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.

Yu Darvish and Cubs pull off dramatic comeback win over Dodgers

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Yu Darvish and Cubs pull off dramatic comeback win over Dodgers

There were some added stakes to Saturday night’s Cubs-Dodgers matchup. Darvish made his first start at Dodger Stadium since his infamous Game 7 loss in the 2017 World Series, looking for a great effort in front of a fan base that had their up-and-downs in terms of their relationship with him. He (maybe) took a small jab at the Dodgers before the game had even started, telling the Los Angeles Times that he wasn't worried about being booed because “the Dodgers don't have many fans here in the first three innings, so maybe it will be on the quieter side.”

Well Dodgers faithful certainly got the message and made sure to let Darvish hear it.

However, Darvish got the last laugh on Saturday night. He pitched a stellar seven innings. Over those seven innings, Darvish gave up 1 ER on 2 hits and also notched 10 strikeouts.

Darvish has been hitting his stride as of late, maintaining a 2.96 ERA over his last four starts. 

All of that being said, it would be remiss of me not to mention the contributions of Darvish’s teammates. His great outing helped keep the Cubs in the game, but the gutsy performances of Anthony Rizzo and Pedro Strop are what won the contest.

Dodgers All-Star relief pitcher Kenley Jansen had a 10-game scoreless streak coming into Saturday night, but one swing of Rizzo’s bat was all that was needed to restore balance to the everlasting battle of pitcher versus hitter. After Jansen hit Kris Bryant with a pitch to put him on base, Rizzo activated “clutch mode”, mashing a 400-foot bomb out to right field.

Though small, Saturday night’s homer gives Rizzo a three-game hitting streak, perhaps forecasting that things are trending  upwards for the first baseman as the Cubs look to close out the series against the Dodgers with a win on Sunday night. And not to be left out of the fun, Pedro Strop came in to face the Justin Turner, MVP hopeful Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Matt Beaty to nail down the save.

Never afraid of high-pressure moments, Stop came through big time.

Strop got a ground out from Turner, struck out Bellinger and Beaty in his 15-pitch save effort. This was a much-needed win for the Cubs, who have well-documented struggles on the road. As they look to split the four-game set with the Dodgers on Sunday night, the Cubs can be pleased with their fight this week.

Saturday’s win over the Dodgers was the Cubs first win of the season after trailing through six innings, as they were 0-23 in such situations prior to the victory. Amid a season that has been fraught with injury and general roster construction concerns, it was wonderful to see the Cubs pull out a tough win lead by the much-maligned Darvish and the never-quit attitude of his teammates.

Cubs put Kyle Hendricks on 10-Day IL

Cubs put Kyle Hendricks on 10-Day IL

On Saturday, the Cubs announced that they are placing starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks on the 10-day I.L.with right shoulder inflammation. 

Following Hendricks' injury, the Cubs recalled right-handed pitcher Rowan Wick from Triple-A. Wick will be available on Saturday night and beyond, as the Cubs continue their four-game series against the Dodgers. 

This obviously a significant blow for the Cubs, as Hendricks is the team leader in innings pitched (88.1).

Prior to his loss on Friday night, Hendricks had won three straight outings, giving up less than 3 ER in each game. 

The Cubs have plenty of options to replace Hendricks for the time being. With an off day until Monday, they could keep their rotation intact. Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery are options, and the Cubs could push Hendricks next start back to by going with a spot starter. 

Stellar pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay is another intriuging option, and he is coming off of a great outing with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. On Fridaym he racked up 9 strikeouts, giving up 8 hits and 2 ER. 

The 24-year old Alzolay is ranked as the Cubs' fourth-overall prospect and the Hendricks injury could open the door for Alzolay to get called up.

The more likely scenario is that Cubs manager Joe Maddon chooses to use Chatwood. 

Chatwood is the only pitcher outside of the everyday rotation to have made a start this year and is the most obvious stopgap solution until we get further updates on Hendricks' status.