The Cubs needed a starting pitcher — at least as long as Yu Darvish is hurt and Tyler Chatwood continues to mightily struggle with his control — and on Thursday they went out and got one.

After missing out on J.A. Happ, Rangers lefty Cole Hamels turned into Plan B. The Cubs have since agreed to a deal to land the veteran southpaw:

Source: Deals is in place to send Cole Hamels to the Chicago Cubs.

— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) July 27, 2018

Sources: The Chicago Cubs have a deal to acquire Cole Hamels from the Texas Rangers, who will receive minor leaguers in return. Texas sending a significant amount of cash to cover Hamels’ salary. Hamels gives the Cubs rotation depth and an October-tested veteran arm.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 27, 2018

This is an interesting one, because the Cubs don’t have much prospect currency left to deal without impacting the major-league roster (especially since David Bote is needed with Kris Bryant hurt). As such, it looks like the Cubs will compensate by absorbing money. Hamels is making $23.5 million this season with a $6 million buyout of his $20 million team option for next season. 

The Braves had appeared to have interest, so Chicago would be keeping Hamels away from a potential playoff foe. Hamels, 34, is 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 114 strikeouts in 114 1/3 innings this season. 

The Hamels trade is a reminder that the 2018 non-waiver trade is less than a week away. Between now and then CBS Sports is going to provide a daily — and constantly updated — roundup of the latest trade rumors. We’re also tracking all trades made, big and small, in our trade tracker. And in case you missed it, here is Wednesday’s rumor roundup.

Now for the rest of Thursday’s rumors:

Rangers interested in Pirates prospects

The Pirates reportedly have interest in Rangers reliever Keone Kela. We’ve known that for days. Now we know some of the names the Rangers are scouting — potentially ahead of a potential trade, thanks to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal:

Among names #Rangers are considering from #Pirates in Keone Kela discussions, per sources: RHP Tyler Eppler, OF Jordan Luplow, SS Kevin Newman, RHP Dovydas Neverauskas. All are at Triple A. Newman is team’s No. 8 prospect, per @MLBPipeline, Luplow No. 22.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 26, 2018

None of those names figures to jump off the page. Indeed, Newman is the best prospect of the bunch, per MLB.com, yet he wouldn’t seem like a fit for a Rangers team who already has Elvis Andrus (he has an opt-out), Jurickson Profar, and Rougned Odor under contract for next season and who wants to re-sign Adrian Beltre. 

Rosenthal amended his original report, stating the Rangers are just doing background work on the players. But there would seem to be a thin line between “normal coverage” and asking for one (or more) of the above players in a trade.

Nonetheless, the rumors tying Kela to Pittsburgh have had legs for several days now, so there might be something there after all. 

Wheeler could ‘move any minute’

Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler could “move any minute,” reports SNY.tv’s Andy Martino. There is “heavy interest” in the 28-year-old and as many as 12 teams have scouts watching him, including both contenders and rebuilders. Martino says those involved believe Wheeler could net a top-10 prospect plus more.

Among the teams with interest in Wheeler: the Brewers. The two sides have talked but not deal is close.

Wheeler has a 4.33 ERA with 109 strikeouts in in 114 1/3 innings this season after missing all of 2015 and 2016, and much of 2017, with injury problems, including Tommy John surgery. He has a 3.50 ERA in his last 10 starts and 64 1/3 innings after developing a new splitter. Wheeler will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in 2019, so he’s not a rental.

Happ to Yankees for Drury, McKinney

Reports Thursday indicate that the long-speculated trade of Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ to the Yankees has been completed. The return will be utility man Brandon Drury and minor-league outfielder Billy McKinney

Full story here.

Nationals preparing to sell?

When an expected contender is playing the way the Nationals are and it has several notable players hitting free agency after the season, it only makes sense that the team do its due diligence. Sure enough, some reports have noted that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is laying the groundwork to sell veteran relievers who hit free agency after the season. No word on Bryce Harper just yet …

Full story here

Brewers bolster bullpen with Soria

The Brewers are still likely in the market for a starting pitcher and a few other positions, but they’ve added more reliever depth by acquiring White Sox closer Joakim Soria to add to their stable of late inning arms such as Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress and Corey Knebel

Full story here.

