Cubs Staying Patient, Active In Trade Market

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- With just more than two weeks remaining before the trade deadline on July 31, teams are still becoming acclimated to the new marketplace with waiver deals no longer allowed in August.

The expectation is that it will lead to more urgency and aggressiveness in trade talks, knowing July 31 is a hard deadline to improve a team externally.

"There are a lot of conversations right now," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "Prices are normally high at this point in the market. They get a little bit more realistic later.

"Every team seems to be involved in one way or another at this point."

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged Sunday that in an ideal world, his wish list would include a leadoff hitter. The Cubs are also looking for a lefty reliever.

"We are always trying to win," Epstein said of his club's search on the trade market. "If we continue to play well and the more you play well, the more you can focus on certain specific needs. We are always going to look to upgrade as long as it's realistic. Where we are in the division matters, and we would love to get some separation as well."

Another dynamic that executives must now consider is potential injury. In other words, they need to mindful of adding insurance in advance in case a key player is injured in August, as they can only add to their team from their own farm system after July 31.

"Teams are going to have to keep depth in mind now more," Epstein said. "You must anticipate where you may be more vulnerable to an injury. You will try to build that depth up in advance, preemptively knowing there is no escape out after August 1. So you really have to do all of your work this month as much as possible."

As for getting help internally, Epstein has been pleased for the most part with what he has seen from his Triple-A Iowa Cubs.

"It has been a really nice year for us at Iowa," Epstein said. "There are some really nice options down there for us, but there are some areas we would like to shore it up as well from the outside. We will try and be as active as we can on the smaller stuff."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.