Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

old stove featureIt’s here. Trade Deadline week. So much to get into …

  • Jon Morosi reports that the Cubs are “on the periphery” of Cole Hamels trade discussions, which could be read in two ways: (1) the Cubs are still involved, lurking and ready; or (2) the Cubs are barely involved, waiting to see only if the price drops to opportunistic levels. I’d speculate that the Cubs would be closer to the latter type of “on the periphery,” which squares with what’s always made sense about a Cubs pursuit of Hamels. If it’s a great deal, then sure, go for it. Why not, right? Hamels makes as much sense for the Cubs right now (and the next three years) as virtually any other team. But, as has been the anthem for nearly a year at this point, giving up impact prospects for Hamels probably doesn’t make sense when the Cubs could get a rental for the final two months of the year (the odds that Hamels would be a difference-maker for them this season in the stretch and, most notably, in the playoffs, are dwindling), and then explore the robust free agent market after the season. So, if the Cubs were going to be in on Hamels at all, you’d expect them to stay in touch, see what happens with other offers, and see if they can get him without giving up any of their top tier impact guys (or, alternatively, if they can get the Phillies to eat a bunch of salary).
  • Speaking of the waiting approach:

  • Given how many interesting rentals are available and realistically within the Cubs’ range – Leake, Latos, Kennedy, for example, plus maybe Samardzija, and probably not Price – and how few buyers seem to be looking at that class of starter, I don’t have a problem with the Cubs waiting until the very end. I do get a little nervous about the Cubs then failing to land a guy (they might need rotation depth as badly as any team), but I’m sure the front office is keeping a pulse on the market, and I doubt too many of those guys get moved without the Cubs at least having a chance to see what they can do about it.

  • Also: interesting that Rosenthal chose, specifically, to list Ian Kennedy as his example there.
  • A quietly important point on the rental starter market:

  • That means the salary part of the deal had the Royals paying barely $2 million for their 2+ months of an ace in Johnny Cueto. The excellent return the Reds got still looks solid, but slightly less so when you consider that almost every other rental starter out there – from a David Price type to an Ian Kennedy type – has more salary remaining on his deal. That will absolutely impact the return, and it’s not quite fair to say that the Reds got a massive haul for Cueto, and thus the market is more expensive than we thought. (Which is also because Cueto was one of the best pitchers available.)
  • On Price, it’s still not clear if the Tigers really will sell off their ace, and a decision might not come until late in the week.

  • The Padres are really, really pushing to trade away some pieces, per Jon Heyman (and many other reports, actually). There are tons of fits for the Cubs, obviously, as we’ve discussed at length. The name we haven’t discussed is former young star Jedd Gyorko, who was signed to an extension before the 2014 season and promptly fell on hard times. Would the Cubs consider a Gyorko-Starlin Castro swap, perhaps with other pieces involved? Gyorko’s contract is more modest, though his upside is lower than Castro’s (and Castro is actually younger). I’m definitely not on the “dump Castro” bandwagon, and Gyorko has crashed as hard as Castro – but there are angles to this (again, involving other players) that could be interesting to explore.
  • Lots of buzz today about the A’s getting close to trading reliever Tyler Clippard, who’s had an uncharacteristically down season (the ERA is good, but everything else has been dodgy); Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets are working on a Clippard deal with the A’s, and something is expected – I guess with the Mets or otherwise – soon.
  • The Cardinals have reportedly talked to the Brewers about Adam Lind, who would be a huge bump for them at first base. I say go for it, Cardinals. Give up something significant to get him, too.
  • The Pirates could be looking for another bat like Mike Napoli or Shane Victorino (Rob Biertempfel).
  • Carlos Gomez is drawing interest on the trade market (because he’s good), with the Rangers and Indians coming in for mention by Ken Rosenthal.

  • The Giants are looking for another starter, but want it to be a Hamels-Price type for the top of their rotation (Jayson Stark).
  • In that same piece, Stark adds that most teams expect the Orioles not to sell. Oh, and as I’m typing:

  • If you missed any of the rumor-type-stuff today: the Cubs could look to the Rays for a reliever, and the Cubs are still in on Ben Zobrist.
  • Speaking of Zobrist, I mentioned earlier that the price is likely to be high because he fits for so many teams, and Jeff Passan mentions some possible prospect names in his latest (not Cubs prospects) – they’re quality pieces. Lots of other interesting stuff in Passan’s piece.
  • Speaking of Zobrist redux, if you were thinking of Martin Prado as a back-up plan, Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins don’t really want to move him unless they get a big offer. Prado, 31, is making $11 million each of this and next year, and is hitting just .273/.312/.369 in a season in which he’s missed time with a shoulder issue. I don’t see “merits big return” flashing in lights there.
  • If the Tigers decide to sell, is there any chance they’d move Ian Kinsler? No rumor here, just thinking out loud. The argument for Detroit to keep him, of course, is that he’s under control through 2017, so there’s no need to pull the trigger. But he’s 33, and is owed about $35 million from now through 2017. I just wonder. And then, of course, the other question is whether a team like the Cubs could have interest. It may seem crazy at first blush, but there’s a domino effect that could make a lot of sense (explored a little bit when the Cubs-Howie Kendrick rumor came up). Kinsler is slowing down a bit, but is still quite good.
  • This seems like a good place to remind folks to be following BN on Twitter, and liking it on Facebook. And if you do like it on Facebook, make sure you do this:

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Posted by Bleacher Nation on Sunday, July 26, 2015

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