Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reported that both the Rays and Athletics have been actively scouting the Cubs for trade prospects.
The A’s have greatly improved their farm system after unloading prospects such as shortstop Addison Russell, outfielder Billy Mckinney, RHP Aaron Brooks, and RHP Dan Straily for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in 2014, but are looking to unload veterans to regain more prospects.
Sean Doolittle and Rich Hill are other A’s players gaining interest from teams in need of pitching. This season, Doolittle has a 2.93 ERA with 35 strikeouts and only eight walks in 30.2 innings. His average fastball velocity is over 95 MPH with an exit velocity under 90, suggesting that hitters have a hard time squaring him up. It’s not imperative for the Cubs to trade for a reliever considering that they have veterans Joe Nathan and Brian Matusz in their farm system, but adding Doolittle would certainly help solidify their ability to play matchups in the playoffs.
Hill is carrying a large price tag because of his success in 2016. The A’s were the only team to offer Hill a contract, even though it was only a one-year deal for $6 million. Hill is 9-3 in 14 starts with a 2.25 ERA is 76 innings. His 4:1 BB/K ratio is an appealing stat to the Cubs, who are worried about the performances of both Hammel and John Lackey. Hill would be a back-end option that could anchor the Cubs rotation heading into the playoffs.
Cubs fans are growing impatient with skipper Joe Maddon utilizing players like Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras in the outfield, especially after the 2-1 loss to the New York Mets (50-43) on Tuesday night. A player like Josh Reddick would fill the positional void in the outfield while also adding a solid contact hitter to the lineup. Reddick is drawing interest from multiple teams including the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals, so the price may wind up being too high for the Cubs to make a deal.
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