ATLANTA – The Cubs have high-ranking scouts following the Yankees, according to multiple reports from New York, with eye toward acquiring bullpen help, in particular left-handers.
The Yankees, who entered Sunday 31-31 and 5½ games out of first place in the American League East, are sitting on the seller fence with seven weeks to go to the July 31 trade deadline – as they struggle to get late-inning leads for the likes of high-performing lefty relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.
One major league source this past week said the Cubs have made it known they’re prepared to strike early to add pitching.
That’s expected to take high-end young talent going to the Yankees to make it happen for one of their late-inning guys, especially for Miller, who is under contract through 2018 ($23.5 million left on the deal).
Chapman is a free agent after this season.
Cubs executives have made no secret in recent weeks of their desire to add more pitching before the deadline.
Kyle Schwarber, Javy Baez and top catching prospect Willson Contreras are expected to be non-starters in talks. But the Cubs have a handful of other intriguing young prospects (and possibly Jorge Soler) who could be made available.
If the Cubs have a soft position area on a team with the best record in baseball, it is the bullpen, which has only two left-handers. And lefty Clayton Richard has struggled much of the season, allowing 25 base runners in 11 innings over 19 appearances (6.55 ERA).