LOS ANGELES — If the Cubs plan to trade Carlos Villanueva this month in a waiver-wire deal, the right-hander only hopes they get what he’s worth.
As of Saturday afternoon, that was $1.
“I got traded for $75,000 once, but that’s just a number,” he said. “One dollar. That would be a good story I could tell.”
He could add it to the one about being traded as a Class A player in 2004 to the Brewers by Giants general manager Brian Sabean, who couldn’t remember his name.
“Yeah, it was, ‘We got this kid that can throw strikes and had a good breaking ball. You can take him if you want him,’ ’’ Villanueva said. “Look at me now. I’ve been [in the majors] nine years. It’s good. I’m not easily offended. It’s a funny story, and I guess it still is.”
If the Cubs make a move in August, it’s not likely to be for $1 (the amount they let David DeJesus go for to shed his salary when the Nationals claimed him last August).
And it might not cause much of a stir as stories go. But GM Jed Hoyer made it clear the Cubs haven’t stopped looking at trades just because the non-waiver deadline passed Thursday.
“We’ve already started work on that,” he said before the team left for Los Angeles on Thursday night. “I don’t know what’s going to happen in August, but certainly we’ll be prepared and potentially active.”
The August market typically starts to take shape as players start to clear waivers during the first few days and stays hot until contenders lock in their playoff-eligible rosters at the end of the month.
A pending free agent such as Villanueva figures to be a candidate, along with big-money starter Edwin Jackson, whose remaining $26 million on the final two-plus years of his contract make him a certainty to clear waivers.
“There’s a chance. There’s teams that still need a lot of players,” Villanueva said. “People get caught up sometimes in the hoopla of the trade deadline, but a lot of teams I’m sure want to do more.”
It’s going to be hard for teams to top one of the more active deadline days in recent memory. But teams such as the Dodgers make no secret about their intention to seek more help for the stretch run.
It was in August 2012 that the Dodgers and Red Sox pulled off the shocking nine-player trade involving three All-Stars going to L.A.
And the Dodgers just lost their equivalent of Villanueva, ex-Cub Paul Maholm, the sixth starter/long reliever who suffered a season-ending knee injury Friday night in the loss to the Cubs.
“I saw that. It’s tough,” Villanueva said. “You never know. There’s teams that always have needs. And sometimes it seems like a good fit on paper. But it all depends if teams are willing to part with you or make a deal.
“Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do, like I’ve done from Day 1. And [maybe] I can help them nab maybe a young guy like me when I got traded [from the Giants] when I was in rookie ball and nobody thought much of me.”