Lukewarm Stove: Updating Mets-Cubs Talks, Bogaerts Staying Put, Blue Jays Needs, Rays and Contreras? More

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Lukewarm Stove: Updating Mets-Cubs Talks, Bogaerts Staying Put, Blue Jays Needs, Rays and Contreras? More

Chicago Cubs

By now, you should know that the Cubs and Mets are as intertwined on possible trade rumors as almost any two teams in MLB. Willson Contreras is a clear target, as is one of the available relievers, perhaps especially David Robertson. There are even rumors of a package deal for both.

However, there’s at least one report out there right now that the the two teams have still not exchanged names on a Contreras/Robertson trade(s):

That, alone, is an update*, but it also provides an opportunity to make a point and reestablish an important lesson ahead of any trades. Brett put it best on Twitter this morning, so I’ll just quote him: “I think it’s important to remember that *when* the Cubs targeted PCA, he was a guy who had essentially not played at all and was going to be rehabbing from shoulder surgery the rest of the year. He was not the guy he is today. Cubs scouted and developed the hell out of that.”

The various prospect rankings out there – as they sit today – are going to lag the actual industry consensus on any given player (in either direction). And that’s to say nothing of the Cubs internal evaluations of a player, that might skew WAY different than the industry.

Pete Crow-Armstrong TODAY is not a prospect that the Cubs would have EVER gotten in their deal for Javy Báez and Trevor Williams last season. And I think the same may even be said for the combination of Alexander Canario and Caleb Kilian, or even Kevin Alcántara. The Cubs scouts were way ahead on those guys and they hit the mark – so far – across the board (in that each of those player’s value is higher today than it was a year ago).

Just something to keep in mind.

*I think it’s easy to be confused by how the Mets can (a) know the Cubs have high asking prices for the players without (b) actually exchanging names. But I’m guessing it’s all a matter of semantics. If, for example, the Cubs were like “Let’s talk about Brett Baty for Contreras,” and the Mets were like “No.” I think that would fit in both buckets.

Xander Bogaerts Staying Put

There had been some talk that the Red Sox could turn into sellers at the deadline recently, and that potentially included star shortstop Xander Bogaerts (a development that mattered to us not only because of the potential trade market competition, but also because if he were traded, he’d be decoupled from potential draft pick compensation, making it that much easier to envision the Cubs signing him this offseason).

Well, even if the Red Sox do become sellers, it sure sounds like Bogaerts is staying put:

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said earlier this week the team was not considering trading Bogaerts or Rafael Devers at the trade deadline. On Thursday night after a 4-2 Red Sox win — one in which Bogaerts hit a three-run homer to give his team the lead — the shortstop said he was told personally he’s not on the market.

Obviously, things can always change, but it’s rare for a front office to go back on a promise like that from the few times we’ve ever heard of this playing out. You can read more from Bogaerts right here.

Blue Jays In on Drew Smyly or David Robertson?

The Blue Jays have been a bit of a wild card lately. They’ve been connected to Ian Happ and were even in the running for Andrew Benintendi before he was traded to the Yankees … but they’re also already pretty loaded in the outfield and at DH, so that’s a little confusing.

At The Athletic, Kaitlyn McGrath says the Blue Jays are seeking a complementary left-handed bat, which doesn’t quite smell like Ian Happ (who was an All-Star this season), but I suppose you can never say never. There was plenty of smoke, after all.

In the meantime, they’re seeking starting pitching, ideally on the high-end side to start one of the first three games of a Wild Card series, but they’re also interested in depth starters to help them get there. Drew Smyly is mentioned in the article as a potential target, and he’s set to start tomorrow night. That makes me feel like tomorrow could be something of an artificial deadline for the Cubs to get something done with Smyly (and Patrick Mooney just said the same).

McGrath also mentions David Robertson as a high-profile relief target, but he’s pretty much connected to every single contender out there. So, you know, obviously.

Rays and Willson Contreras?

According to Jon Heyman, the Cubs are “sure” to trade Willson Contreras, which we know, but he also cited a scout that pushed back against the bat-only narrative. That was nice to finally see. More importantly, in the same breath, Heyman said the Rays are looking for a catcher, implying the Contreras connection, which is something we’ve discussed a lot lately.

Remember, the Rays lost their starting catcher, Mike Zunino, for the season. And his primary replacement, Francisco Mejia, just hit the IL with a shoulder injury. The Rays are HOPING it’s only a two-week thing, but even that might push them to acquire someone like Contreras.

Heyman also mentions that the Cubs have had “extensive trade talks” involving Ian Happ. I think we all know that, intuitively, at this point, but it seems clearer than ever: Happ is firmly on the trade block. The Cubs are just waiting for the right offer.

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Author: Michael Cerami

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