Report: The Cubs are “actively exploring” trade for a top closer

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After addressing a need for their rotation by adding veteran right-hander John Lackey on a reported two-year, $32 million contract, the Cubs have apparently turned their attention to upgrading the back-end of their bullpen.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Cubs are “actively exploring” a trade for one of the one top closers. No specifics on who they are targeting, but a bunch of closers are reportedly available via trade right now, including Aroldis Chapman of the Reds, Ken Giles of the Phillies, Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger of the Rays, and Andrew Miller of the Yankees. The Nationals have also made Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen available.

The Cubs already have a pretty good closer in Hector Rondon, who had a 1.67 ERA and 69/15 K/BB ratio in 70 innings this past season. However, the prospect of using him in a set-up role in front of someone like Chapman (again, just speculation) is obviously really enticing.

Cody Bellinger continues to lead all All-Star vote-getters

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As you’ll recall, we have a new All-Star voting system in place this year. It’s a two-tiered system.

The “the Primary,” is underway and runs through June 21. That’s just the regular “vote for whoever you want stuff.” After it’s over, the top three vote-getters at each position will then be placed on a new ballot — “The Starter’s Election” — from which fans will then vote again during a single 28-hour period to decide who starts the All-Star Game. The results of that will be announced on June 27. The bench guys and pitchers and stuff will be chosen as usual, with full rosters announced a couple of days later.

Major League Baseball just gave us an update of who’s leading the primary. The overall leaders at each position break down thusly:

Here are the more extensive leaderboards, with the shaded names belonging to players who, if voting stopped now, would make the second round. First, the American League:

And now the National League:

Vote early, vote often.