The Cubs need OF help. Currently, the Cubs' OF looks like this: Alfonso Soriano in LF, David DeJesus in CF, recently signed Nate Schierholtz in RF, and Dave Sappelt, Brian Bogusevic and Tony Campana competing for bench spots. All indications are that Brett Jackson will remain in Iowa, at least for now. I believe that Schierholtz is a pretty good value signing, and if you platoon with him the right-handed hitting Sappelt, I think you'll get pretty good production there. However, I'm not sold on DDJ's ability to play CF, and all indications are that we're shopping Soriano too.
Enter the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks recently signed Cody Ross, leaving them with more OFs than they have playing time for. In Adam Eaton, Jason Kubel, Justin Upton, Gerardo Parra, AJ Pollock and Ross, the DBacks have 6 OFs that could be considered starting-caliber. Paul Swydan from Fangraphs writes about this topic in this Insider-only ESPN article:
When the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Cody Ross last month, they created a situation where they have six players worthy of regular reps in the outfield: Adam Eaton, Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra, A.J. Pollock, Ross and Justin Upton. They probably can only carry five, and while knocking Pollock down to the minors would seem to solve the problem, there's this little matter of playing time -- the other five are each worthy of starting gigs, and unfortunately there are only three available.
The Diamondbacks have a number of options here, and Swydan discusses them in depth, but here are the cliffs. Odds are they'll leave Pollock in AAA. They could leave Eaton down there too, but he absolutely tore it up there last year, so they'll probably have him take over CF. Upton slides in at RF, unless they trade him, of course. In LF, they have a couple of options. They could trade Kubel and go with Ross in LF with Parra as a 4th OF or vice versa, or they could platoon Kubel and Ross and trade Parra.
I think the Diamondbacks' OF glut makes them a very intriguing potential trade partner for the Cubs. We've talked about trading for Upton here before, but I think a better idea might be to acquire Parra, Eaton or Pollock, as all three could fill our hole in CF for the next few years. Eaton and Pollock each made their ML debuts last year, so you'd get a full 6 years of control with each. Similar to Brett Jackson, they're both "B" prospects that could end up being above-average starting CFs with high OBPs, good speed and defense, or they could end up being merely 4th OFs (or they could bust completely). Neither has Jackson's power, but neither has his strikeout issues either. Here's an article on the D-Backs Top 20 Prospects, which includes a blurb about each. Here's an extended look on Pollock and here's an extended look at Eaton.
Parra, on the other hand, is a little more proven. You can look at his ML stats here at Fangraphs. Parra is 3rd-year arbitration eligible, so we'd have him for another 3 years. Less upside, but it'd probably take less too grab him.
Now, one might argue against a move like this by saying that this would block BJax, but I don't think that would be the case, as you could always move him to LF. He'd lose value from playing a less important defensive position, but he'd also be a much better defender in LF than he would be in CF.
If we trade Soriano, Kubel might be an appealing target. Kubel is signed for $7.5MM for 2013 and has a club option for 2014 worth $7.5MM. The Cubs could trade for him and try to flip him for more at the July deadline, or they could exercise the option and keep him for 2014.
I'd like to hear all of your thoughts on the possibility of trading with the Diamondbacks. What should we be willing to give up to acquire for Parra? For Eaton or Pollock? For Kubel?