Tag:Hot Stove
Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:34 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 11:17 pm
 

Garza-to-Tigers rumors persist

By Matt Snyder

Just over an hour ago, I surmised that the Cubs' reportedly strong interest in Paul Maholm was a true sign that they were set to deal Matt Garza (UPDATE: The Cubs have indeed signed Maholm). Sure enough, a report from Dave Kaplan of Comcast Chicago says that the Cubs and Tigers are "down the road in discussions" on a trade proposal that would send Garza to Detroit.

At this point, it wouldn't be surprising if Garza just wanted to be traded in order get the rumors overwith. His name has been bouncing around the rumor mill for the better part of six weeks. The Blue Jays and Yankees have also been mentioned quite heavily in Garza rumors. In any of those respective rotations, he would most likely slot as a No. 2 starter.

If the Cubs did trade Garza and sign Maholm, the best bet is their five-man rotation for the 2012 season is set with Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Maholm and Chris Volstad (with Andy Sonnanstine as the injury replacement). The season is going to be one of transition anyway, so the Cubs would then see what they had in the latter four while Dempster would be a free agent following the season -- and perhaps he fetches a prospect or two before the trade deadline in July.

As for the Tigers, they're built to win right now, having lost the ALCS to the Rangers last season. Garza bolsters the rotation behind reigning Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander, along with Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. Would the Tigers cough up top prospect Jacob Turner? There have been conflicting reports on that, but it's a good bet that's who Cubs bosses Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have their eyes on.

Turner, 20, is a right-handed pitcher who had a 3.44 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 110 strikeouts in 131 minor-league innings last season, across Double- and Triple-A. Many scouts believe he profiles as a frontline starter once his development is complete.

Garza, 28. was 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings pitched. Between poor run support and a pretty terrible defense behind him, however, Garza pitched much better than his raw numbers would indicate.

Even if this report is inaccurate, don't expect Garza's name to be removed from rumors until either he is traded or the Cubs' season begins.

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 6:09 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2012 8:49 pm
 

Marlins agree to trade for Carlos Zambrano



By Matt Snyder


The Cubs have agreed to trade volatile and highly-paid starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins, with an announcement coming as soon as Thursday, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned. The preliminary deal is that the Cubs would pick up the overwhelming majority of the $18 million Zambrano is owed for 2012 and that starting pitcher Chris Volstad is headed to the Cubs. Multiple reports indicate the Cubs will pay $15 million to the Marlins.

New Cubs president Theo Epstein has been publicly saying he'd give Zambrano one last chance in Chicago throughout the entire offseason. In fact, earlier Wednesday on a Chicago radio show, Epstein said that he was "skeptical" but would give Zambrano a chance to prove he's changed. It's not too surprising that he would be putting off that vibe publicly while privately trying to rid his club of a past cancer, though.

For stretches, when Zambrano could remain healthy and well-behaved, he produced as a frontline starting pitcher. He's a three-time All-Star who finished exactly fifth three times in NL Cy Young voting. After anger management sessions midseason in 2010, he closed the season in lights-out fashion, going 8-0 with a 1.24 ERA. But then Zambrano walked out on his team last August after getting ejected from a game in Atlanta. Then-general manager Jim Hendry basically kicked Zambrano off the team, sending him away and placing him on the restricted list.

Cubs/Marlins coverage
Considering this and the fact that Zambrano is owed such a lofty salary next season, it's easy to see why Epstein wasn't so quick to cut ties with Zambrano for nothing. But it's possible Zambrano's long-time friendship with new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen made the deal easier to consummate.

Guillen was specifically asked about Zambrano during the Winter Meetings and said the two exchange text messages everyday.

"Every time I talk to Zambrano," Guillen said, "all of a sudden people think I'm talking about contracts or moving him to the Marlins. That's tampering."

He then joked: "We do that on the side, not around people."

So while Guillen hasn't publicly courted Zambrano, it's obvious the two are great friends and would love to work with each other. Thus, the no-trade clause shouldn't be much of an issue.

The Marlins already have a top two in the rotation in Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. With Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco around, they could feasibly slot Zambrano as the fifth starter in an attempt to alleviate any pressure he'd put on himself.

Volstad, 25, was 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA and 1.43 WHIP last season. He was once a fairly-highly touted prospect but hasn't made a great transition to the majors, aside from a solid rookie campaign (6-4, 2.88 ERA, 1.33 WHIP in 2008).

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 2:12 pm
 

Jason Frasor traded back to Blue Jays

By Matt Snyder

For the second time this winter, the White Sox have shipped a relief pitcher to the Blue Jays. This time around, it's Jason Frasor headed back to Toronto in exchange for minor league pitchers Myles Jaye and Daniel Webb, the White Sox have announced.

The two clubs also made a trade during the Winter Meetings, sending closer Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays. Also interesting here is that Frasor was traded to the White Sox by the Blue Jays in July. He's made 475 career appearances, 455 of which came with the Blue Jays, so Frasor is definitely back where he's familiar.

Frasor, 34, had a 3.60 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 60 innings last season, but he was much better (2.98 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) with the Blue Jays. He was really bad for the White Sox after the deal. So maybe the change of scenery was bad and he'll recover now that he's back with the Jays.

Jaye is a 20-year-old right-hander. He went 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 54 innings in Rookie Ball last season.

Webb is a 22-year-old right-hander. He was 4-5 with a 5.48 ERA in 67 1/3 innings last season, all but 1 1/3 of which were in Class A. He also threw 1 1/3 innings in Rookie Ball.

Frasor will be part of the bridge to Santos, along with also-newly acquired Darren Oliver and Casey Janssen.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com