The Chicago Cubs' teardown is underway as Friday's 4 p.m. ET MLB trade deadline approaches. Outfielder Joc Pederson (Atlanta) and reliever Andrew Chafin (Oakland) have already been moved -- but the team still employs a handful of available players who could be next in the coming days.
Those names include homegrown stars Kris Bryant and Javier Baez plus de facto team captain, Anthony Rizzo. Then there's all-world closer Craig Kimbrel and setup man Ryan Tepera, along with veteran starting pitcher Zach Davies -- all players who will be free agents when the season ends. In other words, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer is very popular right now.
Here's where things stand with those players as the Cubs' current winning window comes to a close.
In what could have been his last performance as a Cub, Kimbrel did what he has often done in his career -- get into some trouble then slam the door shut on the opponent. In a tie game with the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night, he allowed the first two batters to reach in the ninth before striking out the side.
His 0.49 ERA with just two blown saves has the top teams in baseball very interested in a closer who has returned to All-Star form after a bumpy stretch in his career.
Where he could go: The Dodgers might need him more than anyone else right now. Going into Tuesday's game against the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles has given up the second-most runs in the National League in the ninth inning or later. L.A.'s 1-10 record in extra innings might be a bit fluky due to the current rules, but it's still telling. Closer Kenley Jansen has blown five saves this season -- three since the All-Star break. If the Dodgers want to repeat as champions they need an upgrade to the back of their bullpen.
Other possibilities include the Red Sox, Astros and Padres.
After a great start to the season, Bryant cooled off in June but has picked it up again. Since returning to the lineup after leaving a game last week due to hamstring fatigue, he has been on base over 50% of the time and has posted a .304/.400/.500 slash line in July. The bottom line: When healthy, Bryant is still a very dangerous hitter.