Cubs Trade Rumors: As the Cubs prepare to bolster their bullpen at the trade deadline, closer Hector Rondon gives them some leverage…
The Chicago Cubs recently went through their first four-game losing streak of the 2016 season, and after having so much success to start the year, it sort of prompted a small-scale panic among fans. Of course, any small-scale panic coming before the trade deadline can be eased with a healthy dose of Cubs trade rumors…
Aside from a wide number of injuries (thankfully, most of the short-term variety), the Cubs’ greatest weakness this year has been the bullpen, prompting them to reportedly scout the strong group in New York with the Yankees.
Because of the number of blowout wins we’ve seen from the Cubs this year, the bullpen hasn’t really needed to be a backbone of this team, though it could be a back-breaker come playoff time against a team like the Nationals in close games.
With the best pitching rotation in baseball right now, the Cubs should feel free to find upgrades for the bullpen, but at what cost? They obviously aren’t going to part with a top prospect like Willson Contreras, who could be a major piece of the lineup down the stretch given Miguel Montero‘s struggles at the plate. I would be shocked to see them part with Kyle Schwarber, though people love to throw his name in potential trades because he hasn’t really been on the field this year.
The reality of the situation is this — the Cubs need to make a move in the bullpen, but they can afford to not be desperate because of closer Hector Rondon.
As valuable and important as the starting rotation has been this year, Rondon has been excellent, leading the Cubs with a 1.40 ERA and an 0.62 WHIP (Gerardo Concepcion excluded due to sample size).
What Rondon has provided the Cubs with is a little bit of leverage. They don’t have to be desperate on the trade market with their big group of hitting prospects, even though they would love to add impact pitching for the back end of the bullpen.
If we’re speaking specifically of the Yankees, it seems that Andrew Miller has priced himself out of the Cubs’ range with his dominance this year.
There are a number of big factors in a trade with the Cubs involving either Chapman or Miller. As I stated before, it’s likely going to be way too pricey for the Cubs to break up their current core to acquire a piece like Miller, but it might be reasonable to look at Chapman and perhaps not give up quite as much.
It seems like — in trade discussions at least — the Yankees might prefer to move Chapman over Miller, and if the Cubs could make it happen without involving any of their big time stars, I think they should go for it. Of course for the Yankees and their fans, they want the highest return possible if they are going to be giving up a player of Chapman’s caliber.
Then again, the Cubs threw them a bone by basically giving away Starlin Castro this past offseason in order to basically make room for Ben Zobrist, so maybe the Yankees will take it easy on the Cubs in trade discussions.
With the Yankees having the designated hitter position in play, perhaps a player like Dan Vogelbach could peak their interest and be a key piece in a trade for Chapman. Perhaps they would require a guy like Schwarber even for Chapman, and I doubt the Cubs would go for it.
The thought of having Chapman/Miller and Rondon at the back of the Cubs’ bullpen along with Travis Wood for long relief could give Chicago the edge when it comes time for the playoffs. Not only giving them the best starting rotation in the game but also a versatile lineup and a couple of studs on the back end of the bullpen who can pitch out of jams and provide no doubt about closing games.