Updated: July 31, 2014 12:05AM
One night after the players worked well past midnight on the field, the Cubs’ front office threatened to do the same thing off it as it tried to complete at least one more trade before the non-waiver deadline Thursday.
A few hours before the Cubs’ 6-4, 10-inning loss to the Colorado Rockies, the team acquired disgruntled pitcher Felix Doubront from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named.
But it was the active market for leadoff hitter Emilio Bonifacio, the Cubs’ biggest remaining trading chip, that drew the most attention throughout the night, especially after the Cubs held him out of the lineup and, according to a source, told him to prepare for a trade.
“Just waiting for whatever [might happen],” Bonifacio said after the game, adding that he’ll approach the homestand finale like any other game. “I’ve just got to pack like I’m going with the team tomorrow. . . . It’s something that’s out of my hands.”
When the pending free agent arrived at the park just as media clubhouse access ended before the game, he smiled broadly as he made his way to the few teammates in the room, apparently saying goodbyes.
The San Francisco Giants, who optioned outfielder Tyler Colvin to the minors and were poised to release second baseman Dan Uggla on Wednesday night, were among a number of teams pursuing the versatile Bonifacio into the final 24 hours before the 3 p.m. deadline.
Sources said late Wednesday night that the Cubs expect to make a deal Thursday but multiple teams are still involved.
The Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals and even the division-rival Cincinnati Reds were said to have interest.
Bonifacio likes the idea of a pennant race.
“You want to be a part of that,” he said, “but right now, you’re still a part of the Cubs, and you’ve just got to keep pushing for the Cubs.”
The Cubs acquired Bonifacio the first week of spring training as a minor-league free agent after the Royals released him just before camp opened.
He has about $835,000 left on his one-year contract.
In what likely was his last game as a Cub, Bonifacio had four hits in their 16-inning victory Tuesday, missing the cycle by a triple. He’s hitting .279 with a .318 on-base percentage and is 14-for-35 (.400) since returning from an oblique injury July 22.
Doubront, meanwhile, is a left-hander with potentially good upside as a starter, but he turned into a headache for the Red Sox after they moved him to the bullpen last month.
He told Boston media Sunday that the team should use him as a starter or trade him. On Monday, he had his worst outing of the season, and Red Sox manager John Farrell was put in the position of defending Doubront’s appearance of disinterest on the mound.
“I don’t necessarily buy into the change of scenery,” Farrell said after the trade. “Can it invigorate someone in a new surrounding? Possibly. But as I talked with him awhile ago . . . the work is always going to be needed, regardless of where you pitch or the role in which you’re pitching.”
Doubront, 26, was 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA in 17 games for the Red Sox, including 10 starts (2-4, 5.19 ERA in that role).
He won 11 games each of the two previous seasons and pitched well in two relief appearances (1-0, 1.93 ERA) against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series.
“He has performed well for us over a period of time,” Farrell said, “and the importance of his relief appearances last year in the World Series can’t be understated.”