By Todd Johnson
When 3 P.M. comes today, the non-waiver trade season ends.
The Cubs are currently in the market for a pitcher…or two. There are just a few questions about what could go down today.
1. Will It be a Starter, a Reliever, or Both?
The issue is who can the Cubs get that fits what they want. I am one who is tired of the Chris Archer talk. I don’t want to hear James Shields either. Matt Harvey is a name who is in the process of trying to reform himself and has been good in Cincinnati. But do you want to trade players with another team in your division? It’s an interesting thought, but unlikely.
The name I drool over is Jacob deGrom. He’s an ace who has been fairly healthy. He’s fairly young and you would have control over him through 2020. The problem with trying to acquire deGrom is twofold. One, the cost is going to be too high. Second, he might not be available right now. However, he could be this winter.
While Cub fans watched the pitchers struggle this past month, the club did go out and get reliever Jesse Chavez and starter Cole Hamels, both from Texas. There are other reliever options in San Diego, Toronto, Anaheim, and Florida, four teams who look to be adding assets of the both the major and minor league variety. Based on the demand, they could be holding some teams over a barrel to get what they want.
In the end, the Cubs are most likely to add one more reliever by the end of the day at a moderately low cost. Acquiring a starting pitcher is a pipe dream for now.
2. Do the Cubs Have Enough to Get What They Want?
If the prized player is a top of the rotation starter, the Cubs don’t have the MiLB prospects to match up. They do, however, have controllable MLB assets that they can use. Some of you may not want to part with one of Ian Happ, Albert Almora, Victor Caratini, or Addison Russell. Some of you do. That positional player depth is the Cubs’ greatest strength.
With the ascendance of David Bote this year, that creates a player who could step in and fill a variety of roles should the Cubs trade one player of their young position core that is controllable through 2021 or 2022. It’s a good problem to have and the Cubs’ bench would still be very, very strong. The other team gets an everyday MLB asset and prospects galore while the Cubs get a top of the rotation guy for two plus years.
When it comes to minor leaguers, the Cubs have amazing depth, just not amazing talent. I am sure that Miguel Amaya is at the top of every GM’s list. There are plenty of other players who are MLB ready like Mark Zagunis and Dillon Maples who are just awaiting their turn. As well, the Cubs have half a dozen starters or more at high A and AA from the last two draft classes that are rising through the system at two levels a year. I don’t buy that the Cubs don’t have talent. They do.
3. Are the Cubs Going to Be In On Bryce Harper?
In the winter, most definitely. Now, not so much. All it is going to take to get him in the winter is money and the Cubs brand. If the Cubs were to acquire him today, the cost would be substantial in terms of prospects and maybe some major league talent. In addition, other teams can offer better talent packages right now, it is not happening for the Cubs.
4. What If Nothing Happens?
If the Cubs don’t make a deal today, it is not the end of the world. They still have a month to find what they want. However, that player is going to have to clear waivers to come to the Cubs. In other words, it gets a bit harder.
The Cubs don’t need to reinvent the team for the home stretch. They just need to tweak it.
Stay tuned for any trades and analysis later today.
It could be all about nothing, or it might be all about something.