As the rebuilding continues, it will be another busy trade season for the Chicago Cubs. With the rumor mill already in full swing, there will be plenty of news to keep up with on a daily basis.
Theo Epstein and company have already done a fantastic job upgrading what was a pathetic farm system in their year and a half at the helm. They'll no doubt add to that stable of young talent with a bevy of moves leading up to the July 31 deadline.
We'll keep you posted on all of the latest July happenings for the North Siders right here, so check back here for updates throughout the days and weeks leading up to the deadline.
Yankees Received: LF Alfonso Soriano, $17.7 million
Cubs Received: SP Corey Black
The Cubs finally found a taker for Alfonso Soriano, as the 37-year-old was shipped back to the Yankees, where he played from 1999-2003.
According to Matt Ehalt of ESPN, the Cubs will pay $17.7 million of the $24.5 million remaining on Soriano's contract, and by eating that much salary the team was able to acquire a solid pitching prospect on top of the $6.8 million in salary they were able to shed.
Corey Black was the prospect shipped to Chicago in the deal, and the 21-year-old has solid upside after being selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of Faulkner University.
Pitching at the High-A level this season, he's gone 3-8 with a 4.25 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 82.2 innings of work.
Soriano may have been the top bat on the market, so the Cubs may have been able to get more if they held onto him until the days leading up to the deadline. However, they managed to land a solid pitching prospect and gain some payroll relief in the process, so all in all it was a solid move.
Posted: July 23
With Matt Garza moved, it looks like the Cubs are now turning their attention to moving left fielder Alfonso Soriano, and according to a report from CBSSports, the Yankees have shown serious interest.
It's no secret the Yankees need to improve their offense, and Soriano has been terrific of late, hitting .296/.326/.741 with 10 home runs and 21 RBI since June 28.
The 37-year-old has about $7 million remaining on his contract this season, and is due $18 million in the final year of his contract next season. The Cubs would no doubt kick in the vast majority of that money in any deal that is made.
Rangers Receive: SP Matt Garza
Cubs Receive: 3B Mike Olt, SP Justin Grimm, SP C.J. Edwards, PTBNL
The Cubs made it clear they wanted to deal Matt Garza before he made his first scheduled start of the second half, and they finally came to an agreement with the Rangers, pending physicals, as reported by CBSSports.
Garza was 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.141 WHIP in 11 starts on the year, and had pitched particularly well of late with a 5-0 record and 1.24 ERA in his last six starts.
In return, the Cubs get a talented package of players, headlined by slugging third base prospect Mike Olt. Olt entered the year as the No. 22 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America, after he posted a .977 OPS with 28 home runs and 82 RBI in 354 minor league at-bats last season.
He's struggled to a .219/.318/.438 line with 12 home runs and 34 RBI so far this season, but vision issues can be pointed to for much of the struggles, and he remains a high upside bat.
Justin Grimm, 24, will likely take Garza's spot in the rotation. He's made 17 starts for Texas this year, going 7-7 with a 6.37 ERA. He was 5-3 with a 3.93 ERA over his first nine starts this season, but has been hit hard since with a 9.91 ERA in his last eight starts.
Looking more to the future, 21-year-old right-hander C.J. Edwards has pitched very well in High-A this season, going 8-2 with a 1.83 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 93.1 innings of work. He entered the season as the Rangers' No. 14 prospect, according to Baseball America.
The Cubs will also reportedly get a fourth player in the deal, though details have yet to be released as to who that will be.
Considering Garza will be nothing more than a rental player for the Rangers, the Cubs got a solid haul of prospect talent here. Taking a chance on Olt getting back to where he was and Grimm developing into a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm seem like reasonable risks, and Edwards is one of the fastest rising pitching prospects in the game right now.
Is it a perfect deal for the Cubs? No, but they got good value for Garza and can now turn their attention to the likes of Alfonso Soriano, Kevin Gregg and others.
Posted: July 19
As of now, Matt Garza's next schedule start for the Cubs is Monday in Arizona, but it is looking more and more like the team will deal him before then.
According to a tweet from Buster Olney of ESPN, the Cubs have asked teams for their "last and best offer" for Garza as they look to pull the trigger on a deal soon.
Posted: July 15
After some rumblings that the Cubs could extend Matt Garza, the right-hander has been informed by the team that he'll likely be traded, according to a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.
Viewed by many as the prize of the trade deadline, Garza turned in another solid outing his last time out, allowing 10 hits but just two runs in 6.2 innings of work to pick up the win against the Cardinals on Saturday.
He's now 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA in his last six starts, as he's pitching like a legitimate ace right now, and has no shortage of teams interested in him.
Heyman pointed to Texas, Cleveland, Boston and St. Louis as teams interested in Garza, while a report from Bruce Levine at ESPN pegged Texas and Toronto as the front-runners with Boston, Cleveland and San Franciso also interested.
Posted: July 10
Originally expected to be a sure thing to be dealt at the deadline, the Cubs are now considering extending right-hander Matt Garza, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.
