The latest on Chicago Cubs starting pitchers Wade Miley and Kyle Hendricks pretty much forecloses any chance of a trade before the August 2 Trade Deadline. Well, I guess with one caveat, which I’ll get to. But if you want optimal flexibility for the Cubs this trade season – even if you don’t necessarily WANT to see a lot of trades – this is a bummer.
Each of Miley and Hendricks are recovering from shoulder strains, their second such issues of the season, which always meant it would be a long absence for each. Now, with just 11 days to go before the Trade Deadline, and neither even close to facing batters in a competitive setting, you could do the math.
Sure enough, Maddie Lee at the Sun-Times writes that neither Miley nor Hendricks is expected to return to the Cubs before August 2. And without the ability to return for at least one start before the deadline, to demonstrate health and provide some metrics for inquiring teams, I don’t see a trade happening.
A Hendricks trade, even when in perfect health, always struck me as a long shot – and not even necessarily a good idea, given what would have been such a modest return and the ability to have his veteran presence at the back of the rotation in 2023.
As for Miley, it’s no secret that the Cubs picked up his $10 million contract for 2022 in the hopes that he’d either contribute to a surprising competitive push, or he could be dealt for a nice prospect at the deadline. After all, steady starting pitchers like Miley are always in demand at midseason. You don’t expect to get a stud prospect in return, but a nice, worthwhile piece? Absolutely.
But multiple injury issues for the 35-year-old lefty have all but scuttled even that modest hope.
I mentioned a caveat at the top, and it’s this: yes, you’re allowed to trade players on the Injured List, and it’s at least conceivable that the Cubs could deal Miley (1) if he’s close to a rehab assignment by August 2, and (2) if the return is a PTBNL that would change depending on whether Miley actually returns healthy or not. So we’ll see if anything pops up.
But even in that remote case, you’re not going to see the Cubs land much that turns your head. Remember, stateside farm systems now have a total player limit, and the Cubs aren’t going to pick up a guy if he’s not even better than the last handful of prospects in the system. The Cubs could add a player who hasn’t yet come stateside – and thus doesn’t count against that limit – but it’s going to be a lower-bonus type who probably has a massive developmental road ahead before possibly becoming relevant. The odds such a player would eventually become a legit prospect are pretty low.
So, in sum: neither Miley nor Hendricks is expected to be back on the mound for the Cubs before the Trade Deadline, and that unquestionably forecloses a Hendricks trade in my mind, and almost completely forecloses a Miley trade. It’s possible the Cubs could still get a little something for Miley, but the emphasis would be on the word little.