As we approach the final day of the Winter Meetings, the Cubs continue their quest to find another starter. And while it’s obvious Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer plan on adding another starter, whether or not they are looking to add an arm for the front of back of their rotation remains to be seen. However, rumors have linked the Cubs to a few starters, including Chris Archer, Danny Duffy, and now the Cleveland Indians Danny Salazar.
The Cubs and Indians have had trade talk conversations.RHP Danny Salazar has been mentioned . The Indians looking for left handed hitting in return . Nothing close at this time .
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 13, 2017
Levine also includes that the Indians are looking for left-handed hitter, which is a bit confusing as looking at their roster you would assume they would want to add a right-handed hitter. We also know the Indians checked in on Javier Baez at some point during the Winter Meetings.
— Sean Sears (@sean_sears6) December 10, 2017
For what it’s worth, the talks between the Indians and Cubs never got serious about Baez, but what’s important to take away from this is that both clubs are engaged. The Cubs have reportedly been talking to everyone, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, holding talks with most of the free agent starters on the market along with clubs on the trade market.
How Does Salazar Fit On The Cubs
Salazar has had trouble staying healthy the last few seasons, but the 27-year-old is a strikeout machine when healthy with a career 10.51 K/9. The hard-throwing righty has stuff that consistently hits in the upper 90’s and has even touched triple-digits a few times.
However, what troubles me about this move is that the Indians are likely trying to make a deal involving Kyle Schwarber, and if that’s the case I’m not sure I’m in love with a deal like this. Salazar’s potential is front-end rotation stuff, but with the injury history plus his somewhat down 2017 campaign, a straight swap of Schwarber for Salazar doesn’t intrigue me.
If the Cubs were able to make a deal like this work with Ian Happ as the key piece, I’d be all for it. But the moment we bring Schwarber into the conversation is when I start to hate this deal. But, adding a talented, controllable arm like Salazar to the Cubs rotation is enticing.
With three more years of control via arbitration, a healthy Salazar instantly becomes an excellent top of the rotation arm, and a guy that helps the Cubs stay constant contenders in the next three years. That being said, the Cubs have been rumored to make a deal with the Indians since before either club turned their franchises around.
At this point, I wouldn’t expect anything quiet yet, as the Cubs seem to be content with just weighing options for starters. As long as Alex Cobb remains on option, it feels like the Cubs will avoid moving parts for a starter, but if Cobb does end up signing with the Yankees or Rangers, expect the Cubs to start making some calls. With the Indians being one of the first calls made.
UPDATE – 12:32 pm
A source informed Sports Mockery earlier today that the talks between the Cubs and Indians are involving Danny Salazar and Ian Happ, with Jason Kipnis coming into the conversation as a salary dump. The 23-year-old switch-hitting Happ would give the Indians a bat with some pop that can play all three outfield spots and fill in at 2nd base if Kipnis is sent with Salazar to Chicago.