August trades this year are a bit confusing. Teams can still make them — but only involving players not on 40-man rosters. The Cubs could trade Tony Cingrani, who hasn't been in MLB or on the 40-man yet this season. As long as it's for a similar minor league player or cash. However, waiver-wire moves are less crystal clear. Kevin Padlo has been designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Cubs should be all over trying to acquire Padlo.
First off, he hasn't hit at all at the MLB level this year (in a very small sample size), his first MLB campaign. To cite two names I will also note later on, he's been a bit pre-2021 Patrick Wisdom or pre-Cubs Frank Schwindel. A bit of a mix between the two, he's a non-terrible corner infielder. Anything more than that is a bit more guesswork than certainty. Originally a fifth-round pick of the Rockies in 2014, he came to Tampa in trade in 2016.
The Rays have had numerous long-term and shorter-term injuries this season. I doubt they really wanted to DFA Padlo, but tough decisions are sometimes necessary. Ranked a 40-plus by Fangraphs, Padlo would upgrade the system if added.
Hitters don't seem to be the longer-term need for the MLB squad, but Padlo could be sent to Triple-A. As of Tuesday morning, Padlo was rated 18th in the Rays’ enviably deep pipeline. Take your pick on who the Cubs ought to DFA to make room for Padlo. I'd lean Dan Winkler, and recall Dillon Maples in the same transaction swath.
Padlo has struggled somewhat at Triple-A Durham this year, as well. Which could lead to him be easier to acquire. As to whether the Cubs need to, or even be able to, jump up in line by sending extra cash to Tampa for Padlo? Send them the entire $140,000 they’re saving on Jake Arrieta’s deal after the Padres signed him, for all I care. Talent is talent. When a good team is pushed into a DFA, the Cubs ought to be all over it. Let Padlo try the Schwindel/Wisdom thing in Des Moines, with a possibility of coming to Chicago. Really, what would it hurt?