Lukewarm Stove: Leake, Papelbon, Starting Pitching, Reds Really Gearing Up for a Sale, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Leake, Papelbon, Starting Pitching, Reds Really Gearing Up for a Sale, More

Chicago Cubs

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  • Jon Heyman’s latest column is a treasure trove of rumor bits, so give it a look. Among Heyman’s remarks: (1) the Dodgers are heavy on Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto, (2) the Cubs are among many teams to have shown interest in Mike Leake (who has apparently already been told the Reds plan to trade him) at some point; (3) David Price says that, where ever he winds up pitching next year, it won’t be because of the manager – he offered that in response, specifically, to a suggestion about the Cubs and Joe Maddon; (4) the Brewers may consider moving both Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura; (5) the Mets – just a game behind the Cubs in the Wild Card race – may have interest in adding a big bat like Gomez or Justin Upton; and (6) so much Padres stuff that mostly touches on things we’ve already heard (but that’s more smoke for the idea that they’re open to discussing just about anyone, including James Shields).
  • On Leake, by the way, when writing about the Reds as a possible match for the Cubs, Michael discussed how Leake might be the best fit for a Reds target. The 27-year-old righty is a free agent after this year, and has always been a steady, unspectacular starter. His career 3.94 ERA, 4.20 FIP, and 3.76 xFIP are more or less where he is again this year.
  • More on Jonathan Papelbon wanting out of Philadelphia, and about being happy to come – for example – to Chicago. It’s not up to him, though, and it doesn’t sound like he’s going to use his no-trade rights to try and force a trade to a particular team. As we’ve discussed before, it’s debatable how much the Cubs need a Papelbon right now, even if his presence would make virtually any team better (including the Cubs).
  • Joel Sherman mentions the teams “viewed as working the hardest” to add a starting pitcher these next two weeks as the Royals, Dodgers, Astros, Blue Jays. I wouldn’t make much of the absence of the Cubs for a couple reasons: (1) those four teams really, really need to add a starting pitcher, so it’s legit that they’d be mentioned; and (2) I doubt the Cubs are going to let themselves be viewed as “working the hardest” to get a starter. It’s just not their style. That said, if the Cubs don’t add at least a depth starter before the deadline, I’d be absolutely shocked. Has the pitching gone well? Yup. Am I terrified about the 5th starter spot for the rest of the year and even more terrified about the 6th/7th/8th options? Yup.
  • Things sure do seem to be heating up on the Reds’ front:

  • In some ways, the Reds should be playing the part of the Cubs this year: they’re not going to win, they have very marketable trade chips (especially if they shop Chapman), and they can take advantage of a relatively desperate market. On the other hand, unlike the Cubs of recent years, they’ve got Todd Frazier and Joey Votto under team control/pricey contract for a few years yet, and that’s quite a formidable core to have languishing while you rebuild. But are the Reds realistically going to be competitive next year? Even if they keep Chapman, even if they add a great starter externally to replace Cueto and Leake, and even if Homer Bailey comes back healthy, I’m not sure the answer is yes – especially when you consider that the Cardinals, Cubs, and Pirates don’t exactly project to be any worse off next year. No, no; when you drill down, the Reds have to sell, and they have to sell right now, aggressively. If they don’t, I like their chances to do some serious languishing in the next few years, and then not have a monstrous youthful core ready to explode when they’re done.
  • This will probably get its own piece for discussion purposes soon, but, since it just came out today, I’ll include it here: the Cubs have two of the seven most valuable trade pieces in all of baseball, according to FanGraphs. You know who they are, and you know that the Cubs aren’t trading them. So, mostly, it’s just interesting and fun.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.