The Trade Deadline is exactly 10 days away.
*extreme Scar voice*
The latest from the rumor mill …
- Ken Rosenthal dropped a bounty of notes, including his thoughts on why the Cubs might consider trading for Josh Reddick, as we discussed yesterday. Rosenthal points to two primary reasons the Cubs might go after Reddick, even if the outfield is already a touch crowded: (1) the Cubs have been lacking for impact on the left-handed side (which is fair, what with Kyle Schwarber out, Jason Heyward not hitting for power, and now Ben Zobrist not getting results); and (2) if the reliever market is too thin to land another impact arm, the Cubs have to resort to upgrades elsewhere. The latter point is something we’ve discussed before, and Theo Epstein, himself, has pointed it out. Even when you know where you’d most like to upgrade your team, the market is what the market is. Sometimes, you just have to improve where you can. If not the bullpen, well, then maybe adding a good lefty bat to the outfield mix is the best the Cubs can do. My question on Reddick remains whether the Cubs would be willing to give up enough to get him, given that there could be other teams out there even more needy for an outfield bat (and thus should be willing to give up much more). The Cubs have plenty of marketable prospects, of course.
- (If you missed the most recent bit on another outfielder the Cubs could potentially pursue (I kinda doubt it), here’s a rumor from Jon Morosi on Jay Bruce.)
- Among Rosenthal’s other bits, including the Dodgers and Rangers very much trying to get a starting pitcher from the Rays. That line of rumors merits following both because those controllable Rays arms could be of interest to the Cubs, too (they were connected by reports this past offseason), and because a big Dodgers move could shake up the NL a bit. As it stands, the Dodgers have pulled to within 4.0 games of the Giants out West, and also hold the top Wild Card spot. With Clayton Kershaw’s season in doubt thanks to back problems, the Dodgers would seem to need to add a quality arm to stay in the race.
- Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz feels like he might be traded soon, as he’s struggling terribly through the 2016 season, and is pretty much never used at this point. Buchholz was fantastic last year, turns 32 next month, and has a $13.5 million club option for 2017 remaining on his contract. Given the prior connection with the Cubs front office and the team’s need for pitching in 2017 and beyond, I suppose you might see some speculation popping up involving the Cubs, but it’s hard to see any team out there in contention immediately giving him a roster spot, in the bullpen or the rotation. It would be awfully hard to count on a turnaround in the heat of a pennant race. Instead, it seems more likely that a less competitive team might roll the dice in the hopes that he becomes worth that $13.5 million option. It’s also possible that the Red Sox might soon just cut bait, and Buchholz will find his way to another organization on a minor league deal, trying to work his way back.
- Rich Hill is still trying to pitch in a game after dealing with a blister issue. The A’s would have to hope, I’m sure, that he shows he’s just fine before August 1 rolls around, since he’s probably the best rental starter on the market if healthy.
- The Giants have been in a bit of a lull lately, and one place where they would seem to have a need is in the bullpen. Of note, though, Executive VP of Baseball Operations Brian Sabean says the Giants aren’t just looking for any ole reliever – they want a back-end, impact type, if they’re going to make a trade at all.
- Dave Cameron’s article on “The Value of Kyle Schwarber” has been getting a lot of attention around the Cubs-related web, and rightfully so – to his credit, Cameron endeavored to do what we so often fail to do when crazy rumors fly: try to objectively evaluate value. Cubs fans aren’t much caring for where he landed, though, as the “value” for Kyle Schwarber at which Cameron arrived was much lower than many would have expected. For my part, I take issue with a number of the assumptions that underly that valuation, as well as the buckets of statistical groupings Cameron uses, even as I find the discussion interesting. For one big example, the troubling zone contact rate grouping into which Cameron places Schwarber at the outset of the article includes every hitter season 25 and younger who has at least 250 plate appearances … and Schwarber, 22 and in his very first full pro season after rocketing through the minors, had just 273 plate appearances. Had he debuted a season later, and had some time to make adjustments, might we have seen a dramatically different zone contact rate? Cameron takes issue with Schwarber’s 74.8% zone contact rate last year – which, yes, is quite bad – but it was 83.3% over his final 50 plate appearances. Maybe he was starting to adjust … we can’t know right now, because the entire sample is so very small, and he was so very young, with so little pro experience. Suffice it to say: Cameron’s piece is interesting, but I think his valuation of Schwarber probably misses some of the real-world evaluation that has gone into projecting Schwarber’s offensive ability going forward.
- As the Trade Deadline approaches, you are reminded to follow BN on Twitter and like BN on Facebook to keep up with the latest rumors.