Are Cubs a trade partner for White Sox? Theo says don’t bet on it

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Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein talks to media at Wrigley Field before the start of an opening day baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs on Monday, April 11, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said he isn’t opposed to making a trade with the Cubs. The subject came up again when Hahn talked to the media Tuesday, and Cubs president Theo Epstein was asked for his viewpoint Thursday on WSCR-AM (670).

Epstein said he and Hahn talked about Chris Sale before the Sox traded their five-time All-Star to the Red Sox for four prospects in December. But it was a short conversation.

“Rick and I have talked about players he’s had that have gone on to be traded,’’ Epstein said. “We had a really quick conversation about Sale. It lasted about 30 seconds based on the names that were involved that he would want, and not prospects but our very best big-league players, which, of course, was natural to ask for. He made a great trade.’’

With the Cubs facing a possible need to spruce up their starting pitching and the Sox in rebuild mode and having Jose Quintana, Derek Holland and Miguel Gonzalez off to good starts, the crosstown rivals could be viewed as a good match. But Epstein said don’t bet on it.

“This has been an overblown media story,’’ Epstein said. “The teams are always going to talk, but it’s really unlikely to go anywhere from his standpoint or from our standpoint. There’s no ill will or animosity, it’s just the reality of the situation.

“Will we exclude them from our coverage or our talks? No. Or will they exclude us? No. But realistically that’s not one you’d want to bet on.’’

Early returns

Here’s how the prospects for Sale and Adam Eaton have fared through Wednesday:

From Red Sox for Sale:

• Second baseman Yoan Moncada: .342/.414/.538, six HR, 11 RBI, nine stolen bases at Class AAA Charlotte.

• Right-hander Michael Kopech: 2-2, 2.70 ERA, 42 strikeouts, 18 walks in 30 innings at Class AA Birmingham.

• Center fielder Luis Basabe: .240/.342/.365, one homer, seven RBI, five stolen bases at high Class A Winston-Salem.

• Right-hander Victor Diaz: Low A Kannapolis, disabled list (shoulder irritation). Rehabbing in Arizona.

From Nationals for Eaton:

• Right-hander Lucas Giolito: 0-5, 7.3.1, 31 strikeouts, 18 walks in 28⅓ innings at Charlotte.

• Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez: 3-1, 3.94, 35 strikeouts, 19 walks in 32 innings at Charlotte.

• Right-hander Dane Dunning: 1-0, 3.52 ERA, 11 strikeouts, four walks in 7⅔ innings at Winston Salem; 2-0, 0.35, 33 strikeouts, two walks in 26 innings at low A Kannapolis.

Sale is 3-2 with a 1.92 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 51⅔ innings. Eaton was hitting .297/.393/.462 with two homers, 13 RBI and 24 runs scored before suffering a season-ending knee injury April 28.

Aches and pains

Zach Putnam (elbow inflammation) and Nate Jones (elbow neuritis) are playing catch for the first time since going on the disabled list.

υ Third baseman Todd Frazier (back) was the DH but skipped the team’s early infield drills.

υ James Shields (right lat) hasn’t responded well to medication, and his recovery is taking more time than anticipated.

“I have nothing new to share with you guys that hasn’t already been shared,’’ Renteria said.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.



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