Is Kyle Tucker an option for Cubs if there is no Bellinger?
Rich Storry - USA Today Sports

Is Kyle Tucker an option for Cubs if there is no Bellinger?


by - Senior Writer -

Don't look now, but in just a few short days, pitchers and catchers will report to Mesa, Arizona, signaling the start of Spring Training. That will be followed by the first Spring Training game 11 days later as baseball season is officially back. After the season the Cubs had in 2023 and the addition of Craig Counsell as their manager, the Cubs entered the offseason with as much anticipation as anyone but have had a relatively quiet offseason.

Sure, the Cubs added Shota Imanaga and Hector Neris via free agency while trading for Michael Busch with a bevy of minor league free-agent moves, but some questions still need to be answered. The biggest question remains whether this team will make one more massive move heading into spring.

Cody Bellinger remains the center of attention when it comes to the Cubs, but you're now starting to hear Jordan Montgomery as a possibility should the Cubs and