We have to keep this in perspective, knowing how many pitching options the Cubs have available, and knowing that they’ve already added two pitchers and could add another reliever.
But this is a Rosenbomb:
Longshot that cannot be dismissed until after deadline passes: #Cubs getting controllable SP. Could build deal around Happ or another young hitter. Obstacles: Scarcity in market. Many teams want elite prospects over MLB pieces. CHC too thin in young pitching to add to deal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2018
Even Rosenthal himself acknowledges it is a longshot, and it would take the right trade partner that specifically wanted a big league piece. Otherwise, trade partners would probably prefer a package of multiple impact prospects (and other teams may well be willing to pay more than the Cubs, since they are sort of less in the market for a controllable starter than just anyone to try to improve the rotation).
It’s also always a risk to trade from the big league roster in the middle of a playoff race. Obviously there are controllable starters out there you’d love to see the Cubs land (and figure out the roster later) – Jacob deGrom and Chris Archer among the rumored guys – but it is risky to disrupt the clubhouse by trading big leaguers who are already contributing.
To that end, I’d sure be nervous about the Cubs dealing from their big league positional depth while Kris Bryant is on the shelf. Whether it’s Ian Happ, as Rosenthal suggests, or Addison Russell, I’m not too keen on the Cubs thinning themselves out unless it’s a can’t-say-no kind of deal.
Meanwhile, you can’t help but wonder if this is at all tied to the Cubs’ projected return timetable for Yu Darvish. The thing is, yes, the Cubs planned their deadline strategy around the idea that you can’t *count* on Darvish returning and contributing. But that was how and why they added Cole Hamels, and had to move Tyler Chatwood to the bullpen. Adding yet another starter to the rotation bounces Mike Montgomery, too, which is fine, but then puts you in a position where a Darvish return basically *requires* a six-man rotation.
… which isn’t the worst thing in the world. But I’m just saying, it also could be an even strong suggestion that Darvish is unlikely to come back and contribute. At present, I’m still thinking he does in September, but I suppose we’ll see.
Hooray for sexy rumors during the Blogathon!
UPDATE: Sounds like Rosenthal’s local counterpart at The Athletic has heard the same thing:
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 30, 2018
Sharma confirms that, yes, the Cubs are still looking at controllable starting pitcher, perhaps of the front-of-the-rotation kind, and also confirms that you’re talking about big league pieces to make that happen. No one is expecting a trade like that, but it’s possible.