cole hamelsWith the Chicago Cubs likely buyers this year for the first time in the last several Trade Deadlines, we thought it would be appropriate to take a brief look at some of the teams that could become sellers. These teams could present possible fits for the Cubs should they look to improve externally. 

Possible Seller

Philadelphia Phillies

Record and Standings

  • Current Record: 29-62 (.319 W%)
  • Projected End of Season Record (PECOTA): 59-103
  • Standings: Last place in NL East, 20 games back of second Wild Card

Why They Might Be Sellers

There are only a handful of teams that appear to be sellers as strongly as the Philadelphia Phillies. Their current record, future outlook, and aging/expensive roster are just a few of the most notable reasons they might sell before this deadline.

How Soon They Could Be Ready to Sell

While it may take a bit longer for many teams to finally identify as sellers, the Phillies seem to be ready immediately. Although the recent hiring of Andy MacPhail makes movement feel more imminent, conversations may be delayed as he gathers a better understanding of his assets. With only two and half weeks left until the trade deadline, though, you can reasonably expect a move sooner rather than later.

Realistically Available Players That Might Interest the Chicago Cubs

  • Cole Hamels
    • Position: Starting Pitcher
    • Bats/Throws: L/L
    • Age: 31 years
    • Contract: $23.5M in 2015, same each year through 2018, plus 2019 club option at $20 million (or $24 million player option if it vests based on health)
    • 2015 Stats: 116.2 IP, 3.63 ERA (3.22 xFIP), .297 BABIP, 17.5 K-BB%, 2.2 WAR
    • Recent Rumors/News on Bleacher Nation: Here, here, here, here and here.
  • Jonathon Papelbon
    • Position: Reliever/Closer
    • Bats/Throws: R/R
    • Age: 34 years
    • Contract: $13 million in 2015, $13 million player option that vests if he finishes 29 more games this year
    • 2015 Stats: 33.2 IP, 1.60 ERA (3.26 xFIP), .267 BABIP, 20.3 K-BB%, .5 WAR
    • Recent Rumors/News on Bleacher Nation: Here, here, here, here and here.
  • Ben Revere
    • Position: Outfielder
    • Bats/Throws: L/R
    • Age: 27 years
    • Contract: $4.1 million in 2015, two arbitration years remaining
    • 2015 Stats: 350 PAs, .297/.337/.370, .328 BABIP, 5.4 BB%, 9.4 K%, 1.7 WAR
    • Recent Rumors/News on Bleacher Nation: Here and here.

Overall Fit with Cubs

I had considered including Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown in this conversation, but ultimately decided to omit both players. Lee has yet to throw in 2015, and Brown hasn’t quite performed at a high level in two years. The players listed above, though, are plausible, available and interesting.

There have been countless rumors surrounding Hamels and the Cubs, since the Cubs selected him off waivers last year, but with the expansive free agent market approaching, the Cubs may pass this time around. Papelbon was a very popular/discussed target in early June, but now that the Cubs’ bullpen has settled, there is not as much urgency to add a pricy (in terms of acquisition cost) back end type. And finally, there hasn’t been much on Revere since the offseason, but there is at least a superficial fit there. His youth, high contact skills, low strikeout rate and speed (21 stolen bases) could make him a nice complementary outfielder, if the price was right. I haven’t seen or heard of much smoke regarding Revere and the Cubs, though he’s recently been tied to the Pirates.

On the Phillies particular fit with the Cubs, I think it can be quite strong. The Phillies are (or should be) in full rebuild mode. At the very early stages – as we know – the only goal is straight-up talent acquisition. Even if the Phillies had multiple bright, young, cheap stars (they don’t), any talented, young prospect could be a match without fear of being blocked by a particular player. While this technically means they would match up with any team in baseball, few teams have the depth of prospect talent the Cubs have.

We’ll see if the Phillies’ demands change, though, because I do not see the Cubs’ parting with any of Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler or Kyle Schwarber for what Philadelphia has to offer.

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