Lukewarm Stove: Miller Drawing Interest, Nats Searching for Relievers, Sale, Lucroy, Bruce, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Miller Drawing Interest, Nats Searching for Relievers, Sale, Lucroy, Bruce, More

Chicago Cubs

old stove feature

While the Cubs are in a rain delay (and up 11-0), why not keep warm with some rumors from around the stove?

We are perilously close to the 2016, non-waiver, August 1 trade deadline, after all, which means rumors abound throughout the league.

That also means, that Brett better start sneaking in some extra naps, in anticipation of his 39-hour blogging bonanza.

You’ve already succeeded in reaching (and surpassing) our fundraising goal of $15,000, but if we get just $2,000 more (or, enough to sponsor three whole wishes), Brett will live blog from up to 12 different, fan-chosen, locations around Wrigleyville. I for one, would love to see him discuss the Cubs chances of landing Josh Reddick from the batting cages of Sluggers (see how fun this could get?). So make sure to donate here, there are just two days left!

  • Robert Murray (Today’s Knuckleball) writes that trade interest in Shelby Miller has picked up in recent days, but no deal is apparently close. Miller (and the D-backs, for that matter) has struggled mightily in 2016, after being acquired in a blockbuster trade by Arizona this past offseason. In 14 starts, Miller has posted a 7.14 ERA (5.65 FIP), lasting a total of just 69.1 innings pitched. That said, he is still just 25 years old, and is coming off a 3.4 win season. With 2.5 years of control left, as well, he still has some value. As a brief aside, how weird is the trend of terrible performances from otherwise good, young, cost controlled starting pitchers (Chris Archer, Sonny Gray, Shelby Miller, etc.). I suspect there’d have been a lot more trade chatter this deadline had one or more of them performed better this year. Back to Miller, Murray writes that the Dodgers and Marlins might be most interested, although the latter is almost certainly out now that they’ve acquired Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea from the Padres. I don’t think the Cubs will be interested in Miller, but they’ll probably, at least, check in. He could be a nice longer-term upside play.
  • The Washington Nationals are still reportedly looking for impact relief help, now that they’ve missed out on Aroldis Chapman. According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, they’ve checked in on the Pirates closer, Mark Melancon, as well as Royals closer, Wade Davis. If you recall, though, we recently learned that the asking price on Davis is thought to exceed that of what the Yankees are/were asking for Andrew Miller (Kyle Schwarber), so he might only be available in theory. To that end, however, the Nats haven’t ruled out a play for Miller, himself, who the Yankees still may move. According to Jon Morosi, the Nats were even willing to go as far as offering Lucas Giolito straight up for Miller, but Jon Heyman thinks otherwise:

  • Now, there are certainly different methods of evaluating players and attaching a present and future trade value to them, but this doesn’t really make sense, if it’s to be believed. Lucas Giolito is a consensus top five prospect in all of baseball, and is also the top overall pitching prospect in the game. If he isn’t capable of swinging a trade for (even one of the very best) relief pitchers, than I’m not sure what would. Again, he isn’t just a good pitching prospect, he’s the very best one in the game AND he’s big league ready. That said, at this time of the year, you can almost not believe anything you hear. There could be a number of scenarios or reasons why 1) the Yankees wouldn’t do this or 2) the Yankees want everyone to think they wouldn’t do this. So, in the end, maybe there’s not much to be learned, other than it continues to be VERY difficult to steal Miller away from the Yankees.
  • On the chance that the Pirates do decide to sell and move closer Mark Melancon, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Indians and the Giants will be involved right alongside the Nationals. In return for their closer, the Pirates are reportedly looking for both an MLB ready middle reliever AND prospect(s). In other words, they want a solid upside player for down the road, but still someone who can help out the 2016 in the bullpen.
  • Yesterday, the Milwaukee Brewers asked interested teams to make offers that met their “minimum standard,” for Jonathan Lucroy which is both a little vague, and fairly interesting. Lucroy is a former superstar catcher, who had a difficult (and abbreviated) year in 2015, but is bouncing back in 2016. He is making just $4 million this season, and comes with a very affordable $5.25 million club option in 2017, before hitting free agency. Needless to say, he has some serious value. The Mets have long been connected to Lucroy, and according to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, they have are one of the teams said to have met that “minimum standard.” Lucroy has the potential to be one of the bigger names moved over the weekend.
  • According to the Mariners General Manager, Jerry Dipoto (via Ken Rosenthal), Seattle is not currently discussing starter Taijuan Walker with anybody, adding “He’ll stay right where he is.” Again, like I said previously, you have to take all comments this time of year with a grain of salt, because the motivations can be deep and deceiving. Even still, it seems increasingly likely that the Mariners will hold onto Walker, the Braves will hold onto Julio Teheran, the A’s will hold onto Sonny Gray, and the Rays will hold onto Chris Archer. There is so much value in any one of their arms, but most come with enough control that an offseason deal is just as likely/realistic.
  • For the first time, a Chris Sale trade is “possible:”

  • Even if a Sale trade is “possible,” and even if the recent clubhouse incident cut his price down to a more reasonable level, I’m not quite sure that 1) a trade will happen right now or 2) the Cubs could even be involved. On the first point, I’m not quite sure what it would take to get Sale, but I’m guessing there are just a handful of teams with the amount of disposable assets to get it done. Not only is the price of pitching exorbitantly high right now (see what the Cubs gave up for just 2.5 months of Aroldis Chapman), but the lack of quality options on the market would drive Sale’s price through the roof. And to the latter point, I think we’ll have to defer to the insistent claims of David Kaplan, who has recently suggested that the White Sox will, in no way, trade Sale to the Cubs. Although that might not be the smartest (or your personal favorite) baseball operations strategy, it isn’t so far fetched as not to be believed. After all, there are very real monetary reasons, for just one example, the White Sox would not want to see the Cubs popularity expand even further in the Chicagoland area.
  • The Reds President of Baseball Operations, Walk Jocketty, has told reporters that he is not fielding the type of offers he otherwise expected for Jay Bruce, who continues to be available. At Today’s Knuckle Ball, John Perrotto, writes that the Reds are looking for a “legitimate prospect” in return for the slugging lefty, but that other teams don’t value Bruce as highly given his past performance.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami