The rumors started very, very early this year, as Cubs fans have seen firsthand with respect to Manny Machado. But would the actual trades? Surely, although chatter was ticking up, we weren’t going to see a flood of trades in June or early July, right? Heck, when the Cubs sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s on the 4th of July four years ago, that was CRAZY early to be making a major trade.
And yet, here we are, before July even arrives, and we’ve already seen major trades go down between the Rays and Mariners (Alex Colome and Denard Span), and between the Royals and Nationals (Kelvin Herrera). Usually, you just don’t see these trades happening so far in advance of the July 31 Trade Deadline because, even if the sellers are ready to self-identify, the buyers might not all be ready to push all their chips to the center. That means, even if usable player-games are lost in the interim, the best prices tend to come closer to the end of July.
Last night, another trade went down, with lefty-masher Steve Pearce being sent from the Blue Jays to the division rival Red Sox for a legit prospect. No, it’s not quite on the order of the earlier trades, but it’s also not a nothing burger, especially for a trade in June.
And now, here’s this:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 29, 2018
That’s notable. Cole Hamels is not what he once was, but a useful starting pitcher being shopped aggressively in late June, and groundwork being laid on a deal before the All-Star break, is definitely on the early side.
It’ll be very interesting to see this trade season play out, especially if it comes on the early side, given that the Cubs – both by their own word, and by objective evaluation – don’t have clear needs yet. But as a contender, they may very well have clear needs by late July. Maybe aggressive needs!
You look at the Rangers/Hamels example there, and it’s not impossible to imagine a (scary) scenario where the Cubs would have been interested in a rental like that come late July … but maybe he’s already long gone. Hamels is just one example, and the Cubs are just one contender.
That’s kind of why you see lots of rumors really picking up heat when July begins, but you don’t necessarily see major trades until at least after the All-Star break.
Maybe this year really will be different, and the pool of sellers and buyers (like the Cubs) will be much smaller come late July. We’ll see.