With the trade deadline fast approaching, it looks like the Giants have realized that their bluff has been called and are now looking to move several pitchers. Ace lefty Madison Bumgarner has been the subject of talks with the Astros and others and Jon Morosi is reporting that San Francisco is “having ‘sell’ conversations on their pitchers.”
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2019
That certainly means lefties Tony Watson and Will Smith, as well as the suddenly valuable Drew Pomeranz, also a lefty. Wait, and they had Derek Holland? How can one team have so many legit lefty relievers?
Well, they probably won’t by Wednesday afternoon and the Cubs would understandably like to help them with that. Smith has long been considered a target, to the point that he has been called a “no-brainer,” though both the market and the Cubs’ ability to play in it have been thrown for a loop over the last few days.
Theo Epstein admitted this past weekend in Milwaukee that signing Craig Kimbrel had depleted most or all of their financial flexibility for deadline deals. That might seem like posturing under different circumstances, but it lines up all too well with everything we heard over the winter and more recent low-cost moves for Holland and David Phelps.
That said, being able to get a lock-down lefty like Smith could be enough to trigger a new appropriation of fundage from the imminent Marquee money that the Cubs have said will be available immediately next year.
Or maybe they really go for broke trying to fix an offense that has looked every bit as unreliable as the one Epstein famously lamented last October. Could that mean Whit Merrifield is a legitimate possibility? While no single player makes everything alright, there could not be a more perfect fit for the current Cubs roster (just don’t check his Twitter).
He ain’t coming cheap, though, and KC holds all the cards on this one because they’ve got inexpensive club control for a few more years. Reports from earlier in the month were that it’d take three MLB-ready players just to sit down at the table and talk, and Jon Heyman tweets that the “enormous” cost remains so.
Cubs would love Whit Merrifield. But the asking price has always been enormous and is said to remain so. KC loves him too.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 31, 2019
Acquiring Merrifield would cost the Cubs depth they can ill afford to lose, but should Theo Epstein really be worried about much beyond this season? With just two more years until the expiration of his own contract, not to mention those of several members of the Cubs’ core, time is hardly on the organization’s side.
I don’t harbor any real belief that they’ll actually make it happen, at least not during the season, but that remains the white whale of this particular deadline.