When Jason Hammel left the game Wednesday night it may have suddenly propelled the timeline to trading for a starting pitcher. Even with Hammel in the rotation the Chicago Cubs are in need of front end pitching if they ever hope to stay in this race come late September.
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Many names have been thrown out in the rumor mill but finding the right fit will be crucial for this team.
The name that continues to swirl is Scott Kazmir of the Oakland A’s. Although he has proven to be a good pitcher, Kazmir is currently struggling with a lingering injury that may hold him back. More concerning than his physical status is his financial status.
If the Cubs do trade for Kazmir they would be taking on the remainder of the $13 million which includes a $2 million signing bonus.
Scott Kazmir is an expensive rental and one that makes me uncomfortable given how the Cubs have done business in recent years. If we are looking at possible rentals, allow me to suggest a player who possesses star qualities but may need a change of scenery to find it.
Milwaukee Brewers righty Mike Fiers has flown under the radar this year, and for much of his career. For good reason, Fiers is sporting an ERA close to 5.00, but sabermetrics is telling a different story. While ERA is a commonly used statistic, it can be flawed because it accounts for variables that are out of the pitcher’s control.
Those variables include throwing errors, fielding, the weather, the stadium he pitches in, and so on.
Fiers has devastating success with his secondary pitches. His four-seam fastball won’t burn a hole in the bat, but when he commands it he is among the league leaders in K/9 innings. At times, he will catch too much of the plate and when that happens he can get torched.
Also completing a one-year deal, Fiers salary is microscopic compared to some of the other names being mentioned leading up to the trade deadline.
If the Cubs target Fiers, they would be getting a solid 2-3 in their rotation at the low-low cost of $512,500. It’s not a bad way to invest low on a guy and see if it pays off.
I’m always on the lookout for a deal. Aside from the pitching we so desperately need, I would like the Cubs to find a left-handed outfield bat that can be an upgrade from Chris Coghlan. After a quick scan of the league, my attention once again is focused on the Athletics.
Josh Reddick might be talking his way out of Oakland before July 31st hits. Reddick has found himself in the doghouse recently for publicly criticizing the front office about their decision to bench him against lefties.
While you might be saying, “hey, Reddick is just as bad against lefties as Coghlan”, let me be clear. Despite the struggle against lefties for both players, Reddick offers a better overall option and has been more productive in less playing time.
My interest in Reddick is not solely his play on the field. Although he would be adding to the payroll, if the Cubs went after Josh Reddick they would have one year of arbitration eligibility with him. Having that safety net of control, to me, outweighs the price he’s being paid.
After 2015, Chris Coghlan, and Dexter Fowler are free agents. The Boston Red Sox drafted Reddick originally as a center fielder. If they had him on the roster, not only does he present a better talent option over Coghlan, but he may be your answer in center after this year.
In 2016, The Cubs could use Matt Szczur as a platoon with Reddick, giving the Cubs a potent one-two punch in the outfield.
Thinking outside the box has been the driving force of the Chicago Cubs in recent years, and it might be the right move to do it again as the deadline approaches.