Although not a new rumor, strictly speaking – the Cubs have been tied to various Rays starting pitchers going all the way back to the offseason, and as recently as three days ago – there is suddenly quite a bit more smoke connecting the Cubs and the Rays:

Although Bowden has a mixed track record at the rumor game, Marc Topkin is pretty much spot on when it comes to Rays-related rumors. So, if he’s heard the same as Bowden – that the Cubs are “in pursuit” of a Rays starter, then I’ll buy it.



We know the Cubs have desired a longer-term starter for a while now, even as they arguably don’t need an upgrade to this year’s rotation, a need could develop at any time – and once August 1 passes, the opportunities to patch a hole become dramatically restricted. Further, if teams are making deals now, why not try and add a piece that can help not only in 2016, but in 2017 and beyond?

But will anything actually come of these talks? I have some doubts, given this:

Christian Yelich, alone, would be an utterly bonkers ask for Matt Moore or Jake Odorizzi, so I suspect there may have been some wires crossed there. Stark later clarified:

In other words, what probably happened was the Marlins expressed some interested in the Rays’ controlled starters, but the Rays blanched by way of suggesting it would take young, positional, big league talent on the Marlins’ roster to get them. Since that’s not going to happen, nothing really went forward from there.

But it does underscore how pricey pitching is in this market, and how highly the Rays will value those guys (to say nothing of the debatably available Chris Archer). It’s fair to wonder if the Rays would want someone like Jorge Soler for Moore or Odorizzi, which would obviously be a significant price to pay for added 2016 rotation depth and some comfort in 2017 and beyond.

Moore and Odorizzi aren’t the only Rays starters who could be available, by the way; they just get the most mention because, given their escalating salaries, they seem to be the types of starters the Rays trade away. There are also guys like Alex Cobb (rehabbing Tommy John, would mostly be a 2017 piece), Blake Snell (an extremely interesting rookie … but why would the Rays move him?), Drew Smyly (bad results and some injury risk, but there’s a lot to like in the peripherals), and Matt Andriese (still far from arbitration, so Rays might not want to move him), for a handful of examples.



We’ll keep following this one …




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