If the Cubs are going to sneak in a deal before the deadline, I’d prefer they did it sooner than later. Looking ahead at the schedule, they’re set to play NINE straight games against the Brewers and Cardinals starting tomorrow – five before the break and four after.
Of course, prices are likely to be higher, further from the deadline, and the marginal improvement you’ll receive – from almost any player – over the course of just a few games is minimal at best. But still … wouldn’t it feel great to take a win, an off-day, and a brand new player into this HUGE series against the Brewers this weekend?
- The Cubs need a reliever – a dominant one, even – but don’t go dreaming about Kirby Yates. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Padres are looking for 2016 Andrew Miller/Aroldis Chapman level returns, which is (1) not even something the Cubs could necessarily offer and (2) not something they would consider right now. Wanna know what stinks? The Padres got Yates on a waiver claim back in April of 2017. Since then, he has a 2.39 ERA, 2.49 FIP in 161.2 IP. Oops!
- Rosenthal has much more, including the Red Sox difficult position with J.D. Martinez, why Marcus Stroman makes sense for the Braves, the Pirates’ efforts to showcase Jordan Lyles for a trade, and a lot more.
- Speaking of the Red Sox, their difficult position – overall – is explored more at The Boston Globe, where an argument is made that they should be willing to sell on a number of players, given their difficult path to the postseason. Although a number of names are mentioned, one guy, Andrew Benintendi, is going to catch your eye. Benintendi was great last season (and, if the rumors are true, was someone the Cubs front office hoped to draft), but he’s been just about average at the plate this season and isn’t much of a defender. Given that he’s also a lefty (albeit one with reverse splits this season), I can’t see him making much sense for the Cubs *right now.* But, hey, if the Red Sox were willing to sell low on a 25-year-old outfielder who was worth 4.4 WAR last season and is under control through 2022, I wouldn’t be against the discussion.
- At ESPN, Jeff Passan discusses how absolutely dead this trading season has been so far, and how that cuts against the expectations of a new, uniform trade deadline (that was supposed to generate even more action than usual). Beyond that, he gets into a number of the buzziest rumors, several of which could impact the Cubs, but none of which directly include the Cubs. Which leads me to believe, despite the desires of my intro, that we won’t see a Cubs move until closer to the deadline.
- At least Brett will be happy about that.
- Philadelphia strikes me as the perfect place for Trevor Bauer:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 24, 2019
- The only question left is if the rather … eh hem … intense Philadelphia fans will be *with* Bauer when he goes off on his crazy Twitter and post-game rants, magnifying his power, or against him. That could create some sparks.
- Remember, the Phillies are also the Cubs’ main competition for a corner outfield bat (like, say, Nicholas Castellanos). And if they spend a lot of prospect currency on a starter, they may have less ammo and/or motivation to spend on a bat, as well. With all of that said, it sure sounds like the Phillies are planning to be a little more conservative than expected at the deadline, given their place in the division. Based on the comments from their front office, I can’t see them making two big moves. Maybe not even one.
- At The Athletic, Sahadev Sharma discusses the Cubs deep bench issues, getting specific on guys like Almora, Bote, Russell, Caratini, Descalso, and Ian Happ. And it sparked a thought I’ve otherwise been dancing around all-season: Joe Maddon’s second halves have been so great with the Cubs, because he’s been able to rest and rotate players more than usual. And he’s been able to rest and rotate players more than usual, because he’s had such a great bench throughout most of his time in Chicago. But without a great bench this season, his rotations aren’t as effective and, thus, his second half might not be as successful. SO, I’d say this is an argument to not only add an impact bat to the starting lineup, but also, possibly, at least one more change to the bench (though perhaps, that additional change can just be the promotion of a certain switch-hitting, multi-positional, 24-year-old with speed, pop, and great walks skills … but who am I to say?).
- Joey Gallo (147 wRC+, 3.4 WAR) has been a revelation for the Rangers this season, but he’s headed back to the Injured List and could miss an entire month with a hamate bone issue. Without one of their best players for the next month – and at just .500 on the season – I think it’s safe to assume the Rangers will be full-on sellers now. Given how often the Rangers and Cubs have gotten together over the years, that’s something to keep an eye on.
- And to that end, Evan Grant discusses their many trade candidates, including starter Mike Minor, relievers Jose Leclerc and Chris Martin, and 24-year-old outfielder Nomar Mazara. Unfortunately, despite his big name and big power, Mazara is a lefty, not a very good defender, and isn’t really hitting all that much, so his fit with the Cubs isn’t particularly great. A rebuilding team with the time to tap into his potential might be a better fit. Rangers GM Jon Daniels discusses his teams intentions further right here.