The Cubs dealt Joc Pederson to the Braves tonight, though a prominent former Brave wasn’t part of the talks between the two teams, as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link) reports that Craig Kimbrel’s availability wasn’t discussed. Kimbrel would obviously have been a major boost for an inconsistent Atlanta bullpen, but Kimbrel is both considerably more expensive than Pederson and the Cubs surely would’ve demanded a much higher prospect return for the All-Star closer. Acquiring Kimbrel also would have been a clear all-in move for a Braves team that is still only 44-45, and perhaps only in contention by dint of a congested NL East. It’s possible that Atlanta might still pivot and start selling by the trade deadline if the team sinks further under the .500 mark over the next two weeks.
More on various hurlers around the sport…
- Kicking off the second half with a big series against the Brewers, the Reds expect to activate Michael Lorenzen and Sonny Gray from the injured list, Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer writes. After missing the entire season due to a shoulder strain, Lorenzen will likely be activated prior to Friday’s game, while Gray (rib cage strain) will start Sunday after missing only the minimum 10 days on the IL. Lorenzen’s return will be welcomed by a Reds bullpen that has struggled all season, while Gray has pitched well despite three separate IL trips that have limited him to 62 innings. Cincinnati placed reliever Art Warren on the 10-day IL today due to a left oblique strain, but a 40-man roster move will be necessary to reinstate Lorenzen from the 60-day IL.
- The Astros are “going to entertain the idea of [acquiring] starting pitchers” at the trade deadline, GM James Click told The Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome and other reporters. Zack Greinke and Jose Urquidy are battling sore shoulders, Framber Valdez’s control has been shaky, and Luis Garcia and Cristian Javier might be approaching innings thresholds. These issues have combined to turn what had been an area of strength for the Astros into a potential concern down the stretch. On the plus side, relievers Josh James, Austin Pruitt, and Pedro Baez are all on rehab assignments and are expected to be activated from the injured list soon, with James and Pruitt coming perhaps as early as Friday. That trio and perhaps Garcia could all fortify the bullpen from within, allowing Houston to pursue rotation help.
- Madison Bumgarner will be activated from the 10-day injured list to start the Diamondbacks’ game with the Cubs on Friday, according to multiple reporters (including The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan). Bumgarner has been out of action due to shoulder inflammation since June 3, continuing what has thus far been a disastrous tenure in Arizona for the veteran lefty. Since signing a five-year, $85MM free agent deal in the 2019-20 offseason, Bumgarner has battled injuries and posted only a 6.04 ERA over 101 1/3 innings. It is very unlikely that a team will come calling about Bumgarner at the deadline given the size of his remaining contract, so the left-hander’s second half will just be about staying healthy and posting some solid numbers as a platform for better things next year.