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A few thoughts about the Cubs and the trade deadline

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Who’ll go and who’ll stay?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, I wrote this article about teams that had come back from huge deficits to make the postseason.

It was really hoping against hope for a miracle. After Monday’s dispiriting Cubs performance, it seems pretty clear that’s not going to happen.

And so, the team likely turns its attention to the trade deadline, which is 10 days from today, Friday, July 30. Traditionally, it’s July 31, but MLB didn’t want the deadline on a weekend where there are lots of day games, so instead, it’ll happen at 3 p.m. CT on the 30th, before any of that day’s games have begun. Also remember that this deadline is an actual deadline. Teams can no longer put the entire roster on waivers to see who claims them, then work out some sort of deal or pull back waivers. Teams can still waive players in August, but if another team files a claim, it’s irrevocable — they have to take that player and his entire contract. (Worth it for the Cubs to waive Jason Heyward and see if anyone bites?)

I have seen a number of articles and heard TV pundits talk about four or five of the Cubs’ “core” players being traded and I look at those as fantasy league deals. In a fantasy league you can trade as many of those guys as you want, because you suffer no personal repercussions and in most fantasy leagues (apart from “keeper” leagues) you start over the following year.

That’s not how it works in real life. I’ve heard an over/under of “five” for how many core players the Cubs will deal and if that’s the number I’ll take the under and I’m pretty sure I’d win that one.

I’ll be honest. I am not as familiar with most teams’ farm systems as I am with the Cubs’. Thus I am not certain which prospects, or young MLB players, would be good returns for several Cubs players who are presumably on the market.

Also, with the exceptions of Craig Kimbrel and Andrew Chafin, many of the Cubs’ potential trade pieces aren’t having good years — that’s a big part of why the Cubs have fallen out of contention. The team currently ranks 11th in runs in the National League. That and starting pitching that generally can’t get past the fifth inning are the primary reasons for the collapse.

So those of you who think Zach Davies would bring a decent trade return? Fuhgeddaboudit. I doubt he’d bring even as good a prospect as the Cubs got for Joc Pederson.

Kris Bryant? Before 2021 he had an .889 OPS. This year? .835. Since June 1 — that’s 35 games — he’s hitting .174./248/.306 (21-for-121) with four home runs and 36 strikeouts. That’s Ian Happ territory. Now, KB has a long track record of success and perhaps elsewhere he’d start hitting again. But his poor performance lately might reduce the return.

Javier Báez? 21 home runs, but if he stays a Cub, his 123 strikeouts are on pace to demolish the franchise record (199 by Bryant in 2015). There are reports the Cubs will try to extend Javy and Anthony Rizzo before trying to deal them:

As for Rizzo, he has hit .238/.344/.427 with 22 home runs in 492 at-bats (579 PA) since the beginning of 2020, far below his career norms. He turns 32 next month. Yes, I would kind of like to see him stay a Cub because of what he has meant on and off the field to the franchise. And at this point, what are you going to get in return for him?

I noted in the recap to last night’s game that the ESPN announcers floated an idea of trading Rizzo and Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox. While Boston might want Kimbrel, would adding Rizzo add any real value to such a deal? The Cubs might do better with Boston sending Kimbrel and Andrew Chafin there. In a trade like that I’d like to get a major league starting pitcher back, plus guys who are ready to go by 2022.

Ten days to go. I’ll still take the under on that “five” for the number of players the Cubs trade.

Mainly, I opened up this thread for you to discuss trade possibilities. Have at it.

Poll

How many players currently on the 26-man active roster will the Cubs trade before July 30?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    More than 5
    (218 votes)
  • 9%
    5
    (125 votes)
  • 19%
    4
    (262 votes)
  • 36%
    3
    (487 votes)
  • 14%
    2
    (198 votes)
  • 2%
    1
    (33 votes)
  • 1%
    0
    (18 votes)
1341 votes total Vote Now