The Trade Deadline is but a week away, which means there are so many different tracks to be following. Rumors and trades from around the league have direct or tangential implications for the Cubs, and the team has been attached to a variety of relievers, catchers, and, yes, still some starting pitchers.
To that end, at this point, even when the update is “yeah, this is still a thing, but there’s no hard update”, that’s still worth discussing:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 24, 2017
The Cubs have been attached to Alex Avila and Justin Verlander for a good long while now, and the fact that the sides are still talking is notable.
With Verlander, the issue remains the contract, which allows for the 34-year-old righty to be controlled through 2019 via $28 million annual salaries, and then a $22 million team option in 2020. Control? Good. That level of salary? Not so much. Throw in some reasonably significant performance-related concerns this year (albeit after he was a should-be-Cy-Young-winner last year), and it’s hard to imagine giving up much of anything in return unless the Tigers were eating a huge amount of salary.
As for Avila, the Cubs are clearly looking for a veteran catcher to add, and although Avila is not your typical defensively-inclined veteran backup, he’d certainly be an additive piece for the Cubs, both at the plate and behind it, as the Cubs could then ease up on the heavy usage of Willson Contreras, could option Victor Caratini back to AAA to continue developing, and could instantly have more depth and protection in case of injury.
Yesterday, we talked about the other notable back-up catcher trade option for the Cubs in Jonathan Lucroy, who is himself having a terribly down year – basically a polar opposite situation from Avila, who’d languished with injuries and ineffectiveness for a few years before exploding at the plate this season. The price tag on Avila figures to be more significant than for Lucroy at this time.