Joel Sherman of the New York Post walks readers through the winding process the Cubs took to reach an agreement on an Aroldis Chapman trade with the Yankees. Per Sherman, the Cubs never wanted to pursue a rental pitcher but weren’t able to convince the Yankees to back down from their demand of Kyle Schwarber. Chicago then turned to the Royals, only to find the asking price on Wade Davis to be even higher than the asking price on Miller. The Cubs weren’t willing to deal from their big league roster to upgrade the ’pen but were willing to deal from their infield depth, parting with Class-A shortstop Gleyber Torres largely because of the presence of both Addison Russell and Javier Baez on the Major League roster. (Notably, Chicago also dealt from its first base depth in moving Dan Vogelbach for another left-handed reliever: Seattle’s Mike Montgomery.) Sherman adds that owner Hal Steinbrenner still wants to win in 2016 despite approving the Chapman swap, which calls into question whether the club would entertain even an overwhelming offer for Miller.
A few notes on the pitching market…
- Twins interim GM Rob Antony has expressed an openness to moving Ervin Santana if approached with a strong offer, but he tells Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he’s not shopping the right-hander (Twitter link). “I’ll be honest,” said Antony, “I’m not calling anybody trying to move him.” As Antony explained yesterday in a Q&A with MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, his feeling is that he couldn’t sign a pitcher of Santana’s effectiveness to a two-year, $27MM contract with a third-year club option (the remaining commitment on Santana’s deal after 2016) on the free agent market this winter and, as such, believes there to be enough value that he needn’t shop Santana to other clubs. Antony again stated that he’s not under any type of ownership mandate to trim payroll, suggesting that shedding Santana’s salary may not be all that appealing.
- Pitching is the Twins’ biggest priority on the trade market this summer, according to Antony (Twitter link via Bollinger). While the club is clearly open to trading veteran pieces to acquire young pitching help, Antony said he’s also talked to other teams that are considered to be sellers about acquiring big league pitching — presumably MLB arms that are controllable well beyond the 2016 season.
- Athletics southpaw Rich Hill believes he’ll be able to pitch on Sunday after throwing 50 pitches with protective covering over his blistered left hand and another 20 without the cover, tweets John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group. Hill has scarcely been able to pitch since late May due to a groin strain and this newfound blister issue, but he remains a highly intriguing rental option thanks to a 2.25 ERA with 10.7 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 50 percent ground-ball rate through 76 innings out of the Oakland rotation this season. That would obviously give rival scouts just one more opportunity to look at Hill before Monday’s non-waiver deadline, but that could prove crucial given his limited recent exposure.
- Both the Rangers and Orioles were in attendance for Jeremy Hellickson’s scoreless six innings for the Phillies against the Marlins last night, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. (The Marlins — Hellickson’s opponents — also obviously had evaluators on hand and have long been linked to Hellickson.) There’s no clear frontrunner for Hellickson’s services, Crasnick notes, but it’s a “virtual lock” that he’ll change teams on or before next Monday.
- The Padres asked the Orioles to include minor league left-hander Garrett Cleavinger and minor legaue righty Jhon Peluffo in the trade that would’ve sent Ubaldo Jimenez to San Diego in exchange for Melvin Upton Jr., according to MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko (on Twitter). However, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the talks broke down over finances, and Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller adds (also via Twitter) that owner Peter Angelos had a late change of heart and altered the nearly agreed-upon deal — specifically the amount of money that would have changed hands. The Padres ultimately shifted course and sent Upton to the Blue Jays.
- Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins says he’s not done making moves after swooping in and acquiring Upton earlier this morning, via Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith (links to Nicholson–Smith on Twitter). Atkins’ comments seemingly focused on pitching upgrades, with the GM indicating that the market for relief help is more robust than the market for starters at present. Atkins says he’s talked with all 29 other clubs on multiple occasions and is now focused on a smaller group of teams that could potentially upgrade his pitching staff. Asked specifically about the Padres — the Jays have been linked multiple times to Andrew Cashner, who tossed a quality start against them tonight — Atkins replied, “They have interesting pitching as well.”