The latest at ESPN includes a round-up of buzz from around the league, and a portion jumped out at me as both interesting as a general trade matter, but also because of the rare overlap of Cubs-White Sox rumoring.
This is from Jesse Rogers, which makes it all the more interesting given his Chicago coverage:
There were a half-dozen scouts watching the Cubs and Cardinals on Tuesday night, including two from the White Sox. They are in search of some relief help and saw Cubs right-hander Ryan Tepera pitch a clean seventh inning just as White Sox right-hander Ryan Burr was giving up a lead to the Minnesota Twins. Tepera could be on the White Sox’s radar, as could left-hander Andrew Chafin — though their need is more from the right side than the left.
Assuming those scouts stuck around for last night’s game, too, then they saw Tepera look as nasty as he looked earlier this year, and also saw Chafin log a fly out, a double, and a strikeout.
Certainly, as the division leader with the largest lead in baseball, the White Sox are as close of a lock for the postseason as any team. Indeed, most expect the second place team in the AL Central, the Cleveland Indians, to sell off next week. In that situation, adding TOP-TIER bullpen pieces is among the most important moves you can make at the deadline. You already know you’re going to be in the postseason, where great relievers’ performance is magnified in both importance and leverage. Plus, the extra off-days allow you to lean even more heavily than normal on your top guys. To that end, the White Sox scouting guys like Tepera and Chafin*, who might be some of the best non-closer rental relievers on the market, makes plenty of sense.
The question is whether the teams would deal with each other, and even if there hadn’t been the Jose Quintana trade four years ago, I would’ve said yes. Since we know that this tier of reliever doesn’t necessarily land franchise-altering returns, I don’t think you’d see the same level of hesitancy to make a trade. If these are the guys the White Sox really want, and if the Cubs can get back a prospect package they really dig, then pull the trigger. Maybe there is a mild boost in terms of the players already being comfortable with Chicago, and not having to move their family midseason, too.
*(I’m sure the White Sox would love to add Craig Kimbrel, too, but with Liam Hendriks signed on as their closer, it’s a little dicier – at a human performance level – to bring in a second sure-fire closer and ask one of them to not do that anymore. It seems to be one of those things that sounds better on paper, and doesn’t really fly in practice.)