The Rundown: Deadline Deals Down to Zero-Hour, Soto Status Stalling Summer Stove, Padres Pursuing ‘Dizzying Number of Deals’
“They talk of days for which they sit and wait. All will be revealed.” – Led Zeppelin, Kashmir
Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and David Robertson are still in a holding pattern as we approach this afternoon’s deadline to trade major league players. It’s as unnerving for the players as it is for the fans. In fact, Contreras wants the entire saga to be done with.
There hasn’t been much movement, presumably because teams are waiting to see what the Nationals will do with Juan Soto. At some point, however, the market will have to begin cascading whether the All-Star outfielder is moved or not. I mean, there isn’t one deadline for Soto and a secondary target time for everybody else.
Because the Mets and Padres are both interested in Soto and Contreras, Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins are stuck on the sidelines as they wait for the biggest domino to fall. I know the Cardinals have been heavily connected to the right fielder, but my gut tells me Soto will not be traded. Could St. Louis be trying to stall the market purposely? It might make sense, I suppose. That organization is usually very hesitant to trade its minor league assets, and I have a tough time believing John Mozeliak will sell the farm for two years of Soto.
The Mets make the most sense, but they’re a division rival. If Soto goes to the Padres, A.J. Preller almost has to work out a deal with the Cubs, giving top prospects to Hoyer in return for taking on an oversized contract or two. Both organizations have been discussing Eric Hosmer for the last year, so maybe Hoyer and Hawkins are hoping for something like MacKenzie Gore and Robert Hassell in a Hosmer-Contreras deal.
Today is going to be one hell of a day. Make sure you check in on us here at Cubs Insider for all the deals both real and rumored.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs and Mets are in an old-fashioned staredown, with New York possibly trying to force Hoyer into lowering his asking price for Contreras.
- The Padres are reportedly interested in Contreras too, and I am assuming any holdup should be attributed to the rumors involving Soto to San Diego.
- On Saturday, the Cubs and Dodgers agreed on a trade that sent reliever Chris Martin to Los Angeles for utility player Zach McKinstry.
- McKinstry said he is hungry for the opportunity he will get with the Cubs.
- The team hopes that with more of a runway in Chicago, McKinstry can match his minor league numbers. He slashed .335/.417/.487 in 223 plate appearances for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.
- McKinstry was added to the big league roster on Sunday. Alfonso Rivas optioned to Iowa in a corresponding move.
- Drew Smyly is no stranger to trade season, and the starting pitcher said he’s “ready for anything.”
- On Sunday, Chicago acquired RHP Raynel Espinal in a trade with the Giants for league infielder Dixon Machado.
- Manager David Ross apologized for the twin birds incident. “I should definitely know better,” Ross said, issuing the unsolicited apology. “It was kind of my hello to a friend of mine on the other side and just got caught on camera.”
- Keith Law of The Athletic updated his top 60 prospects list ($) to include recent draftees. Pete Crow-Armstrong jumped to No. 28, but Brennen Davis fell to No. 35. Neither Cade Horton nor Jackson Ferris made his new list.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports has some Obvious Shirts ideas for this year’s Cubs squad.
Odds & Sods
If the Athletics can’t afford Sean Murphy at $3 million, the league should either contract the team or finally move it to Las Vegas. The Guardians are said to be very interested in Murphy.
That is a damning statement… pic.twitter.com/O8WGvjJtZu
— Greg Zumach (@IvyFutures) August 1, 2022
Climbing the Ladder
“Train roll on down the line, won’t you please take me far away.” – Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tuesday’s Gone
The Cubs dropped three of four to the Giants to fall to 41-60 on the season. As of this morning, Chicago is the seventh-worst team in baseball.
- Games Played: 101
- Total Plate Appearances: 3,845
- Total Strikeouts: 894
- Strikeout Rate: 23.25%
- Team Batting Average: .244
- Runs Scored: 428
- Runs Allowed: 498
How About That!
The Cardinals and Padres are believed to be the strongest suitors for Soto.
Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Preller and the Padres are pursuing a dizzying number of deals and could walk away with Soto and Contreras once all is said and done ($). Rosenthal said Preller is also making a run at Shohei Ohtani.
Like Contreras, Soto just wants to get past the deadline so that he can focus on playing baseball.
Rosenthal also mentioned that Preller has prospects to trade, including Hassell and shortstop C.J. Abrams for starters, but also two high-ceiling players from the 2021 draft, shortstop Jackson Merrill and outfielder James Wood.
He also said the Brewers are again listening to overtures for closer Josh Hader.
The market this year is energized by two unprecedented factors: six playoff spots in each league and the best player ever available at the trade deadline.
Joey Gallo is drawing interest from at least three teams and the market for Frankie Montas has started to take shape.
The Yankees are reportedly making a strong run at Montas.
Vaccination status is adding a new twist to this deadline, particularly for the Blue Jays and their AL East rivals.
The Phillies acquired shortstop Edmundo Sosa in a trade with the Cardinals on Saturday, giving up reliever JoJo Romero, who had most recently been pitching for triple-A Lehigh Valley.
How about a list of the weirdest trades in MLB history to add a little sunshine to your morning?
Sunday’s Three Stars
- Carlos Rodón – 10 strikeouts in seven innings, giving Cubs fans hope that the fireballing lefty will find his way to Wrigley Field in free agency this winter. Fingers crossed the Giants trade Rodón today.
- Alec Bohm – The Phillies this baseman was 4-for-5 and fella triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
- James Outman – The Dodgers rookie had three hits, including a homer, in his major league debut.
Goodbyes do not have to be forever. Let’s just say “until we meet again.”
That closes the book on Willson Contreras’ career as a Chicago Cub. .258/.351/.457 with 109 home runs. Three All Star selections and a World Series championship. Thank you Willson. pic.twitter.com/i1gUH3AcYU
— Ryan Thomure (@RyanThomure) August 1, 2022
Monday Morning Six-Pack
- The maturity of Bears’ second-year tackle Teven Jenkins has been questioned by some members of the media. All that and more in today’s edition of Camp Notes.
- Rookie defensive backs Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker have displayed mad ball-hawking skills through the first four days of camp. Chicago will conduct its first full-contact practice this afternoon as players don their pads for the first time.
- NBA icon and civil rights activist Bill Russell, 88, died “peacefully” this weekend with his wife at his side. While it may read like a typo, Russell did actually win 11 NBA championships in 13 years as a member of the Celtics.
- As a racial justice advocate, Russell was a legend away from the basketball court, too.
- Nichelle Nichols, the trailblazing actress who starred as Lieutenant Uhura on the OG Star Trek series also passed away this weekend. She was 89 years old. In 2011, Nichols told the WSJ that she planned to leave the show after the first season until a chance meeting with an admiring fan changed her mind. That fan: Martin Luther King Jr.
- We may be dealing with more tricks than treats this Halloween. Candy maker Hershey said it might not be able to meet this year’s demand for chocolate bars.
They Said It
- “I just want this to be over. If they’re going to trade me, they’re going to trade me. If they don’t want to trade me, they don’t. But I just want this day to pass and keep focused on playing baseball. I just want this to be over.” – Contreras
- “I’m gonna go hard, play to the best of my ability, give it 100 percent on every play, just trying to win ballgames.” – McKinstry
Monday Walk-Up Song
No candy? Bummer.