Carlos Marmol, Alfonso Soriano could be Cubs’ trade bait in August
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org August 2, 2012 8:12PM
Carlos Marmol has $12.4 million left on his deal. If he clears waivers, the Cubs would eat some of that money as part of a trade. | Jonathan Daniel~Getty Images
CUBS AT DODGERS
The facts: 9:10, Ch. 9, 720-AM.
The pitchers: Jeff Samardzija
(7-8, 4.19 ERA) vs. Chad Billingsley (6-9, 3.89).
The rest of the series
Saturday: 8:10 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Chris Volstad (0-7, 7.94) vs. Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.95).
Sunday: 3:10 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM. Justin Germano (1-1, 3.38) vs. Aaron Harang (7-6, 3.76).
Updated: September 4, 2012 6:22AM
Carlos Marmol looked up from his iPad screen, noticed the inquisitive expression and grinned.
‘‘What, you surprised I’m still here?’’ he said.
Sitting at his locker in the Cubs’ clubhouse 19 hours after the non-waiver trade deadline? Yeah, maybe a little.
‘‘I didn’t even think about that,’’ said Marmol, the manager-stressing closer whose contract, which has $12.4 million left, made trading him a challenge. ‘‘Nobody talked to me [about being traded], not even my agent. I’m glad that nobody talked to me about it. I don’t want to leave.’’
He’s not in the clear yet.
‘‘We’ll continue to be active in August,’’ Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer promised after the non-waiver deadline passed Tuesday.
That means four weeks of looking for waiver-wire bargains and continuing to shop big-contract players who should clear waivers, such as Marmol and Alfonso Soriano ($42 million left), who has no-trade rights.
Almost every player will go through waivers at some point this month. Clearing waivers is a two-day process, meaning the Cubs could be back in the trade market before the team gets to Dodger Stadium on Friday to start a three-game series against the only team their players seem to want to play for.
Like teammate Ryan Dempster until the final 20 minutes of the non-waiver period, Soriano had given consent for a trade only to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he said.
Dempster eventually opened up the process to include the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, with whom he landed. However, according to a source, he took it upon himself to call contacts with the Yankees in an effort to drum up interest when faced with less appealing options in the final hour.
Soriano said he’s open to other teams.
‘‘There were a few nibbles, and there was one match of a team that had expressed interest and a place that he would go,’’ team president Theo Epstein said of interest in Soriano before the deadline. ‘‘But they ended up never making an actual offer and addressing their needs somewhere else.’’
The Dodgers acquired outfielder Shane Victorino.
The Detroit Tigers, who trolled the July market for a right-handed upgrade in the outfield, said they didn’t ask the Cubs about Soriano, and Soriano said he never was approached about the Tigers.
But that could change if Soriano keeps hitting (all 19 of his homers have come since he switched to a smaller bat in mid-May), and a source said the Tigers have had internal discussions about Soriano.
Soriano doesn’t have a strong sense of whether he’ll be traded.
‘‘If not, I’m still here,’’ he said, ‘‘and I like it here. The only thing I don’t like is that we’re losing. But I like it here; life is good. And we’ll see what happens.’’
Marmol could be one of the most valuable relievers available in August, assuming he clears waivers. The Cubs would eat some of the money left on his contract to assure young talent in return.
‘‘I don’t want to leave. I want to stay here and finish strong and try to help the team as best I can,’’ Marmol said. ‘‘But anything can happen at any time. You see [Paul Maholm], [Geovany Soto], all those guys traded at the last minute. I can’t say anything because I can’t control that. They control that.’’
NOTES: Anthony Rizzo earned National League rookie of the month honors for July, leading NL rookies with 32 hits, seven home runs, 17 RBI and 55 total bases in 25 games.
◆ Facing post-trade-deadline depth issues, the Cubs are looking into what it would take to acquire former Derek Lowe, who was designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians this week.