As the trade deadline on August 1 creeps ever closer, the Cubs stand as one of a handful of teams that has yet to make a decision regarding whether they will be buyers or sellers this trade season. President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer spoke to 670 The Score on Friday regarding the club’s plans. Hoyer asserted that “there is nothing we want more than to add” at the coming deadline, though he made clear the club was willing to pivot if buying at the deadline seemed imprudent.
The Cubs currently sit at a record of 43-48 following today’s win against the Red Sox, a record that will leave them seven games out of first place following this evening’s game between the Reds and Brewers. While the club’s +27 run differential is by far the best in the NL Central, Hoyer acknowledged that in order to justify buying at the deadline, “We need to make up ground on first place, and we need to make up ground on .500.”
Should the Cubs fail to do so over the next two weeks, the club seems poised to shop players like center fielder Cody Bellinger and right-hander Marcus Stroman to contending clubs. Stroman, whose lack of extension talks with the club has been well documented, told reporters (including Bruce Levine of The Score) today that he does not expect an extension offer from the Cubs prior to the trade deadline. Even if he’s traded, however, Stroman indicated he would have interest in returning to Chicago on a new contract during the offseason. Stroman can opt-out of the final year and $21MM on his contract after the 2023 campaign comes to a close, and seems all but certain to do so after posting a 2.88 ERA in 118 2/3 innings across his first 20 starts of the season.
More from around the NL Central:
- While Stroman’s future is up in the air, the same can’t be said for Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, who told reporters (including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy) that GM Matt Arnold has privately told him that he will not be traded. That matches what Arnold has said publicly, as he previously indicated that Milwaukee would look to add at the deadline and would not consider moving either Burnes or shortstop Willy Adames. The news hardly comes as a surprise given the step back Burnes has taken this season relative to the Cy Young-caliber performance he offered from 2020-22, during which time he posted a 2.62 ERA and 2.40 FIP across 428 2/3 innings of work. In 2023, Burnes has been more solid than spectacular, with a 3.73 ERA and 4.07 FIP in 19 starts with a reduced 24.8% strikeout rate.
- Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright has endured a difficult season as he prepares to retire following the 2023 campaign. In 11 starts with St. Louis this season, Wainwright posted a ghastly 7.66 ERA and 5.87 FIP prior to heading to the injured list prior to the All-Star break with a shoulder strain. Wainwright is expected to return to the mound this season, however, and manager Oli Marmol today provided an update on the veteran’s status. In conversation with reporters, including MLB.com’s John Denton, Marmol noted that Wainwright was set to resume throwing off a mound on Monday after receiving multiple shots in his shoulder to help alleviate pain. Once back on the mound, Wainwright will be built up to return to the club’s rotation later this season.