The Chicago Cubs are 51-36, just one game off their 2016 pace, but obviously the biggest difference is the starting pitching. Jon Lester was selected to his fifth all-star team, but Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana have been underachieving, Yu Darvish has been on the disabled list since May 26, and Tyler Chatwood has been flat out terrible during his last eight starts.
Theo Epstein knows and has publicly said that the answers lie within the Cubs’ clubhouse and he’s right because if Hendricks and Quintana pitch to what their established track records say they are, the Cubs will indeed be fine. However, the doesn’t mean the Cubs aren’t weighing backup options too.
We’ve already shared the report of the Cubs scouting Tampa Bay Rays starter Nathan Eovaldi twice last week, but according to Bob Elliott of CBC Sports. they might also have interest in Toronto Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.
Hearing Chicago Cubs may have interest in LHP JA Happ @Jays
— bob elliott (@elliottbaseball) July 8, 2018
Remember J.A. Happ? Man, this guy’s been around for a lot longer than I first thought. The left-hander is 35-years-old, first breaking into the big leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007.
Happ was selected to American League All-Star team on Sunday and although he currently has a 4.44 ERA, the Peru, Ill., native had a pretty solid 2018 season prior to his last two starts. At the end of June, Happ had a 3.62 ERA.
Unfortunately, Happ has been beat up in July, surrendering 13 earned runs in 8.1 innings.
Happ will be a free agent after this season and with his history of being a solid starter and the Blue Jays going nowhere in 2018, he could definitely be on the move come the trade deadline.
In 2016, Happ finished sixth in the American League Cy Young voting and if any team does trade for him, they’d definitely welcome a similar performance to his 2015 season. Cubs fans might remember back to that year, when they were fighting with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card race. Happ was traded to the Pirates and went 7-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 11 starts for them.
The Cubs aren’t the only ones showing interest, as the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners have also been linked to Happ, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
Between 2015-17, Happ had a 3.43 ERA in 512.1 innings, covering 88 starts.
Although I wish the Cubs were completely done with Chatwood at this point, it sounds like they’ll give him one or maybe two more starts to see if he can figure it out. After the all-star break, the Cubs play the Cardinals five times, including a double-header on July 21. You’d expect to have Chatwood start on the 22nd, meaning if he’s bad then too, then the Cubs have nine days to make a deal.
Last week Epstein said the team would be assessing things most of July, so maybe the time is ticking for Chatwood.