The Cubs are believed to be exploring ways to upgrade the pitching staff, both in the starting rotation and bullpen. According to a report from Bruce Levine, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have checked in with teams about relievers and “pitching all around will be their focus moving forward.”
LHP Scott Kazmir and RHP Jonathan Papelbon are two pitchers that have been linked to the Cubs by the mainstream media.
It is questionable what the Cubs would be willing to part with from the farm system for a rental like Kazmir or with the type of talent the Phillies could be asking for in return for Papelbon.
The Cubs have connections to Kazmir and Papelbon, which seems to make both pitchers more attractive options. Kazmir pitched for Joe Maddon in Tampa and the Cubs’ front office drafted and developed Papelbon in Boston.
Kazmir had an MRI on Wednesday. The extent of the injury or if Kazmir will land on the DL is unknown at this point. But this is obviously not good news for Kazmir, the A’s or the teams looking at Kazmir as a way to upgrade their rotation.
Regardless what the MRI shows, Kazmir’s value took a big hit and will not net the A’s the return Billy Beane was likely banking on.
Updated 6:20pm CDT – Bob Melvin told reporters Thursday afternoon the MRI on Scott Kazmir’s shoulder showed no structural damage. Scott Kazmir will probably miss one start.
The Cubs are interested in acquiring RHP Jonathan Papelbon. The level of the interest is unknown, but Bruce Levine has reported on numerous occasions there have been internal discussions about the former Red Sox closer.
Ryne Sandberg really did not help the Phillies cause with trading him Wednesday when Papelbon was used in the eighth inning of a blowout loss to the Mets. The New Yorkers beat Philly 7-0 and Papelbon finished the game.
Even with Papelbon not pitching in a game for seven days, his last appearance prior to Wednesday was May 20, he should not have been used. Papelbon is a veteran and should know at this point in his career how to stay sharp, even with the large gap in between appearances. And if it was predetermined that Papelbon was pitching Wednesday regardless of the score, at 7-0 it would seem Sandberg could have pitched him in the seventh inning.
Jonathan Papelbon has now finished 18 games, counting Wednesday. Papelbon’s $13 million option for the 2016 season vests if he finishes 55 games this season or a combined 100 games in 2014-15. Papelbon is 30 games away from the option vesting. Papelbon finished 52 games last season.
While the option becoming guaranteed was a given, Wednesday was just another example of how poorly the Phillies’ organization is being run right now.
For the Phillies, it should be about maximizing the return on as many players as possible not about winning games at the big league level.