The BN Blogathon starts bright and early tomorrow morning at 5am CT, and I am READY.
I’ll be writing, tweeting, live-streaming, snapping, and everything else about the Cubs and activity around the league – constantly – for 39 hours straight, leading up to and past Monday’s MLB Trade Deadline. That’s because you all were so very generous in your donations to Make-A-Wish (it’s not too late to give, by the way!).
I’ll also be doing portions of the Blogathon from spots around Wrigleyville, which hopefully adds a little fun. That’ll include tomorrow night’s game against the Mariners (which is going to be challenging, to say the least – the reception there, when the place is packed, is not always great).
All right, a set of rumors and news as you wind down your evening, and I get ready to hopefully sleep very soundly …
- The big news of the afternoon, of course, was the Pirates trading closer Mark Melancon to the Nationals, which we discussed earlier. That doesn’t mean they’re selling off or waving a white flag, though, and Ken Rosenthal says they’ve talked to the Rays, among other teams, about picking up a starting pitcher.
- And that wasn’t the only big trade of the day, with the Padres sending Matt Kemp (wait, wuh?) to the Braves (HUH?) for Hector Olivera (WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING?!?!?!). Although certainly strange for the players and teams involved, the deal actually makes plenty of sense when you dig in: the Padres are sending some cash along with Kemp, but they’re still saving money even when accounting for adding Olivera’s contract (he’s expected to be dropped). So then, the Padres save money while they rebuild, and the Braves get Kemp for the next three years for around $15 million total. Kemp is nothing like he was five years ago, but $5 million per year on a chance he can still be useful? Why not?
- Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy has been in rumors for over a year, but it now finally seems like he will be traded. The 30-year-old catcher (who is under control through 2017 on a cheap team option) has rebounded in a big way in 2016 after a down 2015, and he’s going to be a huge upgrade for some playoff hopeful team. Which one? No one seems to know for sure right now, but the Brewers have admitted that they’re holding Lucroy out of the lineup tonight (and presumably tomorrow as well, if necessary) because talks have progressed. Right now, the best guess on the teams:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2016
- A lot of folks have asked me if I think the Cubs could be involved, and I really don’t. So much of Lucroy’s value is that 2017 club option, and because of it, the price tag in trade is going to be enormous. Would the Cubs pay that much in trade, knowing that they’ve got Willson Contreras ready to go for next year, Miguel Montero already under contract for $14 million, and Kyle Schwarber returning from injury (and theoretically plausible for a start a week)? The 2016 Cubs would unquestionably be better with Lucroy – almost every team would be – but he’s not a rental. And the Cubs have three catchers on the roster as is. No, it hasn’t been a bright spot overall, but it hasn’t been the disaster some would have you believe.
- The other big NL Central name being bandied about on the rumor mill is Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, who is also controlled through 2017 via a team option. Briefly connected to the Cubs, Bruce is another guy who I don’t see the Cubs making a major push for, mostly for the same reasons I just laid out with respect to Lucroy (just change the catcher stuff to outfield stuff). Also, Bruce’s defense is frighteningly bad. In any event, it does sound like lots of serious trade talks are going on around the league involving Bruce, and something is likely to happen.
- Oof for the Royals, as trade chip (and closer, if they don’t sell) Wade Davis is having an MRI on his forearm. Remember those rumors that the Royals were demanding more for Davis than the Yankees were for Andrew Miller? About that …
- Similarly, Rich Hill is now on the DL with his blister issue, which is going to make it very difficult for the A’s to maximize his trade value. The timing could not have been worse for them, especially given how thin the starting pitching trade market is.
- That market gets a lot better if the White Sox seriously entertain offers for ace Chris Sale. Sounds like they are kinda considering offers, but only huge ones:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 29, 2016
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 29, 2016
- Jon Heyman dropped a column today with a ton of bits on every team, including speculation that, despite all the rumors, the Rays won’t ultimately end up trading anyone. Speaking of which:
Sources: Matt Moore emerging as likeliest trade candidate from TB. Steven Pearce will be dealt. Rays should be very active in next 72 hours.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 29, 2016
- Moore, 27, is controlled via team options the next three years ($7.5 million, $9 million, and $10 million), which would make him exceedingly attractive … if you knew what you were going to get. It’s clear that Moore isn’t the guy he was before Tommy John surgery, and his numbers overall this year are pretty middling. Getting Moore would be a bet on continued improvement – it’s a bet I’d be interested in seeing the Cubs take, since they’ll need arms with upside in the coming years, but I don’t think they should give up a significant haul to get Moore. It all depends a bit on what scouts are seeing, and what they think Moore can be next year when he’s even further removed from surgery.
- Wade Miley may have gotten himself traded with his great performance today against the Cubs. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m serious: the guy looked ridiculously good. I don’t know what’s gone wrong for him the rest of the year, but the guy I saw today would make any team better.
- By the way, I think it’s safe to believe that the Yankees really, truly were not going to trade Andrew Miller for anything less than Kyle Schwarber:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 29, 2016
for the record, yankees would not do this https://t.co/dPM9QZdJk2
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 29, 2016
- I’m about as Miller-happy as anyone, but the best pitching prospect in baseball for a guy signed to a regular-ole free agent contract? Yes please.