2018 Cubs Trade Scenarios, Part 1: Starting Pitchers

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Baltimore Orioles: RHP James Shields

Let's get real. The Baltimore Orioles will be looking to dump salary and add minor league pieces after an awful season. The rebuild is on.

The O's will have to fill out their roster, however. One area of need? A starting rotation that ranks last in MLB with a 5.49 ERA.

Baltimore can't and won't fix that deficiency overnight, but it could ink an innings-eater such as veteran James Shields on a short-term, stop-gap contract. Shields owns a 4.53 ERA for the Chicago White Sox in 2018, but he has chewed through 192.2 frames and may still have a bit of gas sloshing in the tank.

          

Boston Red Sox: RHP David Robertson

The Boston Red Sox could splurge this winter and bring back closer Craig Kimbrel, who's set to hit free agency after three All-Star seasons in Beantown.

As the most decorated late-inning reliever on the market, Kimbrel will cost a pretty penny. With that said, there are red flags.

Kimbrel's ERA has ballooned from 1.77 to 3.44 in the second half of 2018. He's entering his age-31 season, which means the type of long-term deal he'll assuredly seek will likely sting on the back end.

Instead, Boston could sign David Robertson away from the archrival New York Yankees on a shorter contract. Robertson has posted a 2.85 ERA with 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings for the Yanks and has closing experience. Plus, given his age (33), he may be willing to accept fewer years than Kimbrel.

        

New York Yankees: LHP Dallas Keuchel

The Yankees are ticketed for another almost-certain postseason appearance, but their starting pitching is suspect. Yanks starters rank 15th in baseball with a 4.05 ERA, and ostensible ace Luis Severino has struggled with bouts of ineffectiveness.

You'll hear plenty of talk about New York signing shiny position-player free agents such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. It could happen. But the Yankees should target pitching, and they may zero in on left-hander Dallas Keuchel.  

The Houston Astros southpaw hasn't managed to regain his 2015 AL Cy Young Award-winning form, but he posted a 2.90 ERA in 2017 and is on pace to eclipse 200 innings this season. He also has some history as a Yankees slayer.

Put him in pinstripes? Why not.

        

Tampa Bay Rays: C Jonathan Lucroy

The Tampa Bay Rays have a need at catcher heading into the winter. Top trade targets such as J.T. Realmuto and free agents such as Yasmani Grandal are likely outside their price range.

What about Jonathan Lucroy? The 32-year-old is a shell of the player who finished fourth in National League MVP voting in 2014. However, he could be a superb behind-the-dish mentor to promising young Rays pitchers such as Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, and he'd come relatively cheap.

Tampa Bay always shops from the bargain shelf. That's where Lucroy resides. 

          

Toronto Blue Jays: RHP Matt Harvey

Like Baltimore, the Toronto Blue Jays need to switch into rebuild mode. They initiated the process by trading former franchise cornerstone Josh Donaldson to the Cleveland Indians. 

With that in mind, Toronto won't make any big free-agent splashes this winter. The Blue Jays could add depth to a starting rotation that already jettisoned J.A. Happ, could lose Marco Estrada to free agency and ranks 28th in baseball with a 5.17 ERA.

Matt Harvey has posted a 2.50 ERA in September and has gone from formerly great bust to intriguing lottery ticket since a May trade from the New York Mets to the Cincinnati Reds. 

The Jays could add him at minimal cost and cross their fingers for maximum reward. 

Source : https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2796490-mlb-free-agency-2018-19-early-look-at-1-realistic-fit-for-every-team

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