This month is not just about waiting and wishing and hoping and praying on a great Cubs trade. It’s also about keeping tabs on what the rest of the league is doing, insofar as it could wind up impacting the Cubs – sometimes in very direct ways.
For example, if one of the Cubs’ top competitors in the NL Central picked up a big-time arm to add to a scatter rotation, well, that would be …
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 10, 2019
Ah. Yes. Well. That is something to monitor.
Syndergaard, 26, is still under control for two seasons after this one, so any trade for him is going to cost a pretty penny. Recent deals involving controlled starting pitchers in this range netted multiple top prospects, which is hard to see the Brewers doing without including Keston Hiura. Their farm system is not bad, but it’s not even close to what it was just two years ago. I’m not sure they’re the best fit in a deal for Thor.
That said, while Syndergaard has overwhelming stuff, the results have not been there this season (4.68 ERA) thanks to progressive decline in his strikeout rate, and a slight degradation in his quality of contact allowed. There are also some health concerns with Syndergaard, who missed most of 2017 and a big chunk of 2018 with various ailments. I imagine trade partners would push back on those bases, and the Brewers would be loath to give up Hiura.
All things considered, though, it’s not like you’d want to see the Brewers add him for the current race and those in the future. Ditto Zack Wheeler, who would be a rental and is also mentioned in connection with the Brewers in Morosi’s piece.
What’s funny is that, as a proposed explanation for yesterday’s bizarre Cubs-on-Wheeler rumor, I wondered if maybe the Brewers were involved and getting the Cubs’ name out there (or the Cubs wanting their name out there) was to squeeze the Brewers a bit.
This all bears watching as trade season plays out.