Rumors continue to surface throughout baseball at the speed of Twitter. And the Cubs may be active leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline on Monday (Aug. 1, 3:00pm CDT).
The front office is exploring ways to improve the roster, both for this season and beyond.
The Cubs have been connected heavily to Josh Reddick. The Cubs would like to add a left-handed hitting outfielder and have also been linked to Charlie Blackmon, Jay Bruce and Carlos Beltran.
On the pitching side, the front office would like to acquire starting pitching. The Cubs continue to be linked to the Tampa Bay Rays and both Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore.
Whether or not the Cubs make any moves before Monday’s deadline, the front office will stay aggressive in August exploring deals like the team made a year ago that worked out in September and October.
Dexter Fowler did not start Friday’s opener against the Mariners. Fowler is expected back in the starting lineup Saturday.
Joe Maddon said Friday, “He’s just not 100 percent over the soreness. We’re just being proactive.”
It’s safe to say that the hamstring injury that Fowler suffered was much worse than he or the Cubs indicated.
Fowler said Friday, “I’m still trying to get my legs under me. It’s like Spring Training … you have a good game, and then you go in and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I haven’t done this for a while.’ You have to roll with the punches and get more at-bats.”
Fowler is batting .217/.357/.391 (5-for-23) with a double and a home run for a .748 OPS since returning from the DL. And on the season, Fowler is hitting .284/.394/.475 with 20 doubles, three triples and eight home runs for a .869 OPS.
The Cubs are going to be extremely cautious with Dexter Fowler. At this point of the season they simply cannot afford to lose him for a significant amount of time again.
Tommy La Stella
The Cubs made a rather surprising roster move Friday when the team sent INF Tommy La Stella to Iowa in order to activate OF/INF Chris Coghlan from the DL.
La Stella is one of Maddon’s favorites. But he has options (three minor league options) and Coghlan does not.
The front office has made it clear they are concerned with the lack of depth. The Cubs simply did not feel they could afford losing Coghlan at this point of the season.
Joe Maddon admitted to the beat writers that La Stella wasn’t thrilled about being sent to the minors and did not take the news well. Maddon explained in his post-game discussion with the beat writers that La Stella “was a total team guy in going down” and he wanted to make sure his pre-game comments did not portray him as anything else.
La Stella has every right to be upset. La Stella did the job he was asked to do and put up the numbers. La Stella was hitting .295/.388/.457 in 51 games with nine doubles, a triple a two home runs for a .846 OPS.
As Comcast SportsNet reported La Stella’s demotion was just about the numbers game, but not the ones put up on the field.
Chris Coghlan came through at the plate and delivered the game-winning hit on Friday.
Joe Maddon said Friday that he is not sure when Jorge Soler will be activated from the DL. Maddon said he would not rejoin the Cubs on Saturday and that’s all he could say at that point.
Soler’s hamstring injury is reportedly healed but his timing is still off at the plate.
Soler was back in Double-A Tennessee’s lineup on Friday. Soler batted second and played left field.
Soler went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout in the Smokies 7-6 victory over the Lookouts in 11 innings before he was replaced by Ian Happ.
In five games with Double-A Tennessee, Soler is 1-for-16 with six walks and five strikeouts (.063/.304/.063/.367).
Rumors surfaced quickly, courtesy of Jesse Rogers on Friday afternoon, that something was brewing with Ian Happ on the trade front. Rogers reported Happ was scratched from the lineup and he was hearing that Happ could be on the move.
Happ wasn’t in the lineup released by the Smokies. Happ may have been in the original lineup, but he was not in the first one that was made public. Rogers later reported he was told Friday was “a straight day off for Happ” but that he was still hearing “chatter.”
Justin Rocke stayed on top of the story and reported Happ replaced Soler in left field in the 10th inning.
Andrew Cashner was dealt from the Padres to the Marlins on Friday as part of a rather large trade.
The Padres traded RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Colin Rea, RHP Tayron Guerrero and cash to the Marlins for RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Carter Capps, RHP Luis Castillo and 1B Josh Naylor. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Padres sent about $2.275 million of the $2.5 million owed to Cashner to the Marlins in the trade.
The Marlins make their annual trip to Wrigley next week for a three-game series beginning Monday.
