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Could the Cubs trade Zach Davies back to the Padres?

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San Diego, suddenly, can use some starting pitching.

Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Some of you like faux trade articles like spam-flavored jello. Some of you like actual trades far worse than faux trades, especially when popular players leave. When I do faux trade articles, I try to approximate what might happen, based on recent trends. My usual default research source is Fangraphs. Their homework and math behind it are on display. Today's faux trade sends Zach Davies back to the San Diego Padres.

A few nights ago, I noted that eight Padres have started games. Two looked to be relievers in "bullpen day" mode. Of the other six, three (including Yu Darvish) are on the injured list. Three aren't, but Ryan Weathers left his last start (just before the break) with the aid of the trainer. I don't know the status for any of the six, but adding a familiar starting pitcher over the next few weeks might be possible. Davies would qualify.

Looking at the Darvish trade, Jed Hoyer seemed to prefer younger players than older. (While the recently acquired Bryce Ball isn't "young," neither will he be eligible for December's Rule 5 Draft.) As I looked at Fangraphs’ Padres prospect list, avoiding Rule 5 Draft-eligible talent was my plan, along with keeping it simple.

My initial lean was toward pitching. Any aspect of the Cubs pipeline can use improvement, but the upper-minors rotation has been held together with bobby pins, so someone in the South Bend/Tennessee range seemed preferable, all things even. Also, what is a reasonable ask for Davies? A 35? A 40? A 35 and a 40? Maybe two 35s? I really have no idea, and I'm not interested in being "that guy" with faux trades.

Looking down the list. In the 35+ range, I saw lefty pitcher Jagger Haynes. Having Jagger on the mound would open up so many writer puns that I had to include him. Off limits or not, he demands a mention. As a 35+, he shouldn't be outside of discussion, and would surely infuriate half the Cubs fanbase.

My next stop was the Fort Wayne Tincaps (San Diego’s Advanced-A affiliate) roster page. If I want a starting pitcher at that level, seeing what the Tincaps have seems a reasonable look.

I jumped to pitching stats, and listed from most starts to fewest. Ethan Elliott interested me enough to click on his page. Nice enough numbers, but I wanted the age (24) explained. It turns out he's from the baseball factory of Lincoln Memorial University, and you get five bonus points if you know that it's located in Harrogate, Tennessee. The lefty tosser pitched four years at Lincoln, and was selected in the 10th round in 2019, presumably ss a senior signing. My look at his page noted he's been promoted to Double-A San Antonio.

Jumping back to the Padres prospect page, Elliott is rated a 40, and ranked their 14th-best prospect.

Would Elliott for Davies be legitimate? Could Haynes be added? Would a reliever have to be tossed in? Is "Haynes and a piece" more realistic?

You will have your opinions, to include "keep Davies." My goal with these is to educate rather than bombard with information. Elliott would upgrade the Cubs pitching pipeline, and Haynes would be a pun machine. I'm really not even sure what the July 2021 value of three months of Zach Davies is. I'd want more than Haynes, but Haynes and Elliott might be excessive. I've done my work, and await the computer app that dings 15 minutes before the trade goes final.

Poll

So, could the Cubs actually trade Zach Davies back to the Padres?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Yes, and the proposal in the article looks good to me
    (268 votes)
  • 32%
    Yes, but it would bring back a different return
    (188 votes)
  • 21%
    No, A.J. Preller wouldn’t be interested
    (125 votes)
581 votes total Vote Now