Lukewarm Stove: Red Sox Out on Wheeler, Bauer/Hand Available? Cubs Interest in Peralta, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Red Sox Out on Wheeler, Bauer/Hand Available? Cubs Interest in Peralta, More

Chicago Cubs

Remember all those extensions at the tail end of the offseason and into Spring Training this year? Of course you do, there was a billion of them, including two on the Cubs (Kyle Hendricks and David Bote).

Well, whenever those extensions get brought up, the focus is always on how many big-time players have been removed from free agency over the next 1-3 offseasons.

But what gets overlooked is how those same players have effectively also been removed from the in-season trade market. Obviously, almost any player can be traded at any time, but players on expiring contracts are traded most often. With fewer expiring contracts in the short-term, however, there are fewer “no-brainer” guys to target/trade. It’s already impacting this rumor season and probably will for the next few years, as well. Just something to think about.

Here’s the latest …

  • Cashner has been good this season, but is obviously on the modest end of the acquisition spectrum. Of course, modest deals make more sense for the Red Sox right now anyway. Maybe if they had a better shot at winning the division (they’re currently 10.0 games behind the Yankees), they’d make a more aggressive move between now and the deadline, but if the best they can hope for is a one-game playoff, marginal moves might be more prudent.
  • And that speaks towards something we addressed the other day: with so many division races basically decided, this could be a real buyers market. Hopefully, the Cubs take advantage and get that leadoff bat they’ve been talking about.
  • For what it’s worth, the Red Sox are reportedly now out on trading for the Mets Zach Wheeler, but the Yankees are not. Of course, the Yankees have also been targeting Marcus Stroman, Trevor Bauer, and Robbie Ray – all of whom come from teams who could be more reasonable trade partners than the cross-town Mets.
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
  • While we’re on the Mets:

  • Instant UPDATE on Wheeler:

  • Oof. For a guy with a significant injury history, that’s a killer blow right before the Trade Deadline.
  • ESPN discusses the Indians’ intentions with Trevor Bauer and Brad Hand (to trade, or not to trade) and ultimately leans toward moving them both before the deadline. The goal in a deal for either player, it seems, is to find Major League ready talent so as not to come across as a pure punt on the 2019 season.
  • With all of that said, I can’t see the Cubs becoming interested in Bauer right now, but Hand is a very good left-handed reliever (2.11 ERA, 1.80 FIP, 24 saves this season) and would be a dream addition to this bullpen. From the sound of it, though, the Indians will have to be overwhelmed to let him (and his 2.5 years of team control) go. So don’t get your hopes up.
  • Yesterday, the Royals traded Homer Bailey to the A’s for minor league infielder Kevin Merrell. Yawn. Wake me up when a big trade happens.
  • At ESPN, Buster Olney gets into a good conversation regarding how changes to the baseball have impacted the way teams are evaluating potential trade targets. It’s a good conversation and definitely worth your time. But on a Cubs-specific level, Olney mentions that the Cubs front office has, indeed, checked in on the asking price of David Peralta – an interest we discussed about a week ago – as they continue to look for a left-handed “corner outfield masher.” He also said that the team is “open-minded” in ways to shake up the roster and lineup, which, well, yeah … easier said than done.
  • Remember: the Cubs could theoretically add a bat at (1) any spot in the outfield (moving Jason Heyward, accordingly), (2) second base, or even (3) third base, kicking Kris Bryant out to right. That’s a LOT of options. S0 find someone, please.
  • Kirby Yates is having a MONSTER season in San Diego (1.10 ERA, 1.28 FIP; 2.3 fWAR through 41.0 IP) and he’s even great against lefties, but don’t get any ideas … it sounds like he’s staying put:

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Author: Michael Cerami

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