I’ve reached the point of the Blogathon where the days in the run-up to the Blogathon and the Blogathon itself start to bleed together a little bit. I thought perhaps the latest on the Cubs and Rays was earlier today – well, yesterday now, I guess – but it was actually the day before. See what I mean? It all runs together.

In any case, the latest had the Cubs “in pursuit” of a cost-controlled Rays starter, per a report out of Tampa Bay.

And now here’s this from Bruce Levine:



I think it’s been safe to say for a while that the Cubs would love to add a longer-term, younger, cost-controlled starting pitcher, both for the future and for the near-term depth. Although the rotation is nice and full right now, the Cubs don’t have much in the way of ready depth behind them (what if one of the starting five gets hurt next week? what if two of them get hurt?).

Ideally, then, the Cubs would add a starter with multiple years of control, figure out how that pitcher slots into the current rotation, and then have some solid carryover into 2017 and beyond. The Rays, as we’ve discussed, have a whole lot of options that might fit that bill. Marc Topkin says the Cubs were among the teams scouting the Rays this weekend.

The Cubs wouldn’t be the only team in on those starters, though, as Levine’s tweet says, and also per Ken Rosenthal, for one specific example:

Given the Rays’ standing and cache of arms – some of whom, like Moore and Jake Odorizzi, figure to get expensive soon – I’d be very surprised if they didn’t take advantage of this weak trade market and net some prospects by moving at least one arm.

Whether it’s the Cubs or not, that remains to be seen. But there’s no reason not to buy Levine’s report that the Cubs are at least trying (probably with teams other than the Rays, too, and probably with starters we haven’t even considered as being “available” yet).



UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal largely confirms Levine’s report, while adding what we expected was true about outfield upgrades:

It’s not a given that the Cubs will be able to get anything done on the pitching front before the 3pm CT deadline passes, but I like that they’re still working on it.

UPDATE 2: Still some smoke:

Obviously the players the Rays want from the Cubs will depend on the pitchers the Cubs want from the Rays. And since each side has a host of plausible options, we’re all just playing guessing games.


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