Astros open to moving Giles?

Could the Astros move on from embattled former closer Ken Giles? According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Houston is open to moving Giles even while his stock is at an all-time low. The ‘Stros of course deny shopping him. From Rosenthal:

The Astros say they are not shopping Giles, explaining that other teams began inquiring about him after he was demoted on July 11, seeking a bargain; a trade, according to some with knowledge of the club’s thinking, is unlikely. Rival execs, though, offer a different spin, saying the Astros are open to moving Giles — and frankly, why wouldn’t they be, considering his inconsistent performances and emotional outbursts this season? 

Giles is currently in Triple-A, where he’s allowed one run on six hits and one walk in 4 1/3 innings. He’s struck out seven. The Astros demoted him earlier this month, after Giles allowed 17 runs and 39 baserunners in 30 1/3 innings. He did go a perfect 12 for 12 in save chances, but lost his closer’s job anyway because he wasn’t able to have a clean inning.

Just last season Giles threw 62 2/3 innings with 83 strikeouts and a 2.30 ERA, so you don’t have to look back too far for the last time he was an effective reliever. Teams are always looking for bullpen help and it stands to reason a few clubs out there would be willing to roll the dice on Giles, who is making $4.5 million this season and is under team control through 2020, as a change-of-scenery guy.

Yankees, Twins have talked Santana, others

As part of their ongoing search for rotation help, the Yankees have talked to the Twins about veteran right-hander Ervin Santana, reports Jon Heyman of Fancred.com. The two sides have also discussed other pitchers like Lance Lynn, Jake Odorizzi, and Kyle Gibson. The Twins are out of the postseason race and the Yankees have cast a wide net for pitching help.

Santana is in the final season of his four-year contract — the deal does include a $14 million club option for 2019 — and he just recently returned following offseason finger surgery. He allowed three runs in five innings in his first start of the season earlier this week. Lynn and Odorizzi are impending free agents while Gibson (and Santana) can be retained for next year. Minnesota is widely expected to trade away some veterans prior to the July 31 deadline. 

Astros add Maldonado in deal with Angels

According to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, the Astros have acquired catcher Martin Maldonado from the Angels. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand says minor-league lefty Patrick Sandoval is going to the Angels in the trade. Maldonado, an impending free agent, is hitting .223/.284/.332 with five home runs in 78 games this season. He has long been considered a standout defender behind the plate.

The Astros added Maldonado for depth as Brian McCann recovers following midseason knee surgery. Max Stassi has taken over as the starter behind the plate and has slowed a bit offensively after a great start to the season. Tim Federowicz had been serving as backup catcher. McCann is still weeks away from returning, so Maldonado will help get the ‘Stros through the next few weeks.

Dodgers eyeing Greene

The Dodgers have interest in Tigers closer Shane Greene and have had scouts watching him in recent days, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Their interest dates back several weeks, even prior to his recent shoulder injury, and they’ve continued to put eyes on him since he returned from the disabled list just prior to the All-Star break.

Greene, 29, is 20 for 23 in save chances this season and has a 4.19 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 43 innings. He will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player through 2020. The Dodgers are said to be looking to bolster their setup crew given the injuries to Tony Cingrani, Josh Fields, Yimi Garcia, and Tom Koehler.

Blue Jays, Rockies complete Oh trade

On Thursday the Blue Jays and Rockies completed their trade sending Seung-Hwan Oh to Colorado for prospects Forrest Wall and Chad Spanberger, as well as a player to be named later or cash. The moves helps the Rockies bolster a bullpen that, frankly, they spent an awful lot of money to upgrade over the winter. You can read more about the Oh trade right here.

The Rockies also signed free agent reliever and former A’s and Giants closer Santiago Casilla to a minor-league deal, reports Robert Murray of The Athletic. Casilla was released by the A’s last week. He’s pitched to a 3.16 ERA and 1.21 WHIP this season, but he’s walked 20 in 31 1/3 innings. 

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