Checking in with the rumor mill is probably going to be a daily thing until the Trade Deadline arrives …
- The biggest rumor around baseball is the White Sox potentially making Chris Sale available at long last, which has every fanbase salivating at the prospect of bringing in the lefty ace. The price tag should be enormous given the 27-year-old’s age, production, and contract (cheap team control for three seasons after this one). It’s highly unlikely that the right trade opportunity comes along that meets the White Sox’s understandably high demands, but it’s a sexy storyline to watch. (And, yes, if the White Sox genuinely make Sale available in trade, the Cubs will be among the teams at least seeing what’s up.)
- The other big rumor development, relatively speaking, is the Padres’ shopping of Andrew Cashner and Melvin Upton Jr. (the latter of whom is, perhaps surprisingly to you, in his second straight really-not-too-shabby season). Late yesterday, there were multiple reports that the Orioles might be close to landing Upton in a deal involving Ubaldo Jimenez, but that would require the O’s to include some prospect talent, too. And those particulars have not yet, at this moment, been worked out. It sounds like the O’s like Cashner, too, which could make for an even bigger trade, though a number of other teams are interested in the big righty rental, too. The MLBTR piece does a good job of tracking everything that’s come out on this front over the past 24 hours, and it sure seems like something will happen with both players in the coming week. Possibly sooner.
- If you needed further confirmation that the Cubs’ interest in the A’s Josh Reddick is real, Jon Heyman adds to the mounting pile of reports. I don’t have much more to add that I didn’t already say in the past couple days, so we’ll just keep monitoring.
- Apropos of those Reddick rumors – and the odd Jay Bruce one – what about Mariners outfielder Seth Smith? There were some rumors of interesting there a couple offseasons ago, and Smith is still a very productive lefty bat at 33 (.273/.367/.449, 126 wRC+). If that’s something the Cubs have decided they absolutely want for left field*, then Smith might make plenty of sense. He’s making $6.8 million this year, and has a $7 million club option for next year. Unlike Bruce, Smith is not a butcher in the outfield, either. This is all speculation, mind you, because I haven’t heard anything new connecting the Cubs to Smith.
- *(It remains to be seen whether the Cubs actually feel that way, or whether it’s just a Reddick-specific thing. I know Chris Coghlan has his detractors, but, except for the week or two when he was possibly playing through his rib cage issue, Coghlan has always hit righties with the Cubs. Always. He’s rehabbing now, and could be back soon. If the Cubs prefer an upgrade, though, maybe they look at guys like Reddick and Smith, and decide to give more starts behind the plate to Willson Contreras. It certainly would maximize the offense, particularly with the greater ability to match up lefties and righties; but the question is whether Contreras is ready to handle a greater workload – and more diverse pitching styles – down the stretch.)
- The Royals are among the teams considering selling, and if they shopped closer Wade Davis (under control through next year on a $10 million team option), you’d assuredly find the Cubs very interested. Davis, 30, has the same incredible results this year as he’s had in recent years past, though the peripherals are considerably less dominant, for what it’s worth.
- Meanwhile, the Cubs’ other presumed target is an impact reliever in the bullpen, the most prominent of which is Andrew Miller. But the Yankees have gone on a modest winning stretch, putting them a couple games over .500. They’re just 6.5 games out in the AL East, though they are behind every team except the Rays. They’ve pulled to within 4.5 games of the second Wild Card spot, and would have to pass only three teams (at this point) to get into that position. Maybe they don’t end up selling after all. If you’re a fan of drama, root for some Yankee losses this week. Lots of them.
- If the Yankees do decide to trade Aroldis Chapman, though, the Nationals have made him their top priority, according to Bill Ladson. I don’t mention Chapman much as a Cubs target, you may have noticed. That’s both the product of a lack of specific rumors, and, to be quite honest, a lack of interest on my part. Chapman is perhaps one of the best relievers in baseball history and would make an enormous impact on a playoff-type team like the Cubs. No question about it. But, for me, there’s more to the question of Chapman than that, most importantly the disturbing domestic violence reports for which he was ultimately suspended to start the season. I want the Cubs to win. But, frankly, I don’t want to be confronted – personally – with the cognitive dissonance of having to choose between my excitement about the Cubs winning (maybe winning it all), and my concerns about the guy holding the ball when they do.