MLB Rumour Roundup: Cubs check in on Blue Jays’ Stroman

MLB insider Jon Paul Morosi joins Baseball Central to discuss the possibility that the Blue Jays have botched the J.A. Happ trade by hanging onto him too long.

The Chicago Cubs have checked in on Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman and could also be in play for teammate J.A. Happ, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Stroman is under team control through the 2020 season and the acquisition cost for the 27-year-old right-hander would likely reflect that. He has struggled this season but fared better since returning from a shoulder injury on June 23. In six starts since then, Stroman has produced a 3.03 ERA over 35.2 innings, holding opponents to a .646 OPS.

Jon Heyman, of Fancred, noted in his Inside Baseball column on Thursday morning that the Blue Jays have received calls about Stroman, but wrote the team isn’t “very interested in trading him,” according to sources.

He also noted the Yankees are among the teams that like Stroman.

Update: The Braves spoke to the Blue Jays about a possible Stroman trade, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. Atlanta general manager Alex Anthopoulos — former GM of the Blue Jays when Stroman was drafted — is looking to acquire rotation help for the upstart Braves, though there’s no evidence of progress in those negotiations for Stroman, reports Morosi.

Happ, meanwhile, has been the Blue Jays’ best pitcher this season and one of the better starters available ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees and Brewers are believed to be the front-runners for the 35-year-old, reports Sherman.

High price for Happ?

The Yankees added reliever Zach Britton this week in exchange for a package of prospects, but that won’t preclude their intention to add a starter. New York’s interest in Happ has been no secret over the past month. When the clubs began discussing a trade, the Blue Jays sought outfielder Clint Frazier or Justus Sheffield — New York’s top pitching prospect — according to Heyman.

The Yankees deemed that price too high and have tried offering other players to the Blue Jays.

The Yankees’ need for catching depth became somewhat of a concern with recent news that Gary Sanchez could miss more than a month due to a re-aggravated groin injury.

General manager Brian Cashman told media on Wednesday he’s “not optimistic” the Yankees can bolster their depth at the position.

“We’ll certainly look at all those aspects, but seeing how other clubs have had to deal with that over the course of this season as well, I already recognize it’s a very thin position,” Cashman said. “It’s not easy to solve if there are issues there. … Thankfully, what Gary has is a solvable health issue. It’s just a timing one. We’ll just have to wait on it. Hopefully we’ll be in a better position when he returns.”

Other rumours

● Rival executives say the Astros are open to moving embattled closer Ken Giles, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The talented right-hander is controllable through 2020, but was recently demoted to triple-A following a dispute with manager A.J. Hinch.

● The Padres have checked in on Mets right-handers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, according to Sherman. San Diego is said to be seeking a top flight starting pitcher who is under team control for several seasons and also reportedly reached out to the Rays about Chris Archer.

● The Nationals are 50-51 and currently sit third in the NL East, seven games behind the No. 1 Phillies. Even so, they are not in a rush to become sellers and deal pending free agent Bryce Harper. “My first response is [Harper] is part of the furniture, a superstar who we drafted, signed, developed and had blossom into a star with our uniform on,” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told Sherman. “Something extreme would have to happen for us to consider moving him.”

● The Red Sox sent an executive to watch a recent start by Tigers left-hander Francisco Liriano, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Boston is seeking a left-hander for their bullpen, and Liriano has held lefties to a .117 average this season. The Astros acquired Liriano from the Blue Jays last season, immediately moving him to the bullpen from his role as a starter.

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