Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

shelby miller bravesIt’s no secret at this point that the Chicago Cubs are involved in talks with a variety of teams on a variety of young, controllable pitchers. Since I don’t think Carlos Carrasco will ultimately be moved, I find the most attractive realistic target for the Cubs to be the Braves’ Shelby Miller.

Yesterday, reports broke that the Cubs and Braves continued to discuss a possible Miller deal, even after things seemed to break off last week.

Then, overnight, one report had the Cubs and Braves close to a deal that would send Javier Baez – the subject of Rays-related rumors all day yesterday – to the Braves for Miller. That report was quickly rebuffed by a series of followups that indicated that, although the sides are talking, no deal is close.

So, then, things pretty much stand today where they stood yesterday: the Cubs are working several angles to acquire pitching, and it probably involves Javier Baez or Jorge Soler in those conversations. Although the specific Miller/Baez report overnight looks to have been a trigger pulled too quickly, I doubt it came entirely out of nowhere.

It’s not hard to see why there can be this kind of close-but-no-deal situation where you have a team with compelling, young positional talent like the Cubs, and a variety of pitching options out there for which to trade AND a robust free agent market. The Cubs are in the driver’s seat here, and they’re not going to pull the trigger short of the most ideal trade.

Don’t believe me? Consider this: how many big-time, young, controllable positional players are you hearing about on the rumor mill besides Baez and Soler? Virtually none. For all the talk of controllable pitching being valuable because of the pricey free agent market, at least those arms are plentiful and available. The same does not appear to be true on the positional side, especially when you’re talking about guys who are controllable for as long as Baez and Soler are.

That said, I think you can expect to see some activity today or tomorrow involving the Cubs. I’ve now heard enough from multiple sources to believe various talks have reached a stage that something significant is highly likely to happen, and it appears that I’m not alone, with Jesse Rogers and Sahadev Sharma hinting at the same.

The Cubs seem to have enough interesting options out there that they’re going to be able to do something compelling. I think they just want to make sure they get it right.

I’ll just be over here on pins and needles.

UPDATE: This morning on MLBN, Ken Rosenthal said that the Cubs are “out” on Shelby Miller. We’ll see what that means – the Cubs are, as you know, negotiating with a number of teams, and they may have decided there’s simply a better deal out there to be had – but you also know that these things are fluid. A team is out, then they’re in, then a robot shows up, then a guy is signed, then everybody dances, and it all changes.

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