With the Major League Baseball non waiver trade deadline just eight days away the rumor mill is cranking out potential trade scenarios almost non stop. While the Cubs sit nine games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central they are in the hunt to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team sitting 1/2 game ahead of the San Francisco Giants for the second Wild Card spot. That surprising emergence of the Cubs young roster has the team's front office kicking the tires on various trade scenarios that would help to bolster the starting rotation and perhaps the team's bench.
MLB sources confirmed to me this afternoon that the Cubs have been in discussions with the Philadelphia Phillies on a deal for Cole Hamels who has three years left on his current contract plus an option year. While he is an expensive piece he fits the needs of the team to upgrade their rotation while adding a player who would be a part of the team beyond the rest of this season. The Cubs will probably add an additional starter for depth perhaps as a rental type but that is not expected to be a significant acquisition.
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In addition, multiple sources have confirmed to me that the Detroit Tigers have not put starting pitcher David Price on the trade block yet. Teams that have called and expressed interest have been told that the Tigers are not yet willing to discuss him until they make a decision on giving up on their playoff hopes this season. That decision could come this weekend or by Wednesday of next week. Several reports have indicated that the Cubs have been in discussions with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski regarding Price's availability but those do not appear to be accurate at this point. Cubs sources insist they have had no substantive discussions regarding him yet.
In addition, the Cubs front office is hesitant to add a high profile player in the final year of his contract because the players they are being asked to give up in return are significant and with the team likely not able to catch the Cardinals for the division title the thought of paying a high price to make it to a one game Wild Card playoff is not appealing to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer after they spent the past three seasons in last place and trying to overhaul a minor league system that in 2011 was ranked 28th in baseball and is now one of the game's very best. "I would not trade away significant young players to add a rental type if I was in Theo or Jed's shoes. What if you lose the Wild Card playoff game and then you don't re-sign the player or players that you overpaid to get? Hamels is a player that I would definitely make a strong run at because you will have him for at least the next three seasons but I would stay away from the Price, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake or Jeff Samardzija types who you have no guarantee of keeping beyond this season because the cost to obtain them is currently unrealistic," a former NL GM told me.