The 29-year-old is 5-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 10 starts this year since returning from the disabled list, and he's been particularly good of late with a 4-0 record and 0.97 ERA over his last five starts.
His trade value may never be higher, but as an ace-caliber starter in the prime of his career, he could also be a big part of the Cubs rebuilding process alongside Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood.
Nationals Receive: RF Scott Hairston
Cubs Receive: SP Ivan Pineyro
In return, the Cubs will receive 21-year-old right-hander Ivan Poneyro, who has gone 6-3 with a 3.24 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 77.2 innings of work between Single-A and High-A. He was ranked as the No. 27 prospect in the Nationals system entering the year, according to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook.
The Nationals will also be taking on the rest of the Hairston's contract for this season and any roster bonuses he receives, as well as most of the $2.5 million he is owed next season.
The 33-year-old Hairston is hitting .172/.232/.434 with eight home runs and 19 RBI on the season, after hitting .263/.299/.504 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI in 377 at-bats for the Mets last season.
His value comes in his ability to hit left-handed pitching for power, so the move makes sense for a Nationals team that has hit an MLB-worst .218 against left-handed pitching this season.
Hairston has not done much this season, so to get a halfway decent pitching prospect with some upside in return for him is a good move. Getting the Nationals to take on most of his remaining salary makes it a great one.
Orioles Receive: SP Scott Feldman, C Steve Clevenger
Cubs Receive: SP Jake Arrieta, RP Pedro Strop, International Signing-Bonus Slots No. 3 and 4
The Cubs wasted little time kicking off their trade season, as they shipped right-hander Scott Feldman to the Orioles in a four-player deal, according to Dayn Perry of CBSSports and various reports.
Signed to a one-year, $7 million deal in the offseason, Feldman had been one of the Cubs' best starters; he was 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA and 1.143 WHIP in 15 starts with the team. The signing could not have worked out better for the Cubs, as he was a good, low-risk signing and a prime candidate to be flipped at the deadline.
In return, the Cubs get a pitcher in Jake Arrieta who has shown flashes in the past, and could benefit greatly from a change of scenery.
The 27-year-old was Baltimore's Opening Day starter in 2012 after he went 10-8 with a 5.05 ERA over 22 starts in 2011. He's gone just 4-11 with a 6.38 ERA in 29 games (23 starts) since the beginning of the 2012 season, but the potential that twice landed him on the Baseball America Top 100 is still there.
Also included in the deal was reliever Pedro Strop, who was a key cog in the Baltimore 'pen last season, when he had a 2.44 ERA over 70 appearances. However, he's been hit hard this season with a 7.25 ERA in 22.1 innings of work.
The signing bonus slot money will add an additional $388,100 to Chicago's $4,557,200 pool of money with which to sign international free agents (h/t MLB Trade Rumors), as this is the first year that international pool money can be included in trades.
Arrieta has been brought up in trade rumors before, and many believe that a change of scenery could be huge for him. If he can turn into a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher, he's under team control through 2016. This one is a wait-and-see at this point.
Dodgers Receive: RP Carlos Marmol, International Signing-Bonus Slot No. 4
Cubs Receive: RP Matt Guerrier
When much-maligned reliever Carlos Marmol was designated for assignment last Wednesday, the Cubs' chances of getting anything worthwhile in return for him seemed slim, and an outright release seemed like a very real possibility.
Instead, they managed to find a taker for the 30-year-old, who has a 5.86 ERA and is 2-of-5 on save chances in the Dodgers.
Marmol has roughly $4.8 million remaining on his salary this season, and the Cubs will pay roughly $500,000 of that along with taking on the $1.8 million left on Matt Guerrier's contract, according to Carrie Muscat of MLB.com.
The Cubs also sent some international signing bonus pool to the Dodgers in the, which amounts to about $209,700, according to MLB Trade Rumors. But after picking up $388,100 in bonus money from the Orioles, they're still coming out on top in that department at the end of the day.
Guerrier, 34, has a 4.80 ERA and 1.467 WHIP in 34 appearances for the Dodgers this season, and he'll likely see work in the middle innings.
The fact that the Cubs were able to not only deal Marmol, but also come out about $2.5 million on top from a payroll standpoint when all was said and done is fantastic. If he's used in the middle innings, Marmol could actually be a solid pickup for the Dodgers. But it was time for him to go in Chicago.
Posted: July 2
Had it not been for a July injury last season, Matt Garza would more than likely have been dealt at the deadline, and this time around the free-agent-to-be is all but a sure thing to be moved.
According to a tweet from Carrie Muscat of MLB.com, the Nationals, Dodgers, Orioles, Blue Jays and Phillies all had scouts out for the right-handers last start when he allowed just one run and struck out 10 in seven innings of work.
Looking deeper into the potential market for Garza, Jon Heyman of CBSSports wrote a piece last week in which he identified the Orioles, Rangers, Giants, Padres, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Red Sox as all teams who could be in on the 29-year-old.
A Garza deal could come soon, and there will no doubt be a gathering of scouts in attendance when he next takes the mound on Wednesday against the Oakland A's and Bartolo Colon.