Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

old stove featureA brief sojourn from the frustrations of the day …

  • As expected, even with Ryan Hanigan going down with a broken finger, creating yet another catching need around the league, the Cubs aren’t expecting to make a quick move to trade Welington Castillo. In addition to noting how well the three-catcher setup has worked for the Cubs this year – and how it provides cover in case of injury – Theo Epstein pointed out the annual reality to CSN: “There’s typically not a lot of trade talk this time of year. [It’s] more check-in-type phone calls than anything else. Usually this time of year, if [teams] have needs, they look to internal solutions first.” Obviously that’s what the Red Sox have down for now with top catching prospect Blake Swihart, but we’ll see where they – and the rest of the league – stand as we get into next month.
  • Indeed, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulous says he’s not expecting any real trade activity until after the draft (Ben Nicholson-Smith), even though there had been speculation in other quarters that this might be the rare year with a lot of pre-draft movement. There’s a human reality to the trade market: not only are teams getting to know what they have before making moves, the front offices and scouting departments are often very focused on the draft, itself. And it only takes a handful of teams that say “No, we’re not really interested in even discussing trades until after the draft” for the ripple effect to grind everything to a halt.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin essentially told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the same thing. It almost sounds like the Brewers are ready to start unloading immediately, but they can’t quite do it yet. Expect the Brewers to be big sellers this year – and the Reds might join them.

  • And then, of course, there are the Phillies, the most obvious seller of them all. As Nick Cafardo writes, they’re ready to sell when teams are ready to buy.
  • When teams finally do start making moves, it sounds like the Astros – leading the AL West – are going to be buyers, and may look to upgrade their rotation (Houston Chronicle).
  • Despite earlier rumors, reliever Grant Balfour isn’t signing with the Cubs – he’s headed back to the Rays, who released him, on a minor league deal. Essentially, he gets to keep his money, but the Rays got to move him down to the minors without an option.

  • The Cubs picked up bullpen depth, in any case, in the forms of Anthony Varvaro and Daniel Schlereth. We may never see either one with the big league team, but depth is depth.
  • The Marlins could not find a trade partner for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, so they’ve released him. He’s now available for the Major League minimum (or a minor league deal if he can’t find a big league one).

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