The Chicago Cubs have already made a big splash on the trade market, dealing for Chicago White Sox left-handed starter Jose Quintana earlier this month.
However, the Cubbies may not be done just yet, as news broke on Friday that the team wants to continue adding to its starting rotation before the July 31 trade deadline.
Now, they just have to wait and see if one struggling American League squad will decide to sell off some top assets this month or whether the team believes it can compete for a playoff spot.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com, the Cubs have expressed interest in Texas Rangers ace right-hander Yu Darvish - one of the biggest players potentially on the 2017 trading block.
The Rangers have lost five-straight games and are coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles, so their playoff window is closing rapidly for this season.
The Cubs may be best suited to make an offer quickly, before Texas has a chance to potentially turn things around and re-enter the AL wildcard race.
While Quintana is on a long-term deal, Darvish would just be a two-month rental before he's eligible to become a free agent this offseason. Currently, the Rangers' ace sports a record of 6-8 with a 3.45 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 125.1 innings of work.
The Cubs have won six-straight games and now have an overall record of 49-45. They trail the Milwaukee Brewers by only one game in the NL Central.
After the team's most recent win against the Atlanta Braves, manager Joe Maddon said the Cubs are getting back to having fun, which is an important key to their success (via Cubs.com):
"We won six in row, and we have this momentum," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I guess, synonymously, the vibe has been different. The vibe and energy has been great, and I want to see that continue."
Adding a player of Darvish's caliber to the mix would likely be enough to put the Cubs over the top, unless the Brewers were able to counter with a trade for a star of their own.
Milwaukee has been linked to Oakland A's star Sonny Gray in recent days, but whether or not the Brewers can best the Los Angeles Dodgers or Houston Astros in a race to get the talented right-hander remains to be seen.
Whatever happens down the stretch, the Cubs will be a team to watch both before July 31 and beyond as they try to defend their 2016 World Series title.
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