The rumors connecting (or at least tangentially related to) the Cubs to starting pitchers continue to pour in as we enter the last week of the non-waiver trade season.
Already today, we saw the Brewers ease off their pursuit of Sonny Gray and watched as things got a bit fuzzier on the Rangers’ intentions for Yu Darvish. Plus, there’s still more to come in a Lukewarm Stove later this afternoon.
HOWEVER, as we’ve said a thousand times over, while the Cubs may make a move for a starting pitcher this July, they are much more likely to add a veteran catcher and a reliever before the deadline.
We discussed the latter half of that prediction in depth over the weekend, as Brett reviewed the attractiveness and likelihood of several potential reliever trade targets, including Marlins closer A.J. Ramos.
And to that long-winded end, this:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 24, 2017
Last time we checked in, the list of Ramos suitors was a bit longer, adding the Diamondbacks, Rays, Red Sox, and Brewers to the three teams above. Perhaps, the market for his services is thinning as push comes to shove.
Ramos, 30, is controllable through next year via arbitration, so, like Hand, Wilson, and Britton, he’s not strictly a rental. But like Britton, the financial considerations are non-zero: Ramos makes $6.6 million this year, and will get a healthy bump in arbitration next year (as a closer), maybe even approaching $9 to $10 million. Worth it? Probably, but he’s working on a down year, and I’m not sure how much under market that 2018 salary will actually wind up being.
There was obviously much more to it than that, including a look at how an increased home run rate has sapped him of his really solid previous seasons results, but ultimately Brett conceded that Ramos is a guy you would want to add if the price is right.
And remember, although the Cubs bullpen is one of the ten best in baseball right now – by fWAR, ERA, and xFIP among other things – an injury to the right one or two arms can change everything in a hurry. With the postseason well within their sights, the Cubs are probably going to add some insurance. Whether that comes in the form of Ramos, however, remains to be seen.