July is the month when the tension starts to ratchet up in the daily drama of big league baseball. The approaching trade deadline is an important notch in the season-long arc. The teams who are in it to win it collect whatever extra weapons and spare parts they can garner, while the also-rans pack up and start talking about next year.  


Cubs Looking For Arms

With the Chicago Cubs suddenly finding themselves ahead of schedule in their rebuilding plan, the perennial underdogs may be gearing to make a run for this year’s wild card while also improving for next year. Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reported on Sunday that most of the Cubs’ trade discussions have centered around adding pitchers, preferably ones who offers something for the future:

The Cubs would prefer to trade for a starting pitcher whom they would control beyond this year, because they lack major-league-ready starters in the upper levels of their system. If they’re going to play on a big name, Cole Hamels (signed to a long-term contract) makes more sense than Johnny Cueto (pending free agent).


Clay Buchholz and Jeff Samardzija Could Be Available

More teams than not are looking for arms at this point in the season, and there should be some talent available. In the June 28 Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo listed both the Boston Red Sox’s Clay Buchholz and the Chicago White Sox’s Jeff Samardzija as potentially on the block. 

With the Red Sox hovering at around six games back in a weak division, they may not be quite ready to throw in the towel and retool. But if they don’t start hot after the All-Star break, it might be time to shop Buchholz if they can get value for him in return. 

Buchholz has had a good season for a disappointing team. He’s struck out just over four batters for every one he has walked. His WHIP is just 1.19 and his ERA 3.27.

If the Cubs were to go across town and trade for Samardzija, they would be picking up a hurler with potential but one who has struggled this year. Samardzija has led the league in hits allowed, though his control has remained good. 

As the current project of former front office prodigy Theo Epstein, the Cubs are playing for beyond this season and hope to build  a solid franchise that will contend yearly for the post season. Slotting in a pitcher with Buchholz‘s experience and talent some place in the middle of a rotation would make the Cubs stronger immediately. 

Buchholz is due to collect $13,000,000 for the next two seasons. It works out to fair value for a playoff team, if he continues to contribute to his current level. 


Giants Trolling For Offense

While the Cubs have been chasing arms, it sounds like the San Francisco Giants are aiming to add a bat for the stretch. Sunday evening, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted:

The Giants have been able to stay above .500 this year—within striking distance of the wild card—and if they can bolster their offense, their pitching should make them competitive against a lot of teams in a short series. 

Cameron Maybin has been a pleasant surprise for the Atlanta Braves this year, and as Olney himself tweeted, Atlanta is probably not going to trade him on the cheap:

Gerardo Parra might have a bit more pop in his bat than Maybin anyway, and with the Milwaukee Brewers’ 2015 season already a runaway train wreck, he might be easier to pick up. 

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