The Marlins announced Friday that Cashner will start the finale of the four-game series with the Cardinals on Sunday. Cashner will look a lot different Sunday from the last time he took the hill for the Padres. Due to the Marlins’ no facial hair policy, Cash will have to shave off his beard.
Jayson Stark reported the Marlins turned their attention to Cashner and the Marlins after “not matching up” with the Phillies for Jeremy Hellickson. And according to Stark, the Rays asked for Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto in discussions for Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Coaching staffs for the upcoming Arizona Fall League were announced Friday. Ryan Christiansen (Athletics) will manage the Mesa Solar Sox this fall. Emeralds’ pitching coach Brian Lawrence will be one of the Solar Sox’s coaches and Shane Nelson will be the team’s trainer.
• Comcast SportsNet asked if the Cubs trade for a hitter, how would they fit all these guys on the roster.
• According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs and White Sox should be active until the trade deadline.
• Comcast SportsNet reported Cubs battle rain, explode for blowout over Mariners.
• According to Bruce Levine, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are in a MVP battle.
• The Tribune reported Addison Russell is ready for another playoff stretch drive.
• Friday was the seventh time, first this season, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant stole a base in the same game.
• With his performance Friday, Jon Lester moved ahead of Ted Lilly on the Cubs’ list of left-handers that have completed at least six scoreless innings and struck out seven or more batters in a single start. Lester has four such starts, four less than Hippo Vaughn and Ken Holtzman.
• Jon Lester improved to 11-4 on the season Friday (11-4, 2.95 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 3.89 FIP), matching his win total from his first year with the Cubs (11-12, 3.34 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 2.92 FIP)
• New Cubs’ lefty Mike Montgomery had another rough outing Friday (one run, three hits, two walks, two strikeouts, 40 pitches, 22 strikes, in two innings) as he adjusts to his new team. Montgomery said to the Tribune, “It’s definitely been a transition. I’ve been traded but never in the middle of the year. It’s a work-in-progress. I’m talking to catchers, getting to know players, getting to know people. It’s just how it is. It’s going to take time.” It is easy to forget the human element and think baseball players and professional athletes are not machines.
• LHP Brian Matusz was scheduled to start Friday for the I-Cubs. The Des Moines Register reported he would not be starting in New Orleans a couple of hours before game time. No further details were provided.
• Buster Olney reported slumping sluggers Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper and Jason Heyward battle swing and confidence issues to get back on track.
• The Cardinals continue to explore the relief market as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches according to Jenifer Langosch.
• Craig Breslow signed a minor league contract with the Rangers. Tom Gorzelanny inked a minor deal with the Orioles and Joe Thatcher signed with the Indians on a minor league deal according to Matt Eddy.
• Speaking of lefties, the Pirates and Mets have talked about a deal that would send Jon Niese back to New York.
• Multiple teams, including the Nationals, are pursuing the Pirates’ Mark Melancon according to Ken Rosenthal. The Indians and Giants are two of those teams. Rosenthal reported the Pirates are looking for prospects and a MLB reliever, “seventh inning type” as part of any return for Melancon.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 29, 2016
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 29, 2016
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 29, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs acquired Felix Doubront from the Red Sox for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Marco Hernandez to Boston on Dec. 15 to complete the trade.
2012 – Cubs acquired Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman from the Braves for Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm
2012 – Cubs traded Geovany Soto to the Rangers for Jacob Brigham
2009 – Cubs acquired Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow from the Pirates for Josh Harrison, Jose Ascanio and Kevin Hart
2002 – Cubs released Travis Miller
2001 – Cubs traded Ruben Quevedo and Peter Zoccolillo to the Brewers for David Weathers and Roberto Miniel
1993 – Cubs acquired Tuffy Rhodes as part of a three-team trade. The Yankees sent John Habyan to the Royals, the Cubs sent Paul Assenmacher to the Yankees and the Cubs received Rhodes from the Royals.
1989 – Mark Grace belted a two-out, three-run homer off Rick Aguilera and gave the Cubs a 6-4 victory over the Mets. Les Lancaster won the game and the Cubs completed the three-game sweep over the Mets.
1985 – The Rangers signed amateur free agent Sammy Sosa
1957 – Steve Trout, born
1938 – Cubs traded Bob Logan and cash to the Washington Senators for Vance Page
1934 – Cubs purchased Clay Bryant from the Indians
1934 – Reds purchased Gilly Campbell from the Cubs
1933 – Cubs released Burleigh Grimes