The Chicago Cubs have already begun making moves this summer, principally acquiring left-handed reliever Mike Montgomery from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Dan Vogelbach (plus a swap of pitching prospects), but they aren’t likely done yet.
In fact, Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, essentially said the Cubs are as open to other moves now as they were before the trade, because they still haven’t dipped into their top prospect currency.
In the meantime, rumors have been flying all around baseball regarding a number of high-profile players (including with respect to the Cubs), some of which we haven’t really heard anything about in the recent weeks. So let’s dig right in and see what’s what.
- First, the Cleveland Indians are reportedly discussing the acquisition of catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers. Although he would represent a huge upgrade over the status quo, however, Ken Rosenthal has heard that the they’re more likely to stick with their current catching tandem of Roberto Perez and Chris Gimenez and Jon Heyman calls it a long shot, for now. But there has been a lot of smoke here, and even rumors regarding the Brewers desired return (relievers). Indeed, if Lucroy is to be shopped, his price will undoubtedly be high. In 2016, he looks a heck of a lot like his former self: .305/.362/.492 with plus defense and pitch framing behind the plate. The Cubs will not be involved, of course, but they do play the Brewers many more times this season.
- Amidst the Lucroy rumors and Cubs/Mariners trade yesterday, word broke out that the Padres were hopping to trade starting pitcher Andrew Cashner before tomorrow’s (now today’s) start. It not longer appears that that’s going to be the case, but that doesn’t make a move any less likely overall. In fact, the Padres are widely expected to trade Cashner before the August 1 deadline, and the Orioles an Marlins are two teams that have reportedly spoken to the Padres about completing a deal. In the background, the Rangers, too, have been linked to Cashner (as they have to just about every starting pitcher), but nothing concrete has been reported. Given the Cubs interest in a starting pitcher but lack of connection to Cashner, you’d like to see him traded sooner rather than later, to take a potential competitor for another starting pitching trade target off the board.
- Just as the Yankees hold the keys to the relief treasure chest this deadline, the Rays may hold the keys to the starters. According to Jim Bowden, the Rays are likely to move either or both of Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi. Moore is a 27-year-old left handed starter with a 4.33 ERA in 2016 and 1.5 years of control remaining and Odorizzi is a 26-year-old right handed starter with a 4.31 ERA and 3.5 years of control remaining. Although neither have gotten great results this season, both have a fair amount of upside and have been connected to the Chicago Cubs in the past.
- But even as it would be nice to acquire either one of those Rays starters, the real gem of the rotation, Chris Archer, may have just been made available. No, Archer is not producing the way he has the past three years, but the former Cubs prospect is still just 27 years old with a ton of upside and 3.5 years of cheap control (plus two cheap team options thereafter). He is precisely the type of young, long-term starter the Cubs would target. Unfortunately, it might not be up to them. According to Jayson Stark, an executive who has been talking with the Rays says that the best fit might be with the Dodgers, adding that there’s a 70% chance Chris Archer winds up in Los Angeles. While the Cubs would love a shot at Archer (and you can bet they’d be involved no matter what, if Archer were actually shopped), the Dodgers young starting pitching prospects might not be something the Cubs could match in a package. This will be an interesting one to follow.
- You know what would really throw the market for a loop? The White Sox trading Chris Sale. According to Jon Heyman, the Sox (46-48) may be willing to sell this summer, although they remain very reluctant to do so. Moreover, even if they do decide to sell, it does not sound like Sale would be available in the slightest. In fact, Rosenthal is reporting that a source claims the White Sox were offered a “king’s ransom” for Sale in the last 48 hours, but responded with a flat no. I guess it never hurts to ask.
- After the Red Sox traded for the D-backs closer, Brad Ziegler, some controversy spun, when an unnamed executive complained to reporters that their team offered a better package for Ziegler and that Tony La Russa only took the deal with the Red Sox because of his former White Sox connections to Dave Dombrowski. Since then, however, Jon Heyman spoke with D-Backs GM Dave Stewart, who says he was actually the one that did the deal, not La Russa. Taking it a step further, Stewart came out in support of La Russa, claiming that he would never compromise the organization in anyway, let alone settling for a player who doesn’t make sense.
- At Today’s Knuckleball, Jon Heyman writes that the Cubs have nearly resigned themselves to coming up empty on the starter front this summer, because they “they don’t desire to trade one of their many great prospects for a mid-rung insurance policy, which is what’s mostly populating the market.” That said, he claims that the Cubs are a creative team and that word has gotten around that they are one of a couple teams to have inquired about young Mariners starters James Paxton and Taijuan Walker – two names not previously discussed. Heyman also claims that the A’s are “not engaging” anyone on Sonny Gray and the Braves are still saying no to Julio Teheran. Rich Hill might actually be the best option remaining firmly on the market. Other potential names include Andrew Cashner and Jeremy Hellickson.
- In the same article, Heyman claims that Andrew Miller still sits firmly atop the Cubs wish list, even after acquiring Mike Montgomery, but they would still take Aroldis Chapman if need be. Once again, Heyman openly wonders if the Cubs would move Kyle Schwarber for both Chapman and Miller, but admits that Schwarber is as untouchbale as Cubs players come, even if Theo Esptein isn’t technically admitting it.
- And if you missed it earlier today, the Cubs are reportedly still eyeing Josh Reddick.