Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports recently reported that the Cubs were considering trading one of their young position players in order to shore up the shaky starting rotation.
Chicago theoretically has a few candidates if they do decide to go that route, with Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras, Ian Happ and Javier Baez all seeming to be logical candidates.
I think you could add Addison Russell to that list as well.
Without going into detail as to exactly where you’d trade one of those guys and what the return would be, let’s look briefly at the strengths and weaknesses of each of those five.
Strengths: Prodigious power, good plate discipline, work ethic off the charts.
Weaknesses: Still strikes out too much; probably better-suited to being a DH in the American League than a left fielder in the National.
Strengths: Good power for a catcher, has adjusted well to MLB pitching, excellent at throwing out potential base stealers. Plays with visible passion on the field.
Weaknesses: Needs to get better at blocking pitches and pitch-framing.
Strengths: Switch-hitting power, can play several positions.
Weaknesses: Only decent in the field, still learning to play the outfield.
Strengths: Highlight-reel defense, versatile, can play multiple positions well, good power.
Weaknesses: Still strikes out too much, rarely walks.
Strengths: Excellent range at shortstop, hits for power.
Weaknesses: BA and OBP have dropped off from last year.
In terms of the likelihood of those five being traded, I think you can cross Contreras off the list. The Cubs aren’t going to go with Victor Caratini as their No. 1 catcher and it’s unlikely any team trading with the Cubs would send back a catcher who’s anywhere near as talented.
Despite Schwarber’s struggles, I know that management thinks the world of him and feels that he’s very close to breaking out of his season-long slump and becoming the hitter they hoped they had when they selected him No. 4 overall in 2014.
So that leaves Happ, Baez and Russell. Happ and Baez would both be attractive to other teams because of their positional versatility — but that’s the exact reason they’re useful to the Cubs, and it’s well known how much Joe Maddon likes Baez. Happ would probably be very attractive to other teams and might bring a very good controllable starting pitcher.
In the end, though, Russell might be the guy who the Cubs could deal. He’s basically only a shortstop (though he did play second base, and did so well, in 2015). If I were making the decision to trade one, and only one, of those guys I think it’d be Russell.
Who would you choose?
Which young Cubs position player would you trade to improve the starting rotation?
This poll is closed
Someone else (leave in comments)
None of the above; the Cubs should keep all of them