With the All-Star Game in the rearview mirror, front offices across the league will focus on making improvements to the Major League roster. The non-waiver trade deadline is 15 days away and the Cubs are one of several teams that are expected to be aggressive before July 31.
It is not a secret, the Cubs would like to add a starting pitcher to the big league rotation and the front office is exploring ways to add starting pitching depth to the organization. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are also looking for a late inning reliever and a left handed hitting outfielder. And the Cubs have been connected heavily to RHP Jonathan Papelbon and OF Will Venable.
Epstein and Hoyer have not ruled out trading for a rental player if the acquisition cost makes sense. The front office would prefer dealing for a player that can help the team win games beyond this season.
The Cubs have been interested in LHP Cole Hamels for at least a calendar year and in recent weeks reports have suggested RHP Tyson Ross, RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Tom Koehler, RHP Nathan Eovaldi and RHP Adam Warren are starting pitchers with multiple years of club control that the front office has discussed. In order to acquire pitchers of the caliber of Cole Hamels or Tyson Ross, the Cubs are going to have to give up quality prospects to fill the team’s needs in the starting rotation.
Peter Gammons and Jim Bowden reported Carl Edwards Jr. is one of the players the Cubs would have to include in a package of prospects to acquire a long term piece. Bowden pointed to Edwards Jr. being “part of the deal going back to Philadelphia if the Cubs make a play for Cole Hamels.”
Carl Edwards Jr. has pitched well in his first season as a reliever and he had a very good outing at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
Edwards Jr. pitched two-thirds of an inning in Sunday’s Futures Game. He gave up two, weakly hit infield singles and struck out a batter. He sat in the 93-95 mph range with his fastball, topped out at 96 mph. And Edwards Jr. showed off his breaking ball in the 77-80 mph range.
According to Jim Bowden, Edwards Jr. has the upside of a No. 2 or 3 starter in the majors and he possesses swing and miss stuff. Edwards Jr. struggles with his release point which leads to walks.
The 23-year old right hander started the season in Double-A Tennessee’s bullpen. Edwards Jr. was 2-2 in 13 appearances with a 2.66 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. He allowed 12 runs, seven earned, on 11 hits with 17 walks and 36 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings before he was promoted to Iowa.
In 11 appearances for Triple-A Iowa before the break, Edwards Jr. surrendered six runs on eight hits with 13 walks and 23 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings (3.06 ERA, 1.19 WHIP).
Carl Edwards Jr. is a combined 3-2 in 24 appearances between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa with a 2.83 ERA and 1.19 WHIP (19 hits, 30 walks and 59 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings).
Baseball America recently ranked Carl Edwards Jr. the sixth best prospect in the Cubs’ system.
As the front office explores ways to improve the roster there will likely be deals made that include a few of the top prospects in the system. The Cubs ability to evaluate their own players will be put to the test as self-scouting becomes a key for the organization moving forward.
It is hard to see the Cubs moving a player like Carl Edwards Jr. for a rental but as part of a larger package would not seem out of line for the right player with multiple years of control.