Note: This article was written on the evening of August 1, 2023 after the Cubs 20-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
There were a number of smaller deals at the eleventh hour today that may have even come as unexpected to some.
I will start with the one that Mets fans were expecting to happen… Verlander was sent back to Houston affirming the end to the Mets season. Everyone was expecting him to be traded but there were different rumors including one I heard that was going to send him to the Bronx Bombers. When I heard this rumor I did not think much of it because I don’t see how he would have even fit into their rotation and while they still have a chance at making the playoffs I just do not think he would have fit into their rotation.
Some of the other trades that went down included San Diego bringing in some reinforcements and a couple of minor leaguers over from Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Miami. Of those rental players former Cubs lefty Rich Hill was one of them and will not haunt the Cubs for the rest of the season in since he was sent west with first baseman Ji Man Choi. This deal sent Jackson Wolf the Padres #16 prospect, first baseman Alfonso Rivas, and outfielder Estuar Suero to San Diego. The other two deals the Padres made at the eleventh hour involved players I’ve never so much as heard of before.
The other eleventh hour deals that stood out to me were the ones made by Philadelphia. The Braves have all but locked up the NL East leaving only a Wild Card spot for Philly to chase. The Phillies traded a top prospect for Michael Lorenzen from Detroit to close their need for a starting pitcher and they also made a deal with Pittsburgh moments before the deadline pasts sending left-handed pitcher Bailey Falter for Pirates infielder Rodolfo Castro, closing up their infield need.
DEEPER ROOTED REASONS BEHIND CUBS MOVES
I will explain the deeper rooted reasons behind the Cubs trade for Candelario shortly. They made a little move with Kansas City at the eleventh hour today too trading outfielder Nelson Velázquez for reliever José Cuas to help out of the pen. It sounds like the see him as a setup man based on his stats out in KC I am not so sure though… I guess time will tell though.
As I mentioned in my previous two articles many fans were saying the Cubs would be sellers… however, every reporter and analyst I heard talking about trade rumors had them being “soft” buyers. At first I did not understand what a “soft” buyer was… then Jesse Rogers explained it on ESPN radio last week and I understood what all the reporters, including him, and analysts were saying. I explained that in my article on Friday though. What are the deeper rooted reasons the Cubs were going always going to be “soft” buyers this year you ask?
The biggest reason was to have winning baseball on their network since they Just last week launched a direct-to-consumer streaming option for $20 per month. Most fans, including me, forgot that this was coming as an option for watching games so that is why many of us were expecting them to be sellers for the fourth year in a row. However, if they sold off guys like Stroman, who has been struggling the last month, and Bellinger they would not get fans to sign up for the new streaming option right away.
They were always going to be buyers this year though because their window to be in contention for a few years at the very least is opening up after the trade for Wesneski last July. Especially considering they also extended Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ after spending on Swanson and Taillon this past winter. I said this the other day and I will stand by it… they will be making a serious run for Shohei Ohtani when he is a free agent this winter. They have no reason not to and if he comes here that helps fill two significant needs they have because he would be the full time designated hitter and the ace on the pitching staff with Justin Steele right behind him, followed by Hendricks, and Wesneski. That would leave only a need for a number five… oh that is not really a need with how Taillon has been playing since the All Star break. Meaning they would just need to figure out who their relief pitchers will be and plug the hole at third since Candelario is likely going to be the full time first baseman according to manager David Ross.
There are a number of other smaller reasons they made the moves they made in the last seven months. However, I will save those reasons and slip them in as tidbits in my later articles later articles specifically as rumors build up this coming winter.
With that… it is time to let the playoff races heat up.
If you cannot play with them, root for them!