A report from Peter Gammons suggests that the Cubs and Blue Jays did have serious discussions around a Marcus Stroman trade. The report suggests the Blue Jays wanted a player from the Cubs’ major roster to be included in any deal.
The Chicago Cubs made the first big trade splash of the deadline season, acquiring Jose Quintana from the White Sox in exchange for a package of four prospects, including the 5th highest ranked in Elroy Jimenez. It was a solid haul for the White Sox, who have been shopping Quintana since last season, waiting for the right deal.
Apparently the White Sox almost had to keep working on other deals, as the Cubs were putting calls in all over the MLB in search of a cost-controlled starting pitcher. With the Blue Jays struggling this season, it makes sense that they called Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins about their rotation, and apparently those talks actually gained a little traction, according to Peter Gammons anyway.
Before reaching their deal, the Cubs were said to have called Tampa Bay about Chris Archer, the Pittsburgh Pirates about Gerrit Cole, and the A’s about Sonny Gray, who is also being actively shopped. The Cubs also called the Blue Jays about their best starter from 2017, 26 year old Marcus Stroman.
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Now, don’t be like me and get upset about something that didn’t happen. I read the headline, and felt instant frustration about them even considering trading the “Stro Show”, especially when he has three years of arbitration yet, and he’s still an enormous bargain relative to his salary. However, as my Father always used to tell me, “it never hurts to hear people out”.
According to Gammons, the discussion with the Blue Jays was stalled because of the return that Toronto expected for such a transaction. Trading for someone like Stroman is obviously going to have a hefty price tag of prospects, but again, according to Gammons, the Blue Jays were asking for a player from the big league roster, something the Cubs weren’t terribly interested in.
Based on my own speculation and some of the names being banded about in trade rumours, it’s likely that the Blue Jays were asking about one or more of Ian Happ, or Kyle Schwarber, or perhaps they even asked about Javier Baez or Addison Russell. There is no harm in asking for the moon when it comes to trade packages, especially when it comes to an asset like Stroman that you don’t have to trade. In fact, in order to move someone like Stroman at a time like this in the franchise, I would argue that the front office would need to be overwhelmed with an offer.
Now that Quintana is in Chicago and the Cubs have sent two more of the best of their minor league system, it’s a little harder to imagine the talks going any further between the two clubs. However, these rumours tell us one thing (assuming there’s any truth to them). The Blue Jays are listening.