The Chicago Cubs continue to toy with making the big move. The team has a sputtering offense and could use another strong pitching arm as they continue to push for the playoffs. Chicago has cooled down since their strong start to the season and they are aiming to make roster adjustments. However, that is easier said than done as their trade packages continue to get rejected heading into the deadline.
According to general manager Theo Epstein, all options are on the table for the Cubs. Chicago does not want to take their foot off the gas and if that means making a marquee trade at the deadline, Epstein will not hesitate to pull the trigger.
"If we do something on the bigger end, it will involve players that will help us beyond this year," Epstein said, via ESPN.com. "If we do something on the smaller side, it will probably be more for a rental." We're working our way towards a resolution. One way or another."
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that the Cubs are out on the Cole Hamels trade talks with the Philadelphia Phillies, but could be in on James Shields and the San Diego Padres. Rosenthal is reporting the Cubs are trying to offer Starlin Castro for the Padres pitcher while potentially being willing to accept either Tyson Ross or Ian Kennedy in return. Shields is an ideal trade candidate because he still has years left on his contract meaning the Cubs would not be trading for just a rental player. Shields could immediately become a key member of the rotation.
The interest in Shields comes after the Detroit Tigers reportedly took their foot off the gas to deal David Price. According to MLive.com, the Tigers are hesitant to deal the pitcher as manager Brad Ausmus says he is not looking to throw in the towel just yet on the season despite the playoffs being out of reach. Price is not expected to return in free agency meaning the Tigers risk losing him for nothing in return, making a trade ideal for the team.
The Cubs have plenty of options if they feel the need to deal before the deadline. Dan Haren, Mike Leake and Jeff Samardzija are all available for the taking. The Cubs appear willing to trade away Castro, but several teams are not thrilled about taking on the struggling bat. With no other trade packages in the works, that might be the best Chicago is willing to offer.