The Cubs are expected to be active before the non-waiver trade deadline (Friday, 3:00pm CDT) and have been linked by the mainstream media to just about every player that is known to be available. The Cubs would like to add at least one starting pitcher, a late-inning reliever and a bat. Reports have suggested the Cubs would like a utility player and/or a lefty hitting outfielder that can play all three spots.
Based on Jed Hoyer’s comments on Friday, the Cubs are working the phones and exploring as many options as possible to improve the roster. Despite the results from the weekend series, the Cubs are in the mix for a spot in baseball’s post-season tournament.
It is believed the Cubs are one of the teams talking to the Phillies about Cole Hamels. A deal could still be made for the pitcher the front office has been trying to acquire for at least a year. If Dave Dombrowski decides to pull the plug on the Tigers’ season, the Cubs are expected to be in the mix for David Price. The Cubs and Tigers have reportedly talked about Price. And the Tigers have started scouting the Cubs, both at the big league level and the minor league system.
The Cubs have not ruled out acquiring a rental, or a player that will be a free agent at the end of the season, but the cost to trade for that player would have to make sense for the Cubs moving forward. In other words, the front office is not going to trade impact, controllable players for two-plus months of a player on an expiring contract.
Beyond Hamels and Price, the Cubs have been connected to RHP James Shields, RHP Tyson Ross, RHP Ian Kennedy, RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Dan Haren, RHP Mat Latos, RHP Tom Koehler, RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP Adam Warren, RHP Julio Teheran and RHP Mike Leake.
Ken Rosenthal reported Monday, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are seeking another starter and the Cubs are “among clubs that would wait for the prices to drop on July 31.” Rosenthal pointed out that Ian Kennedy and “others still could be in play then.”
The lack of depth in the starting rotation has already been tested. And Jason Hammel does not look right. Hammel has struggled in each of his last two starts after missing time with a left hamstring strain. As the roster is currently constructed, Dallas Beeler will likely get the start Tuesday against the Rockies. Tsuyoshi Wada is scheduled to start Monday for Iowa and Clayton Richard, who cannot be called up unless he is replacing an injured player due to being optioned to Iowa on July 23, is listed as Iowa’s starter for Tuesday.
The Cubs could use at least a back-of-the-rotation starter before the end of the deadline. And it will be interesting to see what teams are willing to give up now for a starter with the Royals-Reds trade setting the bar rather high in the Johnny Cueto deal.