The trade deadline has come and gone, but the Chicago Cubs are certainly paying attention to the trade market. With the injury to Jon Lester, the Cubs have one eye on the team, and another on the waiver wire, according to some sources.
If you’re not entirely sure how teams can still trade players, read my explanation here.
In fact, Dan Bernstein, host of Bernstein and Goff on AM-670 The Score, confirmed that the team is looking at pitchers – one in particular. Justin Verlander. Yes that familiar name that doesn’t seem to go away is back in trade rumors with the Cubs.
Verlander may have jumpstarted that interest as he carried a no-hit bid into the sixth against the best team in baseball – the Los Angeles Dodgers. In fact, Justin has been phenomenal over his last five starts. Pitching to the tune of a 2.06 ERA, 0.829 WHIP, and striking out 10 per nine innings – he has picked up where 2016 ended.
I’ve done a deep dive on Justin before, and the reasons to acquire a pitcher of his talent and experience are becoming more and more important.
If there are any hiccups with Lester’s return, the Cubs will need a big-time arm to step up. With Jake Arrieta pitching like an ace again, the team is only two games up on the Milwaukee Brewers, and will need multiple others to step up. We’ve seen John Lackey pitch better of late, but do you trust him with important starts down the stretch? I absolutely love Kyle Hendricks, but he’s treated with kits gloves and the bullpen will pitch three or more innings when he’s on the mound.
Justin Verlander can be an answer. He is an expensive one, but it might be an expense the Cubs might not be able to afford to pass on.
There could be multiple teams interested in Verlander, the most likely being the Houston Astros. I would expect that anyone that wants to compete in 2017 would be interested now. With the Dodgers looking more and more like the team to beat (yes, that’s an understatement) Verlander offers a legit ace to anyone’s staff. Tell me a contender that wouldn’t like a guy that had just two-hit LA?
But you’re also getting a man who has performed extremely well in 13 playoff games. An ERA just over 3.00 and has World Series experience. A player with an arm that can touch 98 MHP after pitching six or seven innings is a valuable playoff weapon.
It will be difficult to find equal compensation, and the salary is a hurdle as well. A player from the Cubs 40-man roster would need to be included as well – which means someone will need to clear waivers. Again a slippery slope, but deals like this have been worked out in the past. It would probably take someone like Albert Almora, Victor Caratini, or even Javy Baez (you’ve got to check out this article on Baez).
I feel it is a long shot, but I’ve learned when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer want something – they get it done.
Tell me Cubs fans, would you be willing to trade for Verlander?