Friday, July 27, 2018

BOLDLY Predicting the MLB Trade Deadline: National League Central

The July 31st trading deadline is fast approaching here for the 2018 MLB season, so let’s take the chance to post a few bold predictions for every team in the National League Central before the deadline next Tuesday. Enjoy, and leave your comments and thoughts below in the comments section.

The Chicago Cubs will acquire JA Happ (went to the New York Yankees after this was written) or Steven Matz, whichever comes off the board last. The Yu Darvish experiment has failed, and Theo Epstein and company are in the market for a starting pitcher, specifically a starting pitcher that could potentially start a playoff game for the team behind Jon Lester and company. I would trust either Matz or Happ (Yankees) in a Game 3 or Game 4 situation if I were the Cubs, and I’d trust him a whole lot more than I would trust Darvish right now specifically. Chicago may also be in the market for lesser upgrades like a left-handed specialist in the bullpen or a bench piece, but a starting pitcher is likely the main target for the Cubbies as we speak.

EDIT: The team acquired Cole Hamels, does "close but no cigar" count?

The Cincinnati Reds will trade Matt Harvey, Scooter Gennett, Raisel Iglesias, David Hernandez, Jared Hughes, and Adam Duvall. While this sounds like a lot of movement for the Reds to accomplish in just five days I could totally see multiple players moved in a single deal. For instance, if the Boston Red Sox were to acquire Scooter Gennett, which I boldly predicted, then they might want to package a deal with Jared Hughes or David Hernandez as well. There will be many teams interested in Raisel Iglesias and he could fetch a premium in the trade market, but no team probably needs him more than the Colorado Rockies. After the money the team spent on their bullpen in the offseason this may come as a surprise, but if you check the stat lines for those highly paid relievers and if you then check how close Colorado is to the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division the deal begins to make a little more sense. I can see a blockbuster deal going down between the Reds and the Rockies that also includes Adam Duvall along with Iglesias as both are needs for Colorado while the Rockies have the prospects to get such a deal done.

Milwaukee Brewers need a shortstop and a starting pitcher, everyone else around the league is telling Milwaukee to “join the club.” Obviously, that is my speculation, but it seems like every team that is contending or close to contending needs a starting pitcher and a shortstop. The Brewers revamped their outfield this winter and have a young and exciting team with plenty of prospects that could be moved in any number of deals, but I can’t see Milwaukee making those deals just for the sake of making them. That doesn’t seem like their style given their history over the past 10-or-so years. If the right deal comes along, for example a potential deal for James Shields to help with the rotation or a deal for Asdrubal Cabrera with hopes that he can handle the shortstop position again, then I could see the team making it. I just can’t see a substantial deal being made by Milwaukee, although watch out as they could look to acquire Yangervis Solarte from the Toronto Blue Jays with the hopes that possibly he could handle the shortstop position for the remainder of the season. 

EDIT: I mean, or they could acquire a closer or reliever like Joakim Soria and throw a monkey wrench into my whole post. Or that. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates will not make another move. The Pirates could win 12 games in a row, or they could win 25 games in a row, but I just can’t see the team doing anything substantial. Just a few weeks ago if I had written this post it would have been littered with a laundry list of players that the team was absolutely going to trade but winning a dozen or so games in a row has the tendency to change things. The Pirates management likely knows better that the team will eventually come back down to Earth here in 2018, and with that so will their hopes of a 2018 postseason spot in the National League.

The St. Louis Cardinals will also be quiet at the trading deadline in my opinion as that team is in that scary and uncomfortable position somewhere between obvious contender and should-be seller. The Cardinals have all but said that they would not move Carlos Martinez in any deal this summer and that all but told me that the Cardinals plan is to either go all-in and sell or stand pat with the core that they have now for potentially one last run at the playoffs in the 2019 season. If the team was at least open to discussing a trade for Martinez then I could see them tearing it all down, but since they wont I truly believe they will stand pat more than they will do anything before July 31st, 2018.

Disclaimer: BOLD predictions are meant to be BOLD for a reason. Keep that in mind before directing hate mail towards me or any of my writers on the blog or on Twitter. Thanks in advance.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)