Well, this is funny.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I had an entire Lukewarm Stove written and ready to go just moments before the Cubs announced their big trade for White Sox starter Jose Quintana.
Alas, everything I had written about the Cubs targeting a certain tier of starting pitchers is probably not quite as useful, knowing what we know now. With that said, this may be the Cubs’ biggest move of the trade season, but that does not mean it has to be the last.
And in any case, there are still other tangentially related rumors percolating around the league and division, so we’re definitely going to keep our ears open. For example …
- In case you forgot, the Cubs are not only 5.5 games back of the first-place Brewers, they’re also tied for second place with the Cardinals. The Cardinals may not be projected to win as many games as the Cubs the rest of the way, but their proximity to first might force them to make a move for a bat before the deadline. According to Derrick Goold at St. Louis Today, the Cardinals are still trying for a middle of the order bat this summer. But not unlike the Cubs, this is something that’ll ramp up if they find themselves in a better position a week from now. For what it’s worth, they were previously connected to Josh Donaldson, though that particular rumor hasn’t had carried much weight lately.
- The Cubs were connected to as many as four different Detroit Tigers this season (pitchers Justin Verlander, Daniel Norris, and Michael Fulmer, as well as catcher Alex Avila), but will the Tigers even trade one of them? According to manager Brad Ausmus, probably not. “People keep talking about all these names that could be traded,” he said via Michigan Live. “The truth is the majority of them are probably going to still be here when it’s all said and done.”
- Now that the Cubs have acquired Quintana, I’d probably squash those hopes for Fulmer – they simply don’t have the pieces to pull it off (without dipping into their Major League roster, which they won’t this season). However, could they pull off a slightly lesser trade for starter Daniel Norris or catcher Alex Avila? Absolutely. The Cubs still have the sort of prospects who could get a deal like that done, the question is how empty will they let the cupboard get?
- Now that FoxSports has, for some ridiculous reason, decided to go all-video, the prolific and talented writer Ken Rosenthal is without a place to write. But that doesn’t mean he’s not still writing. In an “article” on his Facebook page, Rosenthal drops some pretty interesting rumors regarding two very talented Marlin outfielders. Indeed, Rosenthal has heard (apparently from three different sources) about a theoretical trade that could Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich to the Philadelphia Phillies. Which, wow. That would be pretty insane, but it’s not even the best part.
- For some obvious reasons, Rosenthal suggests that trade might not be entirely plausible right now – there’s just too much money and star power moving around in the same division. But that’s almost exclusively related to Stanton. The Phillies, it seems, have been very vocal about their desire to land Yelich … and that’s where the Cubs come in. According to Rosenthal, if Yelich is actually made available this summer, “A contender such as the Cubs likely would be more motivated,” to acquire him. Because this is such a loose Cubs rumor right now, I won’t get too far down the rabbit hole, but this is exactly why you can’t tune out after one big trade. Crazy stuff can and will happen in baseball, you know.
- Indeed, at MLB.com, Jon Morosi connects the Chicago Cubs to Tigers’ catcher Alex Avila once again. Avila is having a fantastic season with Detroit and would pair really well with the Cubs young catcher, Willson Contreras. As far as the most likely remaining impact moves, Alex Avila is probably the biggest one.
- And finally, San Francisco Giants’ executive Brian Sabean said that the Giants are “open for business,” as far as trades go over the next few weeks. Players like Hunter Pence, Denard Span, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Moore, Brandon Belt, and Johnny Cueto could all be on the block. As far as the Cubs are related, they were connected to Cueto and Samardzija as recently as last month and Matt Moore, before he was traded to the Giants last season. Will they bite now that they’ve acquired Quintana? I’d say it’s certainly less likely, but you never know. In any case, the Giants are said to want Major League ready players/prospects in return, not lower level guys. Fortunately, the Cubs do still have some nice Major League ready guys hanging out in Triple-A (Jeimer Candelario, Mark Zagunis chief among them).