Happy Friday! The hot stove is cooking with gas these days. The Cubs haven’t been very active (as expected), but there’s still plenty of speculation to enjoy.

  • Nick Piecoro reports that Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers is more likely to seek a starting pitcher through trade than free agency, but they’ve indicated that they won’t consider trading stud prospect Archie Bradley. Hmm…I still think the Cubs should hold out for the best possible package, but would a deal centering around Tyler Skaggs be enough?
  • In a column on mlb.com, Anthony Castrovince says that “Samardzija would be bargain compared to Price” adding that he has comparable upside, but wouldn’t cost a team as much in trade. Obviously, Price has historically been a much better pitcher than Shark, but the future is what matters. Remember, Price had some arm trouble last year, and his velocity has declined over the last few years. As we’ve seen, though, many teams tend to (over) pay for past performance rather than future potential (see the Ellsbury deal for the most recent, ridiculous example).
  • David O’Brien, Atlanta beat writer, tweeted about some potential interest by the Braves in Shark. Eh, I like their major league pitchers better than their prospects, but I’m not sure we could net any of those.
  • The Phillies filed a grievance with against the Cubs over the “mystery” injury that landed Lendy Castillo (whom the Cubs had to stash on their 40-man) on the DL for what the Phillies considered an inordinate amount of time. Teams do this all the time in order to keep a Rule 5 player and free up a roster spot, but it seems as though the Cubs have been called out on this one. The result is that the Cubs will lose their Rule 5 draft pick this year (they likely wouldn’t have selected anyone anyway, but you can be that at least one of the Cubs unprotected players will be selected).
  • Reportedly, Arodys Vizcaino has been throwing 98 mph with “electric” (according to Theo) stuff. That’s nice to hear! I’m predicting Vizcaino will be the Cubs closer at some point if he can stay healthy.
  • Bringing up Theo Epstein around here can be a dicey proposition, but I think it’s worth reading this quote (from his Sportstalk Live interview). Agree with it or not, I think it’s a nice capsulation of his philosophy. Think about this in contrast with some of the moves the Cubs made before his arrival: “When I see a deal like that [the Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees deal], I say: ‘Look, (who) wouldn’t rather have the first seven years of a star player’s career for $30 million versus the second seven years for $130 million or $150 million?’  You want the first seven years for $30 million and hopefully you work out a deal and you can keep him.”

I’m excited to see all the rumors that will start flying once the Winter Meetings start on Monday. Have a great weekend, and enjoy the hot stove!

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Sean Powell is a music education professor currently based in Georgia. He is also a co-host of VFTB Radio. He started following the Cubs in the 1985 season, growing up on WGN after-school broadcasts. Connect with Sean on Twitter @powell_sean or E-mail.