The July 30th Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is drawing ever closer. Contenders will look for the piece to put them over the edge to win the World Series, while fringe playoff teams will be eyeing the piece to get them into the postseason. Here, we take a look at some players rumored to be on the move and whether or not I believe those moves will actually happen:
The Chicago Cubs looked like they were on the verge of being deadline buyers near the end of last month, but a 12-game losing streak has them in fourth place in the NL Central. They have a host of players seemingly up for grabs, but Kimbrel is the chief prize among them. After a rough first two seasons with the Northsiders, Kimbrel has returned to his All-Star form in 2021 with a microscopic 0.50 ERA and peripheral numbers to back it up. He is the premier backend of the bullpen option this season. Tack on to that the fact that he has a club option for another season, and Kimbrel not just a rental. The likelihood he is suiting up in a Cubs uniform on July 31st is minimal.
The future of Eric Hosmer in San Diego is up in the air, according to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, after the Padres made a deal for Adam Frazier. The expectation is that Hosmer will be usurped at first base by Jake Cronenworth. His contract runs through 2026 and is due $18 million per year until then. While his full no-trade clause has run out, the likelihood Hosmer is dealt without packaging prospects along with him is slim, given the farm system getting thinner at the top with each trade A.J. Preller makes. He has only hit eight home runs, has a 96 wRC+ (four points below the league average), and is worth -0.4 WAR. The Padres would like to be under the luxury tax, but they may need to look elsewhere if they want to accomplish that.
Verdict: No Deal
The other big name shortstop that will be on the market is Colorado’s All-Star slugging shortstop Trevor Story. The Rockies aren’t competitive and Story is headed for free agency. His numbers are down this year, but he’s still showing flashes that he is a great player; clubbing 12 home runs and still providing Gold Glove defense. The San Diego Padres have already inquired about acquiring his services, so this one seems like a matter of time.
The former MVP seems all but out of Wrigleyville. Or does he? Bryant is still on the team and it’s getting down to the wire. He has admitted his willingness to re-sign with the Cubs, even if they do trade him. In addition, Bryant has reportedly told his agent, Scott Boras, to listen to any offer that the Cubs send his way. Jed Hoyer and company can extend him a qualifying offer in the offseason and salvage back a compensatory pick for the slugger. It is likely he’s wearing a different uniform by the start of August, but it’s still odd that he’s still with the Cubs as the deadline comes down to the final hours.
Verdict: Deal, but watch with intrigue
Berrios is a commodity towards the deadline, as the starting pitching options available seem relatively thin at the top level. The Twins don’t necessarily have to trade Berrios, as he still has a year of team control left before free agency, but would likely receive a haul in the deal. Minnesota has recently been shot down in their attempts to extend Byron Buxton and could decide to pull the trigger on another rebuild following three straight seasons of winning the AL Central.
After the trade of Anthony Rizzo to the New York Yankees on Thursday, it seems that the report that the Cubs see Baez and Rizzo as building blocks in their retool could be accurate. It seems that anyone is on the trade block as the Cubs seemingly enter their second long rebuild since 2009. Baez has mentioned before that he’d like to play with Francisco Lindor. Baez seems like he’ll make his way out from Wrigley, much like Rizzo.