Lukewarm Stove: New Sellers Emerge as Competition for Cubs, Rays Lose Another Catcher, Do Brewers Want Wisdom?

Despite pushing to a season-high six-game winning streak, it’s been a tough day to be a Cubs fan. Willson Contreras received a standing ovation in what is certain to be his final at-bat in a Cubs uniform at Wrigley Field, and then there was … the hug.

Oh, also, David Robertson was officially unavailable to close.

We are less than one week until the trade deadline now. Tick … tock.

Tigers and Marlins Listening on Everyone

You always knew there were going to be late sellers entering the market, providing competition for the Cubs pieces, but the volume of additions is a little steeper than I anticipated.

Earlier today, for example, we learned that the Red Sox could turn into sellers, with Nathan Eovaldi (Drew Smyly), J.D. Martinez (Willson Contreras), and maybe even Xander Bogaerts (any Cubs bat) acting as alternatives, but now you can add the Marlins, who have some interesting pieces …

As well as the Tigers, who are reportedly giving teams “a blanket that just about everyone is official” according to rival executives.

The good(?) news is that the Cubs don’t have anyone who could line up against the Tigers’ biggest trade chip, Tarik Skubal, a very good 25-year-old left-handed starter (3.88 ERA and 2.7 WAR over 19 starts) with 4.5 years of control. He could turn a market starved for starting pitchers on its head.

However, their corps of relievers — Andrew Chafin, Michael Fulmer, Joe Jimenez, and Gregory Soto — could be pretty attractive for teams to which the Cubs are already selling.

Another Rays Injury … Now Call the Cubs?

When the Tampa Bay Rays learned that they’d be without starting catcher Mike Zunino for the season, I figured Willson Contreras could be a solution. And, indeed, Ken Rosenthal did dance around an idea that the Rays and Cubs could rekindle some of those “big swing” talks from the last deadline, given that they’re already scouting the Cubs relievers.

Well, today, the Rays lost their other primary catcher, Francisco Mejia, to a right shoulder impingement. Mejia has been the Rays main catcher since Zunino went down, but now he’s on the 10-day IL. And Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) believes this should “increase the team’s interest in acquiring a veteran catcher” ahead of the trade deadline. And obviously Willson Contreras is mentioned (along with Sean Murphy), but just broadly.

Could Brewers Seek 3B Help from the Cubs?

Jim Bowden does not have the best track record when it comes to trade rumors, but it’s hard to ignore – at least for discussion purposes – a rumor that connects the Brewers and the Cubs:

Milwaukee Brewers (53-44, .546) — The Brewers’ biggest need is an impact middle-of-the-order bat. They’d like to upgrade at third base, and there are a couple of interesting possibilities in their division: Drury of the Reds and Patrick Wisdom of the Cubs. They’d also like to improve their middle relief.

In identifying the potential buyers at the trade deadline, Bowden points out that Milwaukee would like a middle of the order bat who could play third base. And since there aren’t a lot of options out there, two NL Central third basemen are mentioned as possibilities.

However, later in the same article, Bowden reports that the “Cubs aren’t motivated to trade Wisdom,” despite this potentially being his maximum value.

And that’s a little tougher to pick apart. On the one hand, the Cubs probably aren’t thrilled with the idea of helping the Brewers win, but Christopher Morel could become the team’s everyday third baseman immediately (he says it’s his most comfortable position) and Bowden isn’t wrong … this is probably close to maximum value for Wisdom. As Brett has discussed previously, the Cubs should at least consider exploring Wisdom’s value. A trade with the Brewers, however, seems awfully unlikely.

Jose Quintana Drawing Interest

Pretty much any non-contender needs to seriously consider putting their starting pitchers on the trade market, just to see what’s up. Pirates lefty Jose Quintana, for example, is drawing interest from the Yankees, White Sox, Blue Jays, and others.

He’s been pretty good (3.70 ERA, 4.18 xERA) over his 19 starts and 97.1 IP this season. The strikeout rate has evaporated, but the walk rate has come down, the launch angle is down, the hard contact is down, and the barrel rate is down. As a rental starter, there’s really no reason for the Pirates to hang on.

The Mets “Love” David Robertson

According to Robert Murray, the Cubs have two of the top relievers on the trade market in David Robertson and Mychal Givens, which tracks with everything we’ve heard to date. But he also said this:

The Mets “love” Robertson, according to sources, who also fits the Yankees and other teams in need of late-inning relief help. Givens is drawing interest from numerous teams while reliever Chris Martin is another potential trade candidate.

Remember, just earlier today we caught word of the Cubs and Mets reportedly discussing a potential package involving Willson Contreras and Robertson:

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

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