Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

shelby miller bravesAs we know, the Chicago Cubs will be exploring a wide range of options for picking up pitching this offseason, and that will include exploring trade possibilities with teams that have controllable young starters and who are looking for young positional talent.

Those explorations, reportedly, have included the Braves, who have 25-year-old righty Shelby Miller to shop. On that front, one suggested – as opposed to rumored – trade involved the Cubs sending arguably two of their top three prospects, Willson Contreras and Billy McKinney, to the Braves for Miller. I broke down that trade possibility here this weekend.

But would that even be enough for the Braves? Would it even be the type of return they want?

Consider a report just out from Jon Heyman in which he reports some of the Braves’ asking prices in discussions for Miller, whom it appears is very much available, and in whom some 20 teams are interested. From the Yankees, the Braves reportedly wanted young big-league-ready pitcher Luis Severino.From the Marlins, it was big league outfielder Marcell Ozuna (plus more). From the Dodgers, it was big league outfielder Joc Pederson (plus more; the mention of Pederson has now been scrubbed in an updated version of Heyman’s article. It sounds like Heyman heard negative info on that after publishing, but it’s not clear that the Braves didn’t ask for Pederson – just that the Dodgers weren’t interested at that price). In general, Heyman hears that the Braves’ asks have been “very aggressive.”

In other words, the Braves seem to be angling their asks toward lots of impact young players who can step right onto their big league roster and contribute from day one. Perhaps, then, prospects like Contreras and McKinney, each of whom needs more minor league seasoning, wouldn’t be their preference?

The Cubs do have players like Javier Baez and Jorge Soler who could theoretically be moved for pitching, though I think you can have a very fair debate about whether trading either one of those players for Miller, straight up, would be the right move for the Cubs. Given Heyman’s report, though, it’s reasonable to wonder if those are some of the names coming up if or when the Cubs engaged the Braves on Miller.

I still wonder if the Braves will instead (or also) look to move Julio Teheran, who is 24, perhaps more projectable than Miller, but also perhaps more risky. Unlike Miller, who will have three passes at arbitration, Teheran is already on a guaranteed contract that will pay him at least $29.6 million through 2019 (or $40.6 million through 2020). I’m not sure Teheran nets the Braves as much in return, but the bonus is clearing that salary (which, for whatever reason, seemed to be an attractive thing to do with respect to the Andrelton Simmons deal). For the Cubs, I’m intrigued by the idea of Teheran because of his upside and because he’s coming off a down year after looking like he was breaking out. Maybe the price tag wouldn’t be as “aggressive” as with Miller.

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