Cubs Trade Rumors: Updates on Darvish, Verlander, More

“It has to be obvious this guy is going to help,” Joe Maddon said prior to Friday’s evisceration. “Lateral moves can work against you in a tight clubhouse.”

I wanted to lead with that because the way the Cubs soiled the bed against the Cardinals led to a lot of knee-jerk reactions. And while many of them were laden with sarcasm, there was no doubt plenty of seriousness in the comments about the Cubs going after some new arms. And they very well may, with names like Zach Britton and Mike Minor coming up over the last few days.

Ken Rosenthal added credence to the latter rumor when he wrote in a Facebook post (he’s been using that medium since FOX Sports has pivoted to video and he can’t write there) that the Cubs “still intend to acquire a left-handed reliever.” And that’s all well and good, but all the chatter Friday dealt with the starting pitching market.

Jon Morosi created a stir when he wrote that the Cubs had inquired as to the availability and cost of Yu Darvish, adding that “a trade match between the teams is more plausible than it would’ve been entering the All-Star break.” Then again, if the cost is actually low (or lower from a┬árelative standpoint) wouldn’t there be several other teams more willing and able to pry the stud starter loose from Texas?

Jeff Passan thinks so, listing the Astros, Brewers, Yankees, Indians, Rockies, and Dodgers among those teams with both the prospects and desire to get Darvish. No Cubs on that list. Morosi seemed to confirm as much later in the day, adding that the Cubs prefer to pursue long-term options.

Which brings us to another name, one that has been on the radar for quite a while now. That’s right, Justin Verlander is still being thrown out there. Nothing new in and of itself, though it’s the info in the second tweet below that I found interesting.

The reports on Verlander have been all over the map, starting with the Tigers wanting a huge prospect return and for the acquiring team to pay Verlander’s full remaining salary. Then we learned that they’d be willing to kick in some relief in terms of the money, though that would mean getting back more in human capital. What Nightengale’s indicating is that the Cubs might be amenable to taking on the money if the Tigers are really just looking for a salary dump.

Listen, I know $28 million a year for the next two years seems like a lot for an aging starter whose stats have been less than stellar this season, but it’s less than what the Cubs are paying for Jake Arrieta ($15.6M) and John Lackey ($16M) this season. That doesn’t mean Verlander is worth the same as both of those pitchers combined, just that their money will fall off the books, leaving room for the new contract. And then Verlander falls off the ledger right around the time the Cubs will need to start talking turkey with their big-time position players. Really just spitballing here.

And lest you think this is all just idle talk, consider that several teams — including some we’ve not yet mentioned — are scouting the Cubs farm system to get a better idea of who they might be able to get back in a deal.

Hmmm, could be some interesting names in there. Lefty reliever Brad Hand pitches for the Padres and has long been discussed as a trade piece. He’s also got two more years of control after this one, which is nice. Or what about former Cub Trevor Cahill? The Blue Jays have been discussing another former Cub, Joe Smith, though he’s a righty. Francisco Liriano is a lefty, but he’s a starter. Lots to chew on, that’s for sure.

As I believe you’re all aware, this Cubs front office isn’t a group of impulsive children. They’ll do their due diligence in kicking the tires on all the options they can find, so expect to keep hearing all kinds of names ahead of the July 31 deadline. And be sure to have your salt ready, since the Cubs are going to come up as suitors for a lot of players on whom they don’t really have any designs.

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