The Chicago Cubs reportedly are looking to sell at the MLB trade deadline, and several of their players could be major additions to the Giants as they prepare for a competitive second half of the season.
The Cubs are "beginning the process" of becoming sellers at the deadline, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Friday, citing league sources.
The main potential target for the Giants would be All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel. The 33-year-old has a 0.57 ERA and 20 saves over 33 appearances in 2021.
Kimbrel is owed quite a bit of money, as his base salary for both the 2021 and 2022 seasons is $16 million. The Cubs are far from a small-market team, however, and might be willing to eat a more significant chunk of the reliever's salary if it means a better return of prospects in a potential trade.
The Cubs have the 26th-ranked farm system in baseball according to The Athletic's Keith Law, and likely would be eyeing at least a pair of promising prospects in exchange for Kimbrel's services.
Zach Davies also will be a free agent after this season, and could be an affordable starter to address the Giants' rotation.
Kris Bryant is another name that has been thrown around as a trade candidate for several years in Chicago, as the memories of the Cubs' electric run to the 2016 World Series grow fainter and fainter.
San Francisco Giants
Evan Longoria could return a few weeks after the All-Star break if things go as planned with his rehab from a shoulder injury, and Wilmer Flores has played well of late in his stead.
However, adding a player like Bryant or Kimbrel would be a significant move, given that the Giants are trying to fend off MLB's two most talented rosters in the NL West race.
The LA Dodgers and San Diego Padres will be aggressively looking for upgrades at the trade deadline as well, and don't be surprised if they also are making calls to the Cubs about putting together a deal.
Rosenthal also indicated that the Cubs aren't preparing for a full-scale rebuild, so perhaps they'd be more inclined to pursue MLB-ready prospects currently playing in Triple-A or Double-A.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and general manager Scott Harris likely already are greasing the wheels with a number of non-contending teams around the league about potential deadline trades. This front office hasn't shown much of an inclination to pursue big-time trades, instead tending to opt for undervalued players and diamonds in the rough.
This season should be different, however, as the Giants are a first-place team, with the Dodgers and Padres right on their heels. If there was any year to break out the checkbook and part with a talented prospect or two in exchange for win-now upgrades, this seems to be it.
Chicago could be an ideal club for the Giants to open up discussions with as the July 30 trade deadline stands three weeks away.