A brief history of Tigers-Cubs trade rumors
The first thing I thought when the Carlos Marmol trade rumor popped up yesterday was that this sounds familiar — maybe not the Marmol part, but the Tigers-Cubs part. Baseball has almost as many Chicago-Detroit connections scheduled as the airlines do. The second thing is that it seems awfully early for a Tigers-Cubs trade rumor. But looking back, they’ve popped up all over the calendar.
In the summer of 2009, it was Milton Bradley.
After 2009, it was Curtis Granderson speculated as a possibility for his hometown Cubs for then-prospect Starlin Castro (which the Cubs would never do) or some other prospect package.
Two years ago, it was Aramis Ramirez, first as a Cub and later as a free agent.
Last winter, when the Tigers had an open rotation spot, it was Matt Garza, whom the Cubs would supposedly deal to Detroit for Jacob Turner and Rick Porcello, which defeated the purpose of filling the open rotation spot. The Tigers asserted they would not trade Turner for Garza straight up.
Last July, when the Tigers needed a second baseman, it was Darwin Barney. Then later that month, it was Alfonso Soriano, whom the Tigers were reportedly working to acquire at the deadline. Then it was Reed Johnson, who ended up going to the Braves instead.
This winter, it was Soriano again. Then it was the three-team deal for Porcello that would get J.J. Hardy from the Orioles to the Tigers, and maybe the Cubs would force them to take Soriano too while they were at it.
Now, just as the Tigers reportedly begin weighing the idea of trading for a closer, it’s Marmol, whom the Tigers will take a good, hard look according to one report out of Chicago, but whom the Tigers haven’t yet discussed with Chicago according to another report.
The Tigers have pulled off one trade with the Cubs in this stretch. They acquired Jeff Baker for a player to be named later, after reportedly trying for Soriano, then for Reed Johnson.
I’m not saying a Carlos Marmol trade would never happen. In fact, the way the Tigers do their scouting work, it wouldn’t surprise me if they did have a scout in Spring Training take a look at Marmol, though his walk rate was crazy high last season. Nor am I saying that none of these other rumors were ever close to happening.
Still, three of the four highest-paid Cubs this year (Soriano, Garza, Marmol) have been tied in trade rumors with the Tigers at some point in the last 15 months. The fourth is the one who has been a Tiger, and that’s Edwin Jackson. He was traded from Detroit to Arizona in the same three-team deal that included Granderson, which would bring us full circle if not for that Milton Bradley rumor.