.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays
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Report: Cubs interested in J.A. Happ

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The Cubs might be the latest team in the mix for Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ, according to a report from Bob Elliott of the Canadian Baseball Network. No further details have been revealed so far, but it isn’t surprising to see Happ connected to yet another team looking to bolster their rotation as the second half of the 2018 season draws near.

Happ, 35, has been a stable presence in the Jays’ rotation over the last three seasons. He’s 10-5 through his first 18 starts of 2018 and holds a 4.44 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 across 105 1/3 innings. The veteran lefty is slated to receive the remainder of his $13 million salary in 2018 and will enter the free agent pool at the end of the year.

There’s no question the Cubs’ pitching staff could use a boost as they look toward the playoffs later this year. According to FanGraphs, their rotation ranks seventh-worst among all major league teams with a collective 3.92 ERA and 2.7 fWAR. It doesn’t help, of course, that Yu Darvish is out of commission for the foreseeable future and that Jon Lester and Mike Montgomery are the only starters currently sporting ERAs under 4.00. Whether or not the Cubs have something of interest to offer the Blue Jays is another question entirely; as of Sunday, at least three other teams have allegedly expressed interest in the southpaw, including the Yankees, Mariners, and Brewers.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.