According to the Tribune's Mark Gonzalez, Scouts from six teams had scouts at Jason Hammel's start last night. Included in the six is a new entrant: the Kansas City Royals.
In the midst of an eight game winning streak, the Royals have closed within half a game of division leading Detroit. Moreoever, the Royals are in the second and final year of their rental of RHP James Shields, so it makes sense that they want to make a push this year.
In addition to a starter, the Royals are seeking outfield help and a left handed reliever. They were scouting the Cubs, presumably for these things, on Saturday in Pittsburgh. While they may want to shoot higher than Nate Schierholtz in the outfield, a package build around Hammel and James Russell could fill a lot of holes for them.
It's unclear what the Royals would offer in return. Top prospects Kyle Zimmer and Raul Mondesi seem very unlikely for a 2 month rental of Hammel. LHP Sean Manaea -- who currently has a very strong 3.22 FIP in high A Wilmington -- is only slightly more likely.
Sources: Cubs telling teams they are willing to listen to offers for starting pitchers Samardzija, Hammel, E. Jackson and Arrieta. Cubs not planning to *trade* all 4, but they want to see what market values are for each and then decide on course. Due diligence.
The shocker here, obviously, is Jake Arrieta. While I'm sure the Cubs are "listening" -- they'd "listen" on Kris Bryant -- I think it's a mistake to conclude that anything more than that is happening. As Morosi himself says, it's due diligence. Arrieta's improving performance (2.89 xFIP) and cost control -- he is first time arbitration eligible next year -- make him very valuable to the rebuilding Cubs. Any deal would have to leave the Cubs in a significantly better long term position and it is difficult to see a team making such an offer.
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