After making the biggest impact acquisition of the summer trade season so far, the Cubs look like they’re done dealing.
But in the aftermath of the four-for-one trade with the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman, team president Theo Epstein didn’t rule out more action before Monday’s trade deadline.
“We’re going to take a step back,” he said. “But there’s still a good amount of time before the trade deadline. We’re going to engage with every other team and see if there’s an opportunity to get better.”
That would mean smaller moves to “tweak” the roster, he said.
“But I’d say it’s more focused on getting additional depth for this season and possibly making a move that really makes sense for our longer term picture,” he said, “next year and beyond.”
That means trying to add controllable, competitive starting pitching that is lacking in the upper levels of the Cubs’ system.
A game of feet
All-Star third baseman Kris Bryant was back in the lineup Tuesday, as the Cubs’ designated hitter, after he hit his head on Tyler Saladino’s leg at second base sliding head first in Monday’s ninth inning.
“I need to start sliding feet first,” said Bryant, who said the same thing last year after missing one game following a frightening head-first collision on a similar play. “It’s just instinct.”
Bryant said he was fine by Tuesday. “Anything with the head is scary,” he said. “I was fortunate that it wasn’t serious.”
Roll Aroldis into 2017?
Epstein quashed rumors the Cubs acquired Chapman with the intention of signing him to an extension beyond the expiration this year of his contract – but he didn’t rule out the possibility.
“That hasn’t come up as a consideration yet,” he said. “This was about 2016 and a show of faith in the other 24 guys, trying to maximize our chances getting to the postseason and winning three postseason series.
“I’m sure that’ll be a conversation for another day,” he added, “as both sides get to know each other better.”
New York media had reported that Chapman rejected an extension offer from the Yankees, but Chapman said through an interpreter Tuesday that he did not discuss an extension with the Yanks.
He makes $11.33 million this year.
The long-anticipated talk Maddon said he planned to have with his predecessor, Rick Renteria, won’t happen this week during the Cubs-Sox stretch. Because it happened during spring training, Maddon said.
Renteria was swiftly fired as Cubs manager with two years left on his contract in October 2014 as the Cubs pounced on the chance to hire Maddon when he suddenly became a free agent. Maddon said during his introductory media conference he planned to reach out to Renteria.
“He was very kind,” Maddon said of Renteria and their talk at the Cubs’ spring ballpark. “He impressed the heck out of me with what he said, and I really appreciated it, and hopefully he felt the same way. It was brief but very pertinent.”
Outfielder Jorge Soler (hamstring) could be ready to return from more than seven weeks on the DL during the weekend series against Seattle, barring setback.
Maddon said before the game Soler might be about 9-10 at-bats away from finishing his minor-league rehab assignment.