to bullpen duties when Matt Garza returned to the rotation, now that Feldman is gone his spot in the rotation is Villanueva’s.