Remember all those extensions at the tail end of the offseason and into Spring Training this year? Of course you do, there was a billion of them, including two on the Cubs (Kyle Hendricks and David Bote).
Well, whenever those extensions get brought up, the focus is always on how many big-time players have been removed from free agency over the next 1-3 offseasons.
But what gets overlooked is how those same players have effectively also been removed from the in-season trade market. Obviously, almost any player can be traded at any time, but players on expiring contracts are traded most often. With fewer expiring contracts in the short-term, however, there are fewer “no-brainer” guys to target/trade. It’s already impacting this rumor season and probably will for the next few years, as well. Just something to think about.
Here’s the latest …
- In case you missed it, the Brewers are reportedly engaged in discussions with the Giants over potential Cubs trade target Will Smith. Grumble.
- The Red Sox have acquired former Cub Andrew Cashner from the Orioles for a couple of very young prospects out of the Red Sox Dominican Summer League affiliate. Neither guy was a big “bonus baby,” but at that age, it’s quite tough to predict where any guy is heading. MLB Trade Rumors points out that Orioles GM Mike Elias “does have ample experience scouting in Latin America,” so maybe they scored themselves a couple of lottery tickets for relatively little (Cashner).
- As for the Red Sox side of the deal …
On Cashner: #RedSox wanted upgrade on current options in 5th spot. Cashner not needed for playoff roster if Sox make it and others are healthy, though he could go in bullpen. #Phillies also had interest. #Orioles willing to include $$ to escape bonuses and vesting option.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 13, 2019
- Cashner has been good this season, but is obviously on the modest end of the acquisition spectrum. Of course, modest deals make more sense for the Red Sox right now anyway. Maybe if they had a better shot at winning the division (they’re currently 10.0 games behind the Yankees), they’d make a more aggressive move between now and the deadline, but if the best they can hope for is a one-game playoff, marginal moves might be more prudent.
- And that speaks towards something we addressed the other day: with so many division races basically decided, this could be a real buyers market. Hopefully, the Cubs take advantage and get that leadoff bat they’ve been talking about.
- For what it’s worth, the Red Sox are reportedly now out on trading for the Mets Zach Wheeler, but the Yankees are not. Of course, the Yankees have also been targeting Marcus Stroman, Trevor Bauer, and Robbie Ray – all of whom come from teams who could be more reasonable trade partners than the cross-town Mets.
- While we’re on the Mets:
The way the Mets have typically worked in recent selling years, once the All-Star break is over, the players on the move (in this case Wheeler and maybe Vargas and Frazier), can go any time.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) July 15, 2019
- Instant UPDATE on Wheeler:
Breaking: Zack Wheeler is being placed on the injured list with right shoulder fatigue, a source says.
The IL move is retroactive to Friday, so the soonest he can return is July 23. That leaves Wheeler with two starts max before the trade deadline.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) July 15, 2019
- Oof. For a guy with a significant injury history, that’s a killer blow right before the Trade Deadline.
- ESPN discusses the Indians’ intentions with Trevor Bauer and Brad Hand (to trade, or not to trade) and ultimately leans toward moving them both before the deadline. The goal in a deal for either player, it seems, is to find Major League ready talent so as not to come across as a pure punt on the 2019 season.
- With all of that said, I can’t see the Cubs becoming interested in Bauer right now, but Hand is a very good left-handed reliever (2.11 ERA, 1.80 FIP, 24 saves this season) and would be a dream addition to this bullpen. From the sound of it, though, the Indians will have to be overwhelmed to let him (and his 2.5 years of team control) go. So don’t get your hopes up.
- Yesterday, the Royals traded Homer Bailey to the A’s for minor league infielder Kevin Merrell. Yawn. Wake me up when a big trade happens.
- At ESPN, Buster Olney gets into a good conversation regarding how changes to the baseball have impacted the way teams are evaluating potential trade targets. It’s a good conversation and definitely worth your time. But on a Cubs-specific level, Olney mentions that the Cubs front office has, indeed, checked in on the asking price of David Peralta – an interest we discussed about a week ago – as they continue to look for a left-handed “corner outfield masher.” He also said that the team is “open-minded” in ways to shake up the roster and lineup, which, well, yeah … easier said than done.
- Remember: the Cubs could theoretically add a bat at (1) any spot in the outfield (moving Jason Heyward, accordingly), (2) second base, or even (3) third base, kicking Kris Bryant out to right. That’s a LOT of options. S0 find someone, please.
- Kirby Yates is having a MONSTER season in San Diego (1.10 ERA, 1.28 FIP; 2.3 fWAR through 41.0 IP) and he’s even great against lefties, but don’t get any ideas … it sounds like he’s staying put:
The Padres have placed a very high price tag on Kirby Yates, according to other teams, and recent history of GM A.J. Preller is that he doesn't deviate in trade conversations; he's not a bluffer. So unless some team steps up to match the big ask, Yates will probably stay in SD.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 14, 2019
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