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How Will the Foreign Substance Crackdown Affect MLB’s Trade Deadline?

Cubs President Jed Hoyer identified the impending crackdown on foreign substances as a “huge variable” when it comes to MLB’s trade deadline.

Jed Hoyer Cubs Trade Deadline
Photo: Cubs/Twitter

Chicago Cubs President Jed Hoyer joined Waddle and Silvy at ESPN 1000 Thursday afternoon and discussed a variety of topics, including the Cubs’ goals for the rest of 2021 and how they plan on handling their own upcoming free agents.

For today, let’s focus on the now and the upcoming trade deadline on July 30. Hoyer confirmed that the Cubs’ goal for 2021 is to win the World Series. Yes, of course that’s the goal, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to hear it from him. Cubs fans can assume the front office is currently looking to add players to a team that currently sits atop the NL Central standings.

The very apparent Achilles heel of this Chicago Cubs team is the starting rotation. The rotation has underperformed to middling preseason expectations and suffered injuries on top of that. Hoyer and co.’s top priority over the next month should be adding to the starting rotation, but that task unfortunately just got a lot harder due to the recent ban on foreign substances for pitchers.

MLB will now suspend any player found to be using any substance except rosin alone for ten games, and the team will not be able to replace that roster spot while the suspension is being served. It is now extremely risky and selfish for a pitcher to continue to use any substance regardless of what it is or its purpose because it will put his team in a tough bind down a roster spot for ten games.

On the Waddle and Silvy show, Jed Hoyer said this new crackdown makes the trade market for pitchers a “huge variable.” It boils down to the fact that we don’t know exactly who is using what substance. What we do know is that a vast majority of pitchers in the MLB are using something, whether it be for grip or to add spin rate to their pitches.

Baseball fans will likely find out a lot in the next couple of weeks, which Hoyer described as “a new five-week season” ahead of the July 30 trade deadline. Front offices across the league need to know what they are trading for, and past numbers are not going to be as reliable as they previously were. Ultimately, this new rule implementation will make it even tougher for any team looking to pull off a trade, and especially for the Cubs who are in desperate need of starting pitchers.

It will be interesting to see how things play out over the next five weeks as pitchers are forced to pitch without any substances. Will this lower the value of pitchers, or will it make teams extremely hesitant to even trade for them?


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