Lukewarm Stove: How Cardinals Can Help the Cubs Trade Market, Dodgers Engaged on Castillo, Judge's Bidding War, Rockies Not Selling? More

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Lukewarm Stove: How Cardinals Can Help the Cubs Trade Market, Dodgers Engaged on Castillo, Judge’s Bidding War, Rockies Not Selling? More

Chicago Cubs

The latest from Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney at The Athletic serves as something of a trade deadline primer for the Cubs.

Among the highlights is a reminder that with so many pieces to deal again this year — “at minimum” Willson Contreras, David Robertson, Mychal Givens, and Chris Martin (though there are others) — the Cubs might move quickly after the draft/All-Star break to space out their deals, not unlike last year, when Joc Pederson was traded on July 13 (which is today! whoa!).

Also interesting and relevant: the Cubs’ current VP of player development, Jared Banner, held a similar title in the Mets organization before last year, so he knows their system well. According to Sharma/Mooney, Banner was “instrumental” last season in pushing for Pete Crow-Armstrong, who is now considered the Cubs’ top prospect, according to at least Baseball America.

There’s a lot of other useful stuff in that write-up, so you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Running Down Potential Contreras Suitors

When it comes to Willson Contreras rumors, the Mets are brought up a lot. And for good reason. But they’re not alone. Andy McCullough reached out to beat writers across the league, identifying potential suitors and getting the rundown on some possible destinations for the very-likely-to-be-dealt rental catcher.

Unsurprisingly, the Mets are one of the most likely landing spots, but the Padres section caught my attention, as well:

Around the league, there appears to be a lack of game-changing trade candidates. Contreras is an exception, especially for a Padres team that has received disappointing production from Austin Nola. Jorge Alfaro has supplied surprising pop, but he could continue to do so in more of a reserve role. An offensive catcher like Contreras might be more impactful than any outfielder the Padres could realistically acquire. 

The Padres and Cubs have been circling each other in big-time trade rumors for years now (and one big-time deal for Yu Darvish). It just feels like they haven’t quite been able to get over the hump in more recent talks. Maybe that’ll change this deadline, but it’ll almost certainly require the Padres to shed some salary first.

Other teams mentioned: Guardians, Astros, Yankees, Giants, and … Cardinals.

Running down those teams, the Guardians are not expected to outbid the field for the top bat on the market, the Astros are (allegedly) still hung up on Martin Maldonado’s importance, the Yankees are “likely to prioritize the outfield” at the trade deadline (which is useful info by itself), and the Giants don’t necessarily think they’re just “one player away” from competing this season. Fair enough.

But what about the Cardinals? I can tell you right now that they are extremely unlikely to trade for Willson Contreras, but that doesn’t mean there’s not going to be an impact to the Cubs. In fact, the Cardinals’ need for a catcher may indirectly HELP the Cubs by removing one of his competitors from the market (whomever they acquire) without removing a realistic landing spot.

The Cardinals have been without Yadier Molina for a month know (knee soreness), and he might not return until well into August. At 40 – today is his birthday – Molina is no lock to return to effectiveness at that point. Back-up Andrew Knizer has been abysmal so far in Molina’s stead.

Cardinals President John Mozeliak seems serious about adding a catcher, particularly someone who can help out as much at the plate as he can behind it: “Where we are at a catching standpoint, if we could find something from an offensive standpoint, that would be helpful, as well,” Mozeliak said. “The health of this club is going to drive a lot of how we think about that trading deadline.”

Dodgers Talking to Reds About Luis Castillo

The one thing the Cubs don’t have to deal this season is impactful starting pitchers. That might’ve been different in a world where Drew Smyly, Wade Miley, and Kyle Hendricks had never been injured, but that’s not the world we occupy. At best, it seems the Cubs might be able to move Smyly and Miley for modest returns.

So there’s not much crossover concern for the markets of Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas, the two top known available starters on the market, which is beginning to shape up.

Luis Castillo’s most likely suitors are the Braves, Yankees, Padres, and of course, the Dodgers, who sure seem like a favorite at this point:

“I have heard there have been at least some preliminary conversations between the Dodgers and Reds on Luis Castillo.” – Jon Morosi.

But there are five other teams mentioned in the running, albeit with less of an obvious need or willingness to win the bidding): Red Sox, Twins, Mets, Giants, and Blue Jays. Remember, Castillo comes with one additional year of team control.

Frankie Montas is in the same boat in terms of control, though he hasn’t pitched since July 3 due to a shoulder issue. He’s still expected to be dealt, and there’s some obvious overlap in the Castillo suitors: Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets, Twins, Padres, Cardinals, and Blue Jays.

Rockies Not Selling?

The Rockies are one of the worst-run teams in MLB. I just can’t ever believe anything they do, from paying Nolan Arenado to go away, to over-paying Kris Bryant, to holding onto Jon Gray and Trevor Story at the last deadline before watching them walk for nothing this last offseason, it’s just … they confound me.

The latest is no exception.

When asked if the last place Rockies (39-49) would be sellers at the deadline, Rockies GM Bill Schmidt simply replied, “No.” Theoretically, the Rockies have some tradable pieces, particularly a few guys on expiring contracts, but Schmidt has so far stuck to his guns: “People want us to trade guys, but the people they want us to trade are the guys that want to stay here.”

Hey, if the Rockies want to keep rental relievers Alex Colome, Carlos Estevez, and closer Daniel Bard off the market, I’d be just fine with that.

Odds and Ends:

  • I just really enjoyed this take on how the Atlanta Braves might push the New York Mets into a bidding war for Aaron Judge. Watching the Yankees and Steve-Cohen Mets duke it out for Judge is going to be a sight to behold. It’s also worth noting that the Mets have Francisco Lindor at shortstop already, and if they also spend big on Aaron Judge, the chances of them stealing one of the big four free agent shortstops away from a team like the Cubs might drop. And, hey, along the same lines, the Yankees have Anthony Volpe knocking at the door. Maybe they won’t want to go big for one of those guys, either. But now we’re on a big tangent.
  • The Padres are going to have to do something soon:

Author: Michael Cerami

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