Prior to the Winter Meetings a report surfaced that the Cubs were actively exploring a trade for one of the top closers. The Cubs were not linked directly to a ninth inning guy at the time but soon after Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger were two names that popped up. And it was discovered the Cubs had conversations with the Rays about McGee and Boxberger prior to July’s non-waiver trade deadline.
Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday the Cubs “current focus is on trades for relievers, according to Major League sources … not high-end types such as the Yankees’ Andrew Miller, but middle-inning and setup options who would provide depth.” Rosenthal also said trading for a starting pitcher is still a possibility for the Cubs.
There were not any names mentioned in Rosenthal’s report, outside of Miller who he said the Cubs are not interested in acquiring.
Rosenthal’s information matches up with a report from the Sun-Times that indicated the Cubs are not done and would still like to trade for a young, controllable starting pitcher and “add depth pieces in the outfield and pitching staff.”
Jake McGee has been connected rather heavily to the Cubs in the last 10 days. McGee could be one of the relievers. McGee can be used in a variety of roles, all of which Joe Maddon knows how to utilize well. Outside of McGee and Boxberger, its unknown the relievers that could be involved in Cubs’ trade discussions.
Joe Maddon rode his relievers rather hard last season, especially from the end of July through playoffs. Maddon put the bullpen guys in positions to succeed and he received really good results from guys that were not in the organization on Opening Night.
Since Nov. 4, the front office has added LHP Rex Brothers, RHP Spencer Patton and RHP Andury Acevedo to the roster from outside the organization. The Cubs re-signed RHP Trevor Cahill and brought back LHP Clayton Richard. The Cubs also acquired RHP Adam Warren from the Yankees.
Reports during the front office’s pursuit of RHP Shelby Miller indicated the Cubs might be willing to include RHP Justin Grimm or RHP Pedro Strop as part of a package. Those reports went away quickly before Miller was dealt. But that was not the first time the possibility of the Cubs moving a reliever as part of a trade was mentioned as an option.
The front office is not believed to be done with the roster. And there are other areas the Cubs would like to address. Theo Epstein said Tuesday he feels comfortable with the roster the way it’s currently constructed while not ruling out changes being made if they feel it makes the team better.