Just a few days before we hit July, and I reckon the rumors are going to pick up pretty aggressively at that point around baseball. My gut still says we see everything pushed up just a little bit this year without the waiver trade period in August.
To that end, it’s fair game to take note of where the Cubs might be spending some of their scouting resources:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 27, 2019
Insert joke about the Cubs not needing to scout the Rangers because they already know all of them.
The Rangers are actually still in playoff contention in the American League (the Wild Card race is more or less the only race!), but it’s possible that they may still see an opportunity to sell off a little bit by the time late July rolls around. The Tigers, meanwhile, are obvious sellers.
Jason Beck’s piece implies that the Cubs and Red Sox were in the park to scout starter Matthew Boyd, a 28-year-old lefty starter with three years of arbitration left after this season, and who seems to be breaking out this year. Time was, that would be the kind of guy the Cubs would always be on. And I’m not saying they wouldn’t still be interested, but that seems a lesser in-season target that an impact reliever or a complementary bat.
To that end, it’s easy to note reliever Shane Greene as a potentially interesting target, though his results this year comically outpace his peripherals, and he was roundly terrible last season. Plenty of risk there on a guy with a $4 million salary and another year of arbitration left. Joe Jimenez is super interesting based on the stuff and the youth, but I can’t say you know you’re going to get impact this year. The rest of the Tigers’ bullpen group is pretty meh.
On the positional side, outfielder Nick Castellanos (who might still occasionally be able to play third) is an interesting potential offensive source in his final year of team control. He won’t give you much on defense, and it’s possible that his big year in 2018 was all BABIP, but the Cubs could use a bat to work into the mix. There are a couple other buy-low, short-term types, but nothing that would get you excited.
How about Miguel Cabrera! … who can really only DH, still isn’t hitting, and is owed a $31 million AAV through 2023. I make jokes.
On the Rangers, it was fellow breakout lefty Mike Minor getting the start, but again, I’m not so sure I’d see the Cubs in on him – especially not relative to other teams with more serious starting pitching needs. Instead, maybe the Cubs would try a buy-low on utility man Logan Forsythe? A you-pay-the-rest-of-his-salary on outfielder Shin-Soo Choo (who has been quite good at the plate the last two years)? In the bullpen, old friend Jesse Chavez has righted the ship, Shawn Kelley is pitching well, Chris Martin is doing well on a cheap deal, and maybe Jose Leclerc has fallen out of favor a bit.
All in all, we could go deep on a number of these guys as plausible fits, but it’s still early, and “scouting a game” is not really the same thing as having close eyes on any particular deal. I’ll keep the Rangers in mind because obviously these two orgs deal well together and know each other’s systems, but otherwise this is all just an opportunity to mentally check some potential trade boxes as we head to July.