Cubs

Source: Cubs chasing Cole Hamels, David Price not in play yet

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Source: Cubs chasing Cole Hamels, David Price not in play yet

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.

Yadier Molina is sad and Cubs fans have a new favorite GIF

Yadier Molina is sad and Cubs fans have a new favorite GIF

ST. LOUIS — The game was over and Yadier Molina knew it.

As Ian Happ turned on Sam Tuivailala's two-strike pitch in the 7th inning, Molina crumbled to the ground in defeat.

Happ's two-out double gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead they did not relinquish in a 6-3 victory Saturday night at Busch Stadium.

The Cubs had to claw back all night against the Cardinals, fighting to tie the game at two separate spots before Happ's breakthrough off Tuivailala.

Molina couldn't contain his disappointment:

Molina is a common target of ire from Cubs fans in the heated rivalry with the Cardinals, so you can bet his #SadFace led to some glee in the Chicago fanbase (just look at the comments on that Tweet):

The 35-year-old catcher just returned recently from a nearly month-long stint on the disabled list when he took a foul tip off a Kris Bryant swing to the groin on Jordan Hicks' 102 mph pitch the last time the Cubs were in town.

Molina has drawn 3 walks and has a single in this weekend's series with the Cubs, but he also committed a miscue in Friday's game, when he threw wild to first base on Jon Lester's squeeze bunt.

The Cubs are now 24-12 since they were swept in St. Louis on the first weekend of May.

Summer of Sammy: Relive Sosa's 25th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Relive Sosa's 25th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

After victimizing poor Cal Eldred for three solo shots in the first game of the series, Sosa wouldn't let the Milwaukee Brewers leave town in June 1998 without one more dinger.

He connected in the 4th inning of the series finale on June 17, 1998, a solo shot off a pitcher named Bronswell Patrick (yes, that's his real name) that went 430 feet down the left field line.

The Cubs wound up losing the game 6-5, though Jose Hernandez did make it close with a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 9th inning.

Through this game, Sosa sported a .300/.348/.917 slash line (1.265 OPS) with 12 homers and 25 RBI in 15 June contests that season. (Yes, that's a .917 slugging percentage.)

But believe it not, those June numbers are about to get even better...

Fun fact: The Cubs lineup on June 17, 1998 featured 4 hitters with a batting average of .320 or higher — Sosa (.333), Mark Grace (.347), Mickey Morandini (.320) and Matt Mieske (.323), though Mieske was a part-time player. 

The 2018 Cubs currently feature only 1 player (part-time or full-time) hitting at least .320: Albert Almora Jr. who entered play Saturday at .321.