Villanueva joins Cubs rotation SundayContinue reading.
Tick, tock — who’s on the trading block?
As the clock ticked inside 24 hours until Wednesday afternoon’s trade deadline, even some of the Cubs not associated with trade talks and speculation are bracing for anything.
“I got traded before, so I don’t think about it. But if somebody wants me and the Cubs want to deal me, then I’m gone, I guess,” said Carlos Villanueva, who pitched especially well Tuesday against Milwaukee until putting a couple of runners on in the seventh, exiting with one out and then watching James Russell give up a tying three-run homer.
Feeling most of the trade heat are guys like outfielders Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus and relievers Kevin Gregg and James Russell.
The Pirates, who need outfield help in particular, and the Tigers, who still appear in the market for bullpen help, are scouting this week’s series. The Pirates have followed the Cubs for two weeks.
Schierholtz and Gregg are the likeliest to be moved, industry sources believe.
Toronto also has followed the Cubs for the past week, but sources say the Blue Jays don’t look as much like 2013 buyers as a team looking for commodities into next season.
Few in the Cubs clubhouse have reason to assume anything after the busiest sellers in baseball this year already have spent much of July trading Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano, Scott Hairston, Scott Feldman and Carlos Marmol.
“I understand that’s part of the business,” said Villanueva, who has been a linchpin for a pitching staff without Matt Garza in the rotation to start the season and without Scott Feldman and Garza more recently because of trades. Villanueva was in the bullpen in between.
Villanueva, who didn’t get a decision in the 6-5 loss in the opener of Tuesday’s doubleheader, has a 4.33 ERA this season – 3.06 in 16 relief appearances, 4.62 in 13 starts.
Under contract through next year for the same $5 million he makes this year, Villanueva isn’t expected to be traded if only because of his value as key insurance as pitching depth for a club that figures to still be shuffling its roster deck again next year.
“I don’t lose much sleep over it,” Villanueva said. “For me as long as I’m wearing a Cubs uniform, I’m giving my heart out there every time, and I want to give the fans and everybody the best I’ve got.”