I already know your reaction to that headline, and it’s probably some variation of, “OK, bye Felicia.”
Buster Olney reports that rival executives “fully expect” the New York Yankees to trade both of their lefty relief studs Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman before the August 1 Trade Deadline, and they’ll do it by marketing Miller as the pricey option to Chapman’s steal-of-a-deal. Miller, you’ll recall, is under team control at $9 million per year for two seasons after this one. Chapman is a free agent after this season. Both are absurdly good.
As it pertains to the Cubs, specifically, Olney hears from one person in position to know who expects that the Yankees will ask the Cubs for Kyle Schwarber in an Andrew Miller deal, and, if the Cubs decline, the Yankees will move on.
We’ve heard about this rumor before, emanating out of New York, and it quickly became clear that the Cubs will not part with Schwarber for Miller, even as excellent as Miller is, and even as Schwarber is recovering from a season-ending knee injury.
So, then, perhaps the two sides will forever be at an impasse as it comes to Miller, who is otherwise the absolutely perfect trade target for the Cubs. The price tag on Miller should be extremely high, but if the Cubs can’t make a suitable package out of their copious amounts of prospect talent, they’re not going to deal from their young big league core to get a deal done.
That could leave the Cubs then turning to the next tier option, which is Chapman. We’ve discussed the peculiarly difficult issues with respect to the Cubs acquiring a player with his history, even if he is among the best relievers to ever throw a baseball. To me, the entire point of winning on the field is to produce joy in fans. So, then, if the way you go about creating those wins simultaneously produces genuine and legitimate discomfort in the fan base, I really think it’s worth considering carefully before pulling the trigger. I want the Cubs to win as much as anyone. But there are some costs at which I would not be comfortable seeing them win. And that’s to say nothing of any potential impact in the clubhouse, which must obviously be considered (because that, too, can impact the winning on the field).
It’s a complicated issue. And, since I feel like Miller is the better fit for the Cubs for purely baseball reasons anyway, he remains my preferred realistic Cubs target by a country mile.
Even if the Cubs cannot land Miller, there will be other relief options out there for them to target.