If you’d asked me a week or so ago how many trades I thought the Cubs would have executed before the Blogathon began the day before the Trade Deadline, I suppose I wouldn’t have said a number MUCH larger than two. Maybe three. Having dealt Joc Pederson early, and Andrew Chafin earlier this week, the Cubs aren’t behind schedule or anything. But if the plan is move multiple more pieces, there are a lot of levers still to pull over the next day and a half.
To that end, I wanted to kick today off with a resetting of where things stand with the most obvious trade pieces …
Craig Kimbrel – I think everyone rightly expects that he’ll be going today or tomorrow, with the NL West team’s gaga for his services, and every other contender dreaming about adding to their bullpen a guy who has pitched liked the best reliever in baseball.
Ryan Tepera – The other reliever who is highly likely to go, though I’m not surprised he hasn’t yet. There will be a whole lot of non-closer bullpen moves that wait for the buzzer, and it’s possible he’ll be wrapped up in that. Should net a good return, based on the Chafin and Yimi Garcia deals.
Other Relievers – It’s always possible another reliever could be dealt in a surprise move, if some team out there thinks they can get more consistency out of Rex Brothers or Dillon Maples or Adam Morgan. If you forced me to pick a third reliever to go behind Kimbrel and Chafin, though, it would be Dan Winkler. He’s struggled a bit since mid-June, but he’s such a unique guy that I could see a team wanting to bring him in for a different type of look in their bullpen (remember, that is a useful thing). Would any of these guys net a substantial return, though? No. And that’s when you wonder if it’s worth adding someone to bounce another guy from your 180-player minor league group.
Zach Davies – I didn’t see any upside in letting him take his start last night, but at least major downside wasn’t realized either. He went six innings – the Cubs were CLEARLY trying to show he could do that these last two starts – and four earned over six innings isn’t that bad (eight strikeouts, eh?). With the needs in the market, and his ability to be fine for five-ish innings, I still think he gets traded, probably right up to the wire tomorrow. Will the Cubs get a Tyler-Anderson-level return? That’s probably the best range you can hope for (a couple prospects just outside an org top 30).
Kris Bryant – He’s still here, all these years and rumors later. But it feels like this might be it. The trades we’ve seen so far haven’t done anything to tell us that the price tag on a rental guy like Bryant will be surprisingly large this year, but none of the teams who have been rumored to want Bryant the most have landed any of those guys who’ve already moved. Can the Cubs top a compensatory draft pick for Bryant? Clearly. Do they value keeping him around on the chance they could sign a new deal with him before he’s out in the market? I just don’t see that as a realistic outcome, so that part of the “value” equation is close to zero. Which means, to me, he’ll be traded – because, again, they’ll top the compensatory pick value.
Anthony Rizzo – I will admit, I have started to wonder a little bit more about those Red Sox rumors. I don’t think he’s traded anywhere else, and I still wouldn’t bet on a trade to the Red Sox. But when a singular team is zeroing in on a singular target like this, sometimes it’s because each side knows where the other actually stands, so they’re just doing the final dickering to get the best price or wait for the other to blink. And then the deadline approaches, and a deal gets done. Again, wouldn’t bet on it, but now it wouldn’t shock me. And THAT kinda shocks me.
Javy Báez – I just don’t see it happening. Not because of the heel bruise, which will subside. But I think there’s a real hope here that he could be a guy the Cubs COULD extend after the deadline, or could get a lot of runway out of letting him play out the year and then trying to re-sign him after the season (with the qualifying offer attached). That, plus I don’t see an offer coming through that is so over-the-top that the Cubs just have to say yes and close the door on a reunion.
Jake Marisnick – Historically, guys like Marisnick do get moved, if not in July, then in August. But there is no August waiver trade period this year, so I tend to think a contender out there wants to beef up its bench and grabs him for a modest return.
Patrick Wisdom – I’m sure a lot of teams would like to have him, given the huge power and great glove and team control. But I tend to think, with all the turnover coming, the Cubs would much rather hold onto him and see if they can get another level out of him next year. You could basically say a lot of the same here about David Bote, though I know you’ve heard it before.
Other Bench Guys – Like with the bullpen, I can see versions of moves where a team just really wants Matt Duffy or wants an extra catcher in Robinson Chirinos because there’s no August waiver trade period. Maybe Rafael Ortega’s mini-breakout and ability to cover the outfield makes a team treat him like a Marisnick depth move. On any of these, though, I don’t know that I see a notable return coming, so I’m more than fine with the Cubs just hanging onto them and seeing what’s what for next year, especially with Duffy and Ortega.