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Wow. Ken Rosenthal got up today and started dropping bombs. First, there was his column about the Padres’ plans (which includes a great deal of Cubs-related implications), then there’s this:

Yowsa. Let’s take those one by one:

We talked briefly about Carlos Carrasco last week when Jeff Passan reported that the Indians were, essentially, taking calls on him. Here’s what I said at the time:

Jeff Passan reported that the Indians were willing to listen on Carlos Carrasco, a very good 28-year-old starter on a fantastic contract. Ken Rosenthal later confirmed, but said it would take a “haul” to get him. Clearly. The question I have: why would a small market club be willing to move Carrasco in the first place? Do they know something about his arm that other teams don’t? Is this all a smoke screen (the Blue Jays were specifically mentioned as having talked to the Indians about Carrasco – are they trying to drive down prices elsewhere)? Seems strange. But, sure, if Carrasco is really available, that’s a guy you have to explore.

Sounds like the Cubs are indeed exploring it, though I do still wonder why the Indians are willing to move him in the first place. Couple this with the Julio Teheran rumor (and the ongoing Tyson Ross rumors), and it’s clear that the Cubs would really like to pick up a cost-controlled, longer-term starter. I really like all of these possibilities, but, as I’ve said before, if something actually came to fruition, you’re going to have to prepare yourself for the steep cost.

It’s important to note that Rosenthal says only that the Cubs are “among” the teams engaging in talks with the Indians on Carrasco.

As for Hunter, the 29-year-old righty would be a pure rental – he’s a free agent after this year – and it sounds like the Cubs would be picking up the rest of what he’s owed this season ($1.5 million) and sending a prospect. That’s pretty specific, and makes you think this is down the road a bit. Hunter has been particularly good for the Orioles the last three years, and currently sports a 3.63 ERA/3.32 FIP/3.93 xFIP this year. A warning, though: he’s a high-contact, low-walk guy. He gets a lot of groundballs, at least. He’d be the kind of addition I’d have been looking for the Cubs to make in the bullpen (though maybe I’d prefer a high strikeout guy (who wouldn’t?)).

I wouldn’t take this as a “definitely happening” situation just yet. But it’s clearly a guy the Cubs are considering seriously.

And I’ll be very interested to see if there’s any follow-up from here on Carrasco.

UPDATE: Buster Olney lends some credence to the Tommy Hunter side of things:

UPDATE: Now on Carrasco:

You would certainly expect that to be true, which has me wondering why the Cubs are the team whose name comes out, specifically. Usually that’s done for a reason, and it could be that the Cubs are the most seriously engaged. Or it could also be that someone’s got an agenda – maybe the Cubs hope this serves as a nudge to the Padres? Maybe a competitor hopes it opens up an opportunity for themselves with another team? I’m not exactly sure, because there are so many possible explanations in these situations (and not all of them are conspiratorial, either). I suppose I’m just preaching caution.

UPDATE 2: A last minute Carrasco update:

That’s about what you figured the price would start with on Carrasco … and I have mixed feelings. I’d need more time to sort it out. I don’t know how these guys do it with so little time left.

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