Are Cubs a trade partner for White Sox? Theo says don’t bet on it

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General manager Rick Hahn says he’s not opposed to making a trade with the Cubs and because the subject of whether the White Sox and Cubs could be trade partners came up yet again when Hahn talked to media Tuesday, Cubs president Theo Epstein was asked for his view on the “Mully and Hanley Show” on 670-AM Thursday morning.

Epstein said he and Hahn did talk about Chris Sale before the Sox traded their five-time All-Star to the Red Sox for four prospects in December. But not for long.

“Rick and I have talked about players he’s had that have gone on to be traded,’’ Epstein said. “We had a really quick conversation about Sale. It lasted about 30 seconds based on of the names that were involved that he would want, and not prospects but our very best big league players, which of course was natural to ask for. He made a great trade.’’

With the Cubs facing a possible need to spruce up their starting rotation and the Sox in rebuild mode and having left-hander Jose Quintana — as well as lefty Derek Holland and right-hander Miguel Gonzalez who are off to good starts – the crosstown market rivals could be viewed as a good match.

But Epstein says don’t bet on it.

“This has been an overblown media story,’’ Epstein said. “The teams are always going to talk but it’s really unlikely to go anywhere from his standpoint or from our standpoint. There’s no ill will or animosity, it’s just the reality of the situation.

“Will we exclude them from our coverage or our talks? No. Or will they exclude us? No. But realistically that’s not one you’d want to bet on.’’

Early returns

Speaking of the Sale trade, here is how the prospects Hahn landed in the December trades for Sale and Adam Eaton are faring in the minor leagues:

From Red Sox for Sale:

Second baseman Yoan Moncada: .342/.414/.538, 6 HR, 11 RBI, 9 stolen bases at AAA Charlotte.

Right-hander Michael Kopech: 2-2, 2.70 ERA, 42 strikeouts, 18 walks, 30 IP at AA Birmingham.

Center fielder Luis Basabe: .240/.342/.365, 1 homer, 7 RBI, 5 stolen bases at high A Winston-Salem.

Right-hander Victor Diaz: Low A Kannapolis, disabled list (shoulder irritation). Rehabbing in Arizona.

From Nationals for Eaton:

Right-hander Lucas Giolito: 0-5, 7.3.1, 31 strikeouts, 18 walks, 28 1/3 innings at Charlotte.

Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez: 3-1, 3.94, 35 strikeouts, 19 walks in 32 innings at Charlotte.

Right-hander Dane Dunning: 1-0, 3.52 ERA, 11 strikeouts, four walks in 11 2/3 innings at Winston Salem; 2-0, 0.35, 76 strikeouts, 13 walks in 69 1/3 innings at low A Kannapolis.

Sale is 3-2 with a 1.92 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings for the Red Sox. Eaton was also off to a good start, hitting .297/.393/.462 with two homers, 13 RBI and 24 runs scored before suffering a season ending knee injury April 28.

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