Cubs Trade Rumors: Cubs Have ‘Shown Most Interest’ in Brad Ziegler, Brewers Talking to Reds About Matt Harvey

What’s better that having one side-arming righty coming out of the bullpen? Why, that’d be two such unorthodox hurlers, which is what the Cubs would have if something comes to pass with their reported interest in Brad Ziegler of the Marlins. That comes via SiriusXM’s Craig Mish, who is very plugged in when it comes to the Marlins’ goings-on and was all over their big trades this past winter.

There are a lot of reasons this could make a lot of sense for the Cubs, not the least of which is that he’d give them a player born in the 70’s. Okay, that’s not actually a reason at all, but having those crafty old dudes — which is weird to say because Ziegler is several months younger than me — on the roster can be beneficial.

The 38-year-old Ziegler is in the final year of a two-year, $16 million deal, which means the Cubs would only be responsible for about $3 million of his $8 million AAV for this year. And based on our figures, that still keeps them around $2.5 million shy of the luxury tax line.

Ziegler’s also got that sidewinding delivery a la Steve Cishek, but with perhaps even more funk in the trunk, and we know now the Cubs like those change-of-pace guys in the ‘pen. He isn’t a huge swing-and-miss pitcher, but his 3.01 BB/9 mark means he doesn’t hurt himself too badly with excessive walks.

What’s really attractive about Ziegler, though, is the 74.3 percent grounder rate he generates with that submarine sinker/slider combo. That stands in sharp contrast to the seven home runs he’s allowed — hence the insanely high 33.3 percent home run-per-fly ball rate — which is evidence of him getting hit a little harder than in the past. Put him in front of that vaunted Cubs defense on day when the wind is blowing in and you’ve got yourself a clean inning.

With the Marlins basically holding an everything-must-go sale, you figure they’d be looking for a minimal return on a guy there’s no way they’ll extend a qualifying offer to. They get his money off the books and maybe pick up a lottery ticket.

In other NL Central pitching rumors, the Brewers are talking to the Reds about the resurgent Matt Harvey, who has been quite passable in Cincinnati. Even after giving up eight runs on four homers in his last start against the Pirates, Harvey’s ERA since the trade from New York is a decent 4.50.

And it’s not a fluke, as evidenced by a 4.65 FIP and 4.48 xFIP. He’s not striking many batters, but he doesn’t walk many either. He’s also pitched well against the Cubs twice this season, something the Brewers might see as a value-add. With no team control and a spotty history both personally and professionally, it’s hard to imagine the Reds would be asking for much.

It’s also hard to believe this move is the best the Brewers could do after all the other names they’ve been tied to, but you never know.

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