The Chicago Cubs are running out of time to make a trade before next week’s MLB Trade Deadline, and a slew of options are coming off the board as teams make their moves.
Here are the latest news on the trade front for the Cubs:
Britton the Latest Bullpen Option to Slip Away From Cubs
Relief options are beginning to dwindle for the Cubs, as Zach Britton was traded to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
Britton, who has a 3.45 ERA in 16 relief appearances this season for the Orioles, bolsters an already strong Yankees bullpen that also includes Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson.
The removal of Britton from the market leaves the Cubs with one less option as they potentially seek a temporary replacement for Brandon Morrow, who is on the disabled list with a biceps issue. Brad Hand was already traded from the Padres to the Indians earlier in the month, and Jeurys Familia was shipped to the Oakland A’s in a trade with the New York Mets.
Starting Pitching Market Also Takes Hits
The Cubs could also be looking for a starter or a long relief flex option, and another one of those is off the board as Nathan Eovaldi is heading to the Boston Red Sox.
Eovaldi, who has a 3-4 record and a 4.26 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays this season, is a control specialist who has struck out 53 batters and walked just eight this season, and he will give the Red Sox a versatile tool to use in their rotation as they battle the Yankees in the American League East.
Could a Veteran Starter Be a Target for Cubs?
According to multiple reports, the Cubs sent scouts to watch Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels pitch on Tuesday night.
The Cubs are one of several teams reportedly interested in Hamels, who is still owed roughly $7 million for the remainder of this season. Hamels also has a team option for next year, but a trade partner could buy him out for $6 million at the end of the year.
The Cubs could also target Chicago White Sox pitcher James Shields, who is pitching in what is likely the final year of a contract he originally signed with the San Diego Padres.
According to the terms of that trade, the Padres would pay the $2 million buyout for Shields for next season, meaning that the Cubs could pay him the remaining money left on this year’s deal, which would only amount to a few million dollars.
Both options come with plenty of risks, but could be good for the team if they’re not convinced they’ll be able to get a healthy Yu Darvish back for a big chunk of the 2018 campaign.