As promised, the rumor mill has not shut down for the day!
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- Ken Rosenthal writes about the Cubs’ impending and low luxury tax number for next season, as it relates to the potential acquisition of Justin Verlander. According to Rosenthal, the Cubs are committed to only $74.6 million for luxury tax purposes right now for 2018 (though this doesn’t count arbitration players, other 40-man players, or insurance/health/benefits/etc. (which also counts towards the luxury tax, and is usually a minimum of $10M). But to be fair, even when all of that is taken into consideration, the Cubs will clearly have the space to add Verlander beyond this season, and there will still be a long-term need in the rotation, even after adding Jose Quintana.
- Of course, is that really the way the Cubs want to go? With expectedly big and simultaneous raises coming for a lot of arbitration players in the coming years plus the ENORMOUS free agent class after next season, the Cubs may not want to commit so many dollars to Verlander ($28 million in each of 2018 and 2019) – let alone the roughly $75 million in luxury tax dollars in 2019 to a potentially older and/or less effective trio of Justin Verlander, Jon Lester, and Jason Heyward alone.
- Still, Rosenthal connects the Cubs to Verlander and suggests the interest is still very real. It seems that this is all going to come down to the Tigers accepting the fact that they will not be getting both a solid return and ridding themselves of Verlander’s contract in full. It’ll be one or the other – prospects or money – and until that happens, ain’t nothing gonna happen.
- And for some extra smoke, Bruce Levine writes about the Cubs and Verlander, hearing from sources that the best fits for Verlander are the Cubs and Dodgers.
- And for some extra extra smoke (not that we need it at this point):
Verlander said again it felt like college pitching in front of scouts, one of which was from Cubs.
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 25, 2017
- Beck later added that Verlander’s 119th pitch during last night’s start was a 98 MPH fastball. Say what you want about his results, but the dude can still throw it. Maybe the Cubs see something that can help him get back to his Cy Young finalist form of last season, or at least carry forward as a quality mid-rotation arm for the next few years.
- Keep in mind on Verlander and his contract: he has no-trade rights, and it’s possible he would use them to force a trading team to guarantee his 2020 option ($22 million, otherwise doesn’t vest unless Verlander finishes in the top five of the Cy Young voting in 2019).
- Levine’s piece also mentions Orioles closer Zach Britton as a Cubs target, but notes an apparent tough fit, as the Orioles are looking to get big-league ready arms in a Britton deal.
- Moving on, Jon Morosi says that the Athletics are targeting young center fielders in trades for their oft-discussed Sonny Gray. Obviously, the Cubs have not one, but two young and talented center fielders (Ian Happ (22), Albert Almora Jr. (23)), though I’d bet they’d be reluctant to part with the former, while the latter might not be enough to get it done without some other significant pieces. The Cubs might not want to part with Almora at this point anyway. And, in any case, the A’s are said to have interest in Yankees’ prospect Estevan Florial (#91 prospect in MLB, by MLB Pipeline).
- The Twins have finally completed the deal for Braves’ left-hander Jaime Garcia and he comes with catcher Anthony Recker and cash, as well. In exchange the Braves received prospect Huascar Ynoa. More at MLB.com.
- At MLB Trade Rumors, Steve Adams runs through a ton of potentially available starting pitchers on the trade market, separating them in terms of service time. When you browse through the list you may be surprised to learn about how many are available, there’s everything from rentals and back-end starters, to long-term aces available – the only thing left is for the buyers to start getting aggressive. Perhaps they will soon.
- And finally, Ken Rosenthal believes the Brewers probably won’t sit out the trade market entirely:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2017
- They may be cooling on Sonny Gray, but that doesn’t mean they won’t help themselves at all. If you’re being generous, you can associate the 2017 deadline Brewers with the 2015 deadline Cubs. They may have an avenue to the postseason, but they can’t quite sellout for October just yet.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.