Nick Castellanos has been the subject of several recent reports when it comes to Cubs trade targets, but one of his teammates could be in the mix as well. Closer Shane Greene, who’s posting an absurd 1.03 ERA with 22 saves for the hapless Tigers, has reportedly been involved in discussions between the two teams.
That comes from NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan, who added to an earlier report from Chris McCosky of the Detroit news that the Cubs were “a serious suitor” for Castellanos. While Castellanos is only controlled through the end of this season, the 30-year-old Greene is in the midst of a career year and isn’t a free agent until 2021, making a dual acquisition “quite costly.”
The report from @cmccosky on the Cubs interest in Nick Castellanos is correct. There have also been discussions that include Tigers closer Shane Greene. To acquire both would be fairly costly. We are 10 days from the trade deadline.
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 21, 2019
So the Cubs could trade with the Tigers to land a bat to bolster the lineup for the remainder of the season and a breakout reliever who could help the bullpen this season and next. Hey, that sounds familiar. Like, super familiar. Oh yeah, because it’s exactly what they did at the deadline two years ago when they got Justin Wilson and Alex Avila.
Except that Castellanos is a much better hitter than Avila — he currently leads MLB with 34 doubles — and Greene has less boom-or-bust potential than Wilson. Even though the super-low ERA can’t really be trusted and his velocity is down, Greene’s performance is looking more and more reliable. He’s pitching to less contact overall and is getting more grounders with a lower hard-contact rate (27%) than in either of the last two years.
His sinker and cutter, which make up roughly 75% of his repertoire, have been better than ever and regression doesn’t seem as frightening as the season goes on. Not having to rely on elite velocity while also staying pretty well in line with career strikeout and walk rates tells us that Greene may not susceptible to the same issues the Cubs had with Wilson.
Now, this could just be a matter of the Tigers looking to get more out of a trade than they would for Castellanos alone, though you can imagine why the Cubs might want to further strengthen their bullpen. But at what cost, since acquiring Greene would mean giving up some talent and freeing up a spot in the bullpen. That could involve a change of scenery for Carl Edwards Jr., who might benefit from hitting the reset button.
Rather than recency bias from his rough outing Sunday afternoon, it’s a simple matter of balancing the ‘pen and looking at righty-for-righty moves. Edwards has all the stuff to be a lights-out reliever, he just hasn’t quite been able to put it all together on a consistent basis for the Cubs. Perhaps a lower-pressure situation or just putting on a different uniform allows that to click. Here’s to hoping he figures it out one way other other.
These talks are going to continue, but it feels as though this connection to Castellanos and the Tigers could bear fruit soon. With the Cubs hitting the road for nine games, including six against the Brewers and Cardinals to close the month, they might want to get something done ahead of the deadline.