Cubs trade targets to upgrade 2024 roster
Dan Hamilton - USA Today Sports

Cubs trade targets to upgrade 2024 roster


by - Staff Writer -

This story has an interesting topic because we will be breaking down players the Cubs could try to trade for ahead of next month’s trade deadline. However, as the Cubs have just won a three-game series for the first time in over a month — plenty of Cubs fans and media members might expect this team to sell if things don’t turn around quickly.

The Cubs are not constructed well to sell, as they were in 2021-2023. Because of last season’s hot streak, this team is built to win with a core of players under contract for the foreseeable future.

If Cody Bellinger opts into the next year on his deal, there isn’t a single player in the Cubs’ regular lineup who is scheduled to be a free agent this season or next.

So, the Cubs need to explore ways to improve. Jed Hoyer even told 670 The Score, “We’ll be on the lookout for all sorts of upgrades.”

So, let’s examine where some of those upgrades might be and who the Cubs could be targeting:

CATCHER TARGETS

This is one of the most glaring issues the Cubs have on their roster. The Cubs’ tandem of Yan Gomes and Miguel Amaya rank bottom three in baseball in almost every offensive statistic as a group. They have also been awful at keeping runners at bay on the base baths. These guys constantly run the Cubs out of innings offensively and struggle to stop runners on the other side of the ball — an upgrade is definitely needed. The Cubs made a step toward upgrading on Wednesday, signing free agent catcher Tomas Nido and designating Gomes for assignment.

Elias Diaz (Colorado): Due to being a free agent after the season, Diaz fits the bill of a perfect catcher target at the trade deadline. He is currently on the 10-day IL but is hitting .303 on the season with 28 RBI on the year — leaps and bounds better than what the Cubs have gotten out of their catcher spot. Not to mention, Diaz is no slouch behind the plate either, already with 11 caught stealing in 2024.

Danny Jansen (Toronto): Arguably the game’s most valuable backup, Danny Janson may be available at the deadline this season. An Illinois native, Jansen has been a competent backup catcher for the Blue Jays — hitting ten or more home runs in the last four full seasons. Since the Blue Jays have Alejandro Kirk locked up through 2026, perhaps the Cubs will take a swing at Jensen.

Shea Langeliers (Oakland): Langeliers is not a free agent until 2029, but Oakland has been no stranger to trades lately. While his batting average isn’t excellent, he hit 22 homers last season and has already clubbed 13 in 2024. The Cubs would undoubtedly get a boost at the dish and behind it if they could make a move for Langeliers.

CORNER INFIELD TARGETS

The Cubs have gotten underwhelming production from their corner infield spots, especially in the slugging department. While a lot can be attributed to bad luck, the Cubs need to have some thump in this lineup, especially out of those positions — and they may target it at the trade deadline.

Pete Alonso (Mets): Alonso has been rumored to be on the Cubs’ list of targets for quite some time now. Alonso, a two-time home run derby champ, provides the slug that this Cubs lineup has been missing during this tough stretch. He already has hit 16 home runs the season and has driven in 42 runs — both would be top marks in the Cubs lineup.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays): Probably option A; Guerrero Jr. might not be available. As the son of a Hall of Fame baseball player, Vlad Jr. has had a lot of expectations on him—and he has lived up to them. Guerrero has been an elite combination of power and contact since his debut and has three all-star appearances and a gold glove to show for it. He is currently hitting .278 with seven homers and 30 RBI for Toronto.

Josh Bell (Marlins): Bell has been a thorn in the Cubs’ side as he has bounced around between the Pirates, Nationals, Padres, Guardians, and now the Marlins. Bell, a switch hitter, has been a trade deadline acquisition in the past two seasons and provides a valuable bat at either 1B or DH. While he doesn’t have the power of Alonso or the contact of Guerrero Jr — he would be a more affordable, serviceable option at a position of need for the Cubs. He is currently hitting .247 with seven homers and 32 runs driven in this year and is due to be a free agent at the end of the season.

Alex Bregman (Astros): One of the cornerstones of the team of the last decade, Bregman has been a staple of Houston’s success since his debut in 2016. When healthy, you can book Bregman for an average of near .280, 25+ homers, and 90+ RBI — numbers the Cubs would love to get out of the third base spot. Mix that with above-average defense at third base, and you have a dream target for Chicago — if Houston makes him available. It’s unknown whether or not the Astros will even be selling, and Bregman is due to be a free agent at the end of the season.

Justin Turner (Blue Jays): Another Cub killer, Turner, has been the subject of Cubs rumors since leaving the Dodgers after 2022. A strong average hitter with some pop, Turner has been an above-average bat at third base for over a decade. He might not necessarily scare you, but he has been known to come up with big hit after big hit and provides a lot of value in the clubhouse. He will be a free agent after the season.

RELIEF PITCHING TARGETS

It is no secret that the Cubs need help in the bullpen. The Cubs have had 16 blown saves this season. They’ve had six different pitchers record a save and almost a similar mark of pitchers who have blown a save — a glaring hole, so the Cubs will look to the trade deadline to improve their bullpen.

It’s hard to pinpoint targets because the relief pitching market moves like crazy. In just 2021-2022, the Cubs traded Craig Kimbrel, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, Scott Effross, David Robertson, Mychal Givens, and Chris Martin at the deadline and have seen some of the returns already pay off (Ben Brown, Hayden Wesneski).

The top of the market is typically closers on bad teams (Mason Miller, A’s, 13 saves, 2.14 ERA), (Kyle Finnegan, Nationals, 21 Saves, 1.72 ERA), (Michael Kopech, White Sox, five saves, 4.75 ERA) whom the Cubs will certainly call on.

But the Cubs could choose to look deeper in a noncontender’s bullpen (Rockies, A’s Marlins, White Sox, Tigers, Angels, etc.) or look to swap with a contender who has plenty of depth (Pirates, Braves, Dodgers, Mariners, Astros, etc.). The Cubs don’t only need a closer; they need all the help they can get, so moves certainly will be made.

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