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Outside the Boxcar: Some ‘out there’ Cubs trade ideas

The view from the caboose, or, devil take the hindmost

the California Zephyr is an endangered species
Ideas flourish in fertile ground
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

You should probably think of this article as narrated by Edward Everett Horton. Try to remember that some of the proposed activities are for recreational purposes only.

Marlins are shedding payroll – so they’ll want Heyward?

Derek Jeter and the new ownership group in Miami have been clear: they’re slashing payroll, perhaps by even as much as $50 million. The easiest way to get that process started? Trade the reigning home run leader, Giancarlo Stanton.

Here’s where it gets sideways, so bear with me.

With a young core ready to contend for the next few years already in-place, adding a bat like Stanton to the middle of the Cubs’ order is an enticing thought. But it effectively crushes the dream of bringing Bryce Harper to the North Side after next season. That’s not the point, though.

To land Stanton, suppose the Cubs offered up Heyward, Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber, and a young pitching prospect. A steep cost for a guy who just eclipsed 150 games in a season for the second time in his career. And, more importantly, it does not help the Marlins achieve their payroll-slashing goal. In any way, shape or form.

But, sure. Go ahead and run with that. — Jake Misener

My idea... Jon Lester ($22.5 million) and Heyward ($21.5 million) for Stanton ($25 million), Wei-Yin Chen ($10 million for 2018 but escalating rapidly after that) and Edinson Volquez ($13 million). I’d try like hell to pry José Ureña (team control) loose. Hector Rondon might be a piece in that direction. (gamethread word) it. Go BIG. Marlins save around $7 million. Granted, most of the players have no-trade clauses. But we’re creative in these parts. Some might call it crazy. We call it thinking outside the boxcar.

I have other ideas, too... some of which might be more realistic than the above. Don’t really see that happening. Everyone would be called on the carpet, I should think. Or on the phone, at the very least. There’d be yelling...

Christian Yelich is more likely to head to Chicago, and even that is a little far-fetched, I think, but I sure wouldn’t be inclined to hate Yelich in Cubbie Blue. How about Ian Happ, Jen-Ho Tseng, and Rob Zastryzny if the Marlins allow the Cubs to acquire Ureña in the deal? That might move the needle some. Yelich has been on the Cubs’ radar for a while now.

I’m trying hard to let my head work this one out because my heart wants it to happen. I like Jake Arrieta. I like his bad-ass attitude, I like his dogged toughness. I like his beard and hope he grows it back. I love his sinker. I adore his slider. I miss his curve ball.

I have three “Fear the Beard” t-shirts, I confess, in three different colors. The blue one was everywhere. The green one took some finding. So did the black one. Here’s some inside baseball. You’re welcome.

Anyway...last year, Jake made $15,637,500. The narrative says that he wants to go to Texas somewhere, and at one time wanted more than $200,000,000. I don’t think that car is attached to the train any more. Somewhere between 20 and 30m, I think more to the lower end than the higher, and six years make this a 120m-180m deal.

If I’m involved in negotiations, the first thing I do is aim for the middle and cut a year.

“I’ll give you 5 years at 30 per,” I announce. “Full no-trade and ten years personal services. His own suite on the road, for starters.

“Don’t laugh,” I say haughtily. “You know how this game is played.”

And I down a half a cup of caramel espresso macchiato, placing it on the table decisively.

“So, do we have a deal?”

* crickets *

“Probably not. I may have to take this call,” says Scott Boras, and puts me on hold.

“Why don’t you just make it a conference call this time?“ I groan. The line goes dead.

I dial back. “You hung up on me accidentally,” I say.

“No,” Boras replies, placidly. “I did it on purpose. What you smokin’?” I can literally hear his fingers steeple and the grin creasing his face. He likes this.

“You want a taco?” I inquire innocently. He put me on hold for a minute.

“I thought I heard you say 6 for 35...” he remarked thoughtfully, speaking slowly and enunciating carefully, as if he were talking to an idiot. He put me on hold.

“That was four,” I said. “Four for 35, with a team option fifth. He gets a pony.” Again with the hold.

“Five for thirty, I heard. That was better. With a mutual option, five years personal services and local branding. Jake’s a cowboy, you know. He’s into being a brand.”

“Five for thirty,” I agree. “Mutual option first three, team option last two. Buyout clause. Don’t noise it about.”

“I have to tell. It’s my leverage.” Ice clinked in his glass.

“No you don’t. Let’s do the deal now. You’ve taken at least four or five calls by now.”

“I’m listening,” he allowed.

“Activewear,” I replied.

“Activewear? As in a line of? Interesting. Co-branding for the length of the deal?”

“Works for me. I’ll send the paperwork.”

He put me on hold.

“Shoot,” he said a minute later.

My cell rang.

“Hey, this is Mike Hill. Christian Yelich wants to hear some good news this week. Let’s have a palaver.”

“Go on, I’m listening...”

As always, thanks for reading.