We’ve already discussed deals centered around Contreras and Hub, as well as any of these hitters with any of the dilutes (those were mostly Padres/Mets rumors, but there are a number of teams that this kind of deal could make sense for. I’m surprised to see How does Hoyer space these deals?
Please trade Xander Bogaerts, Boston
The Boston Red Sox have been losing a lot lately. At the beginning of this month, their playoff odds were as high as 78% for all FanGraphs. Today, that’s down to 30.3%.
And Jeff Bassan thinks that could turn into a change of plans on Deadline:
The sources said: “Amid the injury-led meltdown and Boston’s descent to the bottom of the Middle East region, the possibility of the Red Sox becoming sellers is increasingly realistic, sources said…. Combine the Red Sox’s place in the standings with their chances in the post-season against teams. The best and most talented with the injured list, which is longer than CVS receipt, and the motivation to sell is clear and strong.
This is important to us Cubs fans for several reasons.
First of all, it could mean that JD Martinez hits the market with perhaps the best hitter available. That could affect the market for Wilson Contreras, who would likely be a DH (at least a bit) for any team that ends up. Likewise, the availability of a novice Nathan Evaldi can push someone like Drew Smiley down the hierarchy of attractive goals.
But the most interesting angle, in my estimation, is what happens with Xander Bogaerts.
The talented short player would immediately become the best player available on the market (outside of Juan Soto), which could clearly affect teams looking at the Cubs batsman as alternatives. But despite this conflict (even if there is conflict for such completely different players), I am actually on the trade.
In case you missed the news, the MLB and MLBPA were unable to reach an agreement on an international draft this week, meaning the qualifying bid status has not changed as this holiday date approaches. It also means that if the Cubs sign Xander Bogarts out of season, it will cost them their second highest pick, which, uh… the numbers will be pretty high given their relative place in the standings.
However, if the Bogaerts are traded by the deadline, he becomes ineligible to receive a qualifying offer and makes it more realistic for the Cubs.
I tend to think the Cubs prefer Carlos Correa in all things considered, but it’s very likely that the Bogaerts will come in second. And having a reliable backup option could help them negotiate a more reasonable deal (with either player) this winter.
But here’s the catch, via Passan: “Competing CEOs predict that even if Boston sheds half a dozen players, Bogarts, the short-lived 29-year-old star, won’t be among them, even though he’s set to hit free agency this winter. .”
Let’s watch this closely.
Maybe the stars weren’t as calm as they seemed
Before the trade season started in earnest, the Houston Astros were considered one of Willson Contreras’ obvious drop points due to their poor offensive performance behind the plate. But as soon as the rumors started leaking, we learned that they were fiercely resistant to the idea of moving Martin Maldonado from his spot behind the painting. And with Jordan Alvarez crushing the role of DH, the fit suddenly seemed less clear.
And as a matter of fact, I’ve hardly seen any direct rumors of the Astros at all. There was nothing but they didn’t seem to be active. Well… not anymore.
On ESPN, Jeff Passan has two main reports regarding Houston’s overall aggressiveness, as well as their interest in Willson Contreras, specifically:
- “Whether it’s the Bell or the Contreras or someone else, the sales teams say the Astros have been very aggressive and that they will be a better team by August 2nd.”
- The sources said, “…the Houston Astros have been in contact with the Cubs about the 30-year-old’s free agent.
This is the first time I’ve seen any direct report of Houston’s interest in Contreras. It’s always been a no-brainer, so it looks like these earlier reports may have been just a smokescreen.
Team communication about Contreras
In addition to the Houston Astros, Jeff Bassan says the New York Mets have been in touch with Cubs on Contreras (which still seems to me like a potential landing site for him), but the San Francisco Giants are “looking into fishing options” as well.
Here are some recent headlines about the Giants/Mets stuff, regarding Contreras:
All of these posts are especially important now that we know that all three teams have contacted the Cubs about a deal.
I tend to think Rays can still check out Contreras, especially now that they know they’ll be without Mike Zunino for the rest of the season. But Ken Rosenthal just said today that “a play for cub hunter Wilson Contreras does not seem to be a priority.”
Of course, he followed that up with “…but the Rays aren’t afraid of the big swing,” reminding us that a year ago Cubs and Rays had a framework deal for Chris Bryant and Craig Kimbrill.
He also mentioned that the Rays were among the teams exploring available Cubs thinners, which isn’t a surprise, but it’s definitely a good confirmation.
It’s not like being a buyer, but it’s definitely nice to know that Cubs are very prominent before the deadline. They should really be able to get the right deals.
Possibilities and endings:
- MacKenzie Gore is dealing with elbow soreness, which could significantly limit Padres’ ability to use it in a deal with Juan Soto. However, I think the Cubs would still be happy to take a pitcher out of it in a deal, and in fact, that might be the only way they could have gotten it in the first place (unlike last season’s PCA injury).
- The new match format should make the Braves and Mets *especially* aggressive on the trading deadline, since whoever hasn’t won the division, Padres will likely face the best of three wildcard round in the cards round. Not great.
- The Twins are looking for starting pitchers on the trade deadline, but they are not expected to land near the top of the market. Maybe that could make someone like Drew Smiley a possibility? Just speculate there.