Last year the Cubs traded Scott Feldman nearly a month before the trade deadline (July 2nd) and picked up two talented, but inconsistent MLB ready players in Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. In doing so, they set the market early before trading their big prize, Matt Garza, in a deal that landed 4 good prospects.
Could they repeat the pattern this year? ESPN's Buster Olney hears that is exactly what they plan on doing with Jason Hammel as the bait.
Keith Law agrees with the strategy, saying that their is a big need for starting pitching and that Hammel's value is well established. Between the two, they came up with the following list of teams who could show interest:
- Blue Jays
The Yankees have also been mentioned in various places.
As for what the Cubs could get for Hammel, I would imagine it could be similar to the return for Feldman or perhaps, if no MLB ready players are available, something along the lines they got for Ryan Dempster. Peter Gammons calls Hammel an under the radar trade candidate and implies the Cubs can get a return similar to the one the Cubs got for Matt Garza. I'm sure we'd all take that in a heartbeat.
It's assumed the Cubs would like pitching prospects in return, preferably at the upper level but they would certainly take a Class A pitcher of they can't get a more MLB ready pitcher with some upside.
The trouble is that the Angels and Athletics aren't particularly strong when it comes to pitching prospects and the Orioles aren't going to trade Kevin Gausman or Dylan Bundy or even class A starter Hunter Harvey. 4th best prospect LHP Eduardo Rodriguez is having an off season in his second go-round in AA, so perhaps he can be made available.
The Blue Jays are deep with prospects and have an MLB ready starter in Sean Nolin, though his upside isn't the same as Jake Arrieta. Nolin has the ceiling of a #4 starter. The Jays also have two upside pitchers who are having disastrous years. Alberto Tirado cannot find the plate and Roberto Osuna is out for the season. It'd be high risk for upside, but it isn't like the Cubs are giving up more than 3 months of a pitcher in a non-contention year. Matt Boyd, a safer arm with modest upside, dominated Cubs affiliate Daytona last night.
The Yankees have some interesting arms and I'm sure the Cubs would love to get Dellin Betances or Ian Clarkin but the former is currently a key piece in the Yankees chances and the latter may end up being their best pitching prospect when the end of year rankings come out. The Cubs have shown interest in Manny Banuelos in the past. He has been pitching this season after battling through injuries but the Yankees likely aren't ready to give up on him yet.
The precedent has been established with the Feldman trade, can the Cubs front office get creative and pull of another deal for MLB ready talent? We many have to wait much longer to find out.
Filed under: Rumors/Speculation