Cubs Still Eyeing Bullpen Help

The Cubs have closely scouted Ryan Tepera and Kirby Yates.

Bruce Levine
July 30, 2018 - 12:32 pm
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein

Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports

Categories: 

(670 The Score) The clock is ticking for contenders to better position themselves for the playoffs and rebuilding teams to add difference-makers for the future, as the MLB non-waiver trade deadline awaits Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT.

Leading the NL Central by 1.5 games, the Cubs still have their eye on adding another reliever. Blue Jays righty reliever Ryan Tepera and Padres righty reliever Kirby Yates are two players whom the Cubs have scouted closely. Across the league, many potential suitors are also closely keeping tabs to see if the Nationals -- treading water at 52-53 -- will become sellers. If so, Washington figures to shop relievers Kelvin Herrera, Shawn Kelley and Ryan Madson.

There has been some speculation that the Cubs could still add a starting pitcher under longer-term contract control. On that front, it appears the Rays are finally serious about trading 29-year-old right-hander Chris Archer, who has a 4.31 ERA in 17 starts this season. He's under club control through 2021, with a $9-million team option in 2020 and an $11-million team option in 2021 that makes him so appealing to many clubs. Archer is a former Cubs minor leaguer who was traded to the Rays as part of the Matt Garza deal in January 2011.

Archer is a favorite of the advanced metrics crowd, though his traditional numbers leave more to be desired. He has a 4.10 ERA since the start of the 2016 season. 

The Cubs paid a premium to add key pieces to deep playoff runs the past two seasons, sending shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres to the Yankees for closer Aroldis Chapman in 2016 and parting with touted outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez to acquire left-hander Jose Quintana from the White Sox last season. Torres is the frontrunner for American League Rookie of the Year, and Jimenez is tearing up Triple-A pitching and appears on the verge of a big league promotion. 

The Cubs' farm system is thinner than before, but they're loaded with talented position players at the big league level that could be trade chips.

The White Sox will also continue to be open for business leading up to the trade deadline, as general manager Rick Hahn explained Friday. The White Sox veterans who are available on the trade market may instead end up getting traded in August, when they'd be subject to the waiver process.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.