Lukewarm Stove: Cubs and Hand, Machado Deal Soon, deGrom's deSire, Pirates Status, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Cubs and Hand, Machado Deal Soon, deGrom’s deSire, Pirates Status, More

Chicago Cubs

Nobody knows when Manny Machado is going to get traded, other than the fact that it’ll definitely happen sometime before the July 31st, non-waiver trade deadline, but lately the momentum towards a deal has certainly picked up. And no one is happier about that Manny Machado:

  • But the answers remain unclear, as everyone from the Dodgers, Yankees, Phillies, and Brewers, in particular, have become “favorites” at one time or another and it’s not like other teams (Cubs, Red Sox, Diamondbacks etc.) are completely out of the question. As recently as yesterday, for example, Buster Olney indicated that the Dodgers are “very much invested in their pursuit of Manny Machado,” unlike some of the past big-name players available in trade and free agency. And at the same time Nick Cafardo, another trusted rumor source, heard from a source that the Yankees are “serious” about Machado. And there have been Phillies rumors flying today. It’s impossible to know what any of that means precisely, but I expect a conclusion to this sooner than later.
  • Especially if this is true:

  • Just a related share:

  • Also from Cafardo is a report that a growing number of teams are lining up their bids for closer Zach Britton. Brett discussed a similar rumor this morning from Bruce Levine, who’s heard that eight teams are talking to the Orioles about Britton and the Cubs are one of them. For a much lengthier, still fresh conversation on the Cubs need for a reliever in general and Britton’s history/fit with the Cubs, check out that post.
  • According to Levine, however, Britton is not the only reliever in which the Cubs have interest: “The Cubs’ wish list also includes Padres closer Brad Hand, who’s signed through 2020 with a $10-million team option for the 2021 season. Hand has 24 saves and a 4.33-strikeout-to-walk ratio.” This isn’t the first bit of interest the Cubs have shown in Brad Hand. Back in June, the Cubs were reportedly scouting the Padres because of Hand (and the Royals because of Kelvin Herrera, but he’s since been traded) and they were also looking into him last summer, too. Here’s some of what Brett had to say a month ago that remains relevant: “Given the way relievers like Hand have been valued in recent years, I’m not sure the Cubs will be in the best position to acquire him using prospect currency. Not that they couldn’t – I’m just saying, there will probably be other shoppers with just as much need who could offer more enticing packages.” Hand, 28, comes with youth, talent, and a ton of cost-control, so acquiring him will be pricey. And although his 3.05 ERA isn’t quite as good as the 2.16 ERA or 2.92 ERA he put up in 2017 and 2016, his 3.17 FIP is fairly close right in line (3.07 FIP, 3.03 FIP last two years).
  • Moving on, some news on Jacob deGrom, who apparently wants an extension from the Mets or a trade out of town:

  • deGrom remains a theoretical fit for the Cubs, as he does every competitive team in baseball, but the price to acquire him should remain sufficiently high to make a deal unlikely. In case you forgot, we’re likely talking one or maybe two significant big league pieces plus the best the Cubs minor league system has to offer.
  • Over the winter, the Pirates traded away Gerrit Cole (3.5 WAR) and Andrew McCutchen (1.3 WAR), but surprised early on with some better than expected performances across the board. And now, they’ve won 6 in a row (five of which came against the Brewers) to bring them within one game of .500 at the All-Star break. But if you’re a Pirates fan and you think that’s going to change the deadline plans, I’d think again. GM Neal Huntington may have been put in a slightly more difficult position, but let’s not get confused here: the Pirates are 9.0 games out of first with three teams ahead of them in their own division. They aren’t making the playoffs this season and they should almost certainly continue to sell off, finishing what they started with Cole and McCutchen this winter. At least, that’s what they should do. Nothing would make me happier than watching them torpedo the next few years by buying at the deadline and sacrificing some of their future. Come at me @oldtakesexposed. I’m not even scared.
  • According to Jon Heyman, the Nationals might revisit a J.T. Realmuto trade, which is something we’ve all been waiting to hear, because this time they may be willing to include a top prospect. In fact, Heyman’s sources have heard that the Nationals might even consider including Victor Robles as part of the deal, which, if I were to guess, would be enough to get something done. Victor Robles is a top 5 prospect in all of baseball and has already sniffed the Major Leagues. He’s exactly the sort of center piece a rebuilding team like the Marlins should seek in a trade for a player as valuable as Realmuto.
  • And finally, Jed Hoyer has reiterated that the Cubs are in on pitching, regardless of what happens with Yu Darvish:

  • I have no doubt that the Cubs are looking at adding both relievers and starters right now and that they’ll ultimately wind up adding something to the bullpen. Adding a starter, however, is a bit tricker and potentially pricier, but remains within the realm of possibility. I tend to think if it’s gonna happen, it’ll either go pure rental contract (i.e. Nathan Eovaldi or J.A. Happ, each of whom has been rumored) or total bombshell (Jacob deGrom, for example), with little available (or making sense) in between.

Author: Michael Cerami

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