The floundering Chicago Cubs are one of the teams that could be active at the MLB trade deadline later this month, and they have been attached to some of the biggest names on the market.
The Cubs, who sit at 41-42 and trail the Milwaukee Brewers by three and a half games in the National League Central, have dealt with consistency issues and injuries in their starting rotation, and they also have seen their bats go silent at times as their World Series title defense has been a rocky road through the first half of the season.
So which players could end up coming onto the Cubs’ radar as the trade deadline approaches? Here are some of the names that have been attached to the team in recent days.
Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
Archer, whom the Cubs traded to the Rays in a deal that brought Matt Garza to Chicago, could look to reacquire the talented starter, but there will be some snags that will have to be dealt with.
To start with, the Rays are currently in a three-way tie for the second wild card spot in the American League, and they may not be looking to sell at the trade deadline. What’s more, Archer is currently on a very team friendly contract, under team control until the end of the 2021 season at no more than $8.25 million per season.
Those factors will raise his price considerably, and the Cubs may not like what they hear in negotiations should they choose that route.
Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers
After the Cubs cut loose Miguel Montero, there have been reports tying them to Avila, a veteran catcher who could be a solid back-up for Willson Contreras.
So far this season, Avila has 11 home runs and 29 RBI for the Tigers, batting .308 with an OPS of .992 in 208 plate appearances. Those are outstanding numbers for a catcher, and if the Tigers end up selling before the deadline, he could make for a very attractive piece for the Cubs.
2017 Chicago Sports Yearbook: History-Making Moments
Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics
This rumor is a bit older, but according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Cubs are one of four teams that could be looking to pry Gray away from the A’s before the trade deadline.
Gray, originally drafted by the Cubs in 2008 (he never signed a contract with the team and was selected by the A’s in 2011), has a 3-4 record with a 4.09 ERA this season, and although he had a really strong 2015 season, injuries and inconsistency have plagued him at times in his young career.
Even still, Gray’s young age and potential upside could lure teams like the Cubs into the race, and there may be another added incentive too: dealing for Gray would keep him away from teams the Cubs will be competing with for a playoff spot.
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Cubs have reached out to the Tigers about potentially acquiring Verlander, and although there would be issues in doing so, there is a good deal of upside to be had as well.
Verlander has an ERA of nearly five this season, but with his long history of success and his durability in his career, he could be a good bounceback candidate for the Cubs. What’s more, he has a contract that the Cubs could likely convince the Tigers to eat salary on, and that would help them remain financially flexible both heading into the deadline and into the 2017 offseason.