Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

old stove featureThe Trade Deadline is less than three weeks away (make sure you help get yourself over-the-top coverage at the deadline), and the depths of the pool of sellers have still not been fully revealed. In the two Wild Card era, it seems like there is often discussion about there being a paucity of sellers, given that – for an example this year – no team in the AL is more than eight games out of a playoff spot. That second Wild Card always seems to be within reach.

But the sellers do always seem to emerge. I tend to think the equilibrium effect plays a part by the time July 30 and 31 roll around: if too few sellers have decided to sell, the buyers get a little more aggressive … and more sellers emerge. It’ll happen again this year. It just make take another couple weeks.

  • Take, for example, the Padres. After an offseason filled with extremely-aggressive, win-now deals, they find themselves 7.5 games back of the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot (behind four other teams), and 10.0 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West. The harsh reality is that they are probably done, even as painful as confronting that reality might be. Recent rumors and speculation have the Padres exploring possible moves, including dealing James Shields, whom they just signed to a big money contract in the offseason. Sure enough, Peter Gammons hears they are poking around:

  • Ken Rosenthal discusses in a video the possible fit between the Cubs and the Padres’ pitching.
  • Nick Cafardo’s latest explores, among other things, five teams that need to make a move as quickly as possible, one of which Cafardo considers to be the Cubs. They need a quality starter, a bullpen arm, and a bat, according to Cafardo (I say yes, eh, and yes-ish), who suggests they match up well with the Phillies, Mets, Reds, A’s and White Sox. The latter two teams have the kind of big-time, controlled arms you know the Cubs would want – Sonny Gray and Chris Sale – but I would describe actually putting together a trade for those players as an extreme long-shot.
  • Cafardo also mentions Ben Zobrist, by the way, but not in connection with the Cubs. There was a time when Zobrist, whom the Cubs pursued in the offseason, was rumored to be a potential top Cubs trade target.

  • The Pirates are apparently looking to improve their outfield depth, having reportedly spoken with the Phillies about Ben Revere and Jeff Francoeur. Pirates GM Neal Huntington sees a slow market this year in part because teams are less willing to engage in longer rebuilds than they used to be – that means fewer prospects for big leaguer trades, as opposed to big leaguer for big leaguer or ML-ready for big leaguer trades, which are more difficult to consummate.
  • Other teams expect the Reds to become sellers in the next few days, according to Jon Heyman.
  • Clay Buchholz was brief trade rumor/speculation arm – not necessarily Cubs-specific, or any team-specific, mind you – but he was just placed on the DL with a right flexor strain. He probably wasn’t going to get moved by the Red Sox, even if they do consider themselves out of the race.
  • You think Jonathan Papelbon wants to be traded? Welp:

  • A final plug, because we’re so close to the first goal – sponsoring a child’s wish:

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