Contreras will likely be traded at the trade deadline (Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports)
Contreras will likely be traded at the trade deadline (Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports)

CubsHQ Mailbag: Trade deadline, Rotation the final two months


by - Staff Writer -

The Cubs are nearing the end of June and have a curious case for the rest of the season. We at CubsHQ decided to poll some of our fans for questions to answer as the season continues.

Will the Cubs be sellers at this years’ trade deadline? YES YES YES

There comes a time every season for each MLB team to decide what to do at the trading deadline. Some teams are obvious buyers — or contenders — like the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, or Astros, who are in first place in their division and are hunting for World Series Championships. Then there are the obvious sellers, like the Orioles or the Tigers or some of the league's other bottom feeders. The Cubs, despite what many fans want, fall into that category of sellers this season?

Whether or not Jed Hoyer labels the current state of the Cubs as rebuilding is one thing, but the decisions he has been making, mixed with the production in the win/loss column, indicate a rebuild is in full swing. It started with trading away Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini for four prospects before the 2021 season. It was blown into smithereens when the Cubs shipped away ten players at the 2021 trade deadline — including Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez. What do rebuilding teams do? They trade their aging assets for young prospects and prepare for the next wave of talent to produce the next good team. So, all signs point to the Cubs shopping most anybody on their roster. Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and David Robertson are names popping up in rumors thus far — but Marcus Stroman, Patrick Wisdom, or even Kyle Hendricks could pop up as players whose days playing for the Cubs may be numbered.

Rotation for the final two months?

It doesn't matter who is on the Cubs roster; they will need people to pitch. So far this season, the Cubs have had a multitude of pitchers start ball games. Kyle Hendricks newly acquired Marcus Stroman, veterans Drew Smyly and Wade Miley, as well as youngsters Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, Caleb Killian, and Matt Swarmer, have all started more than two games for the Cubs. The Cubs' priority is hanging on to young talent, so you can book Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele in the rotation throughout the end of the season. I imagine a healthy Smyly and Miley likely get dealt at the trade deadline. It is far more complicated for Kyle Hendricks and Marcus Stroman.

Hendricks is the Cubs' longest-tenured pitcher and has pitched in some of the franchise's biggest games — he means so much to the clubhouse and the development of young pitchers. He has tremendous value, but he has not been pitching to his potential for most of 2022 — so not only is he a difficult player to trade he also does not have extremely high trade value. However, he has control through next season, so that a team would have Hendricks for more than the close of this season.

Stroman has just inked a large three-year contract which was supposed to indicate the Cubs rebuild was going to be fast — but he has been far from an ace this season. But his deal is an attractive one, and Stroman assuredly has some good seasons left, so we will see.

Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele have been two of the most consistent and effective pitchers for the Cubs in 2022, and I imagine they will be joined by Kyle Hendricks and Marcus Stroman in the starting rotation throughout the end of the year. That fifth spot would likely serve as a tryout roll for Matt Swarmer, Mark Leiter Jr., Caleb Kilian, Alec Mills, and Adrian Sampson to see what the Cubs have for the future. Adbert Alzolay has missed the entire season thus far with injury, and it would be nice to see him potentially pitch down the stretch if he is healthy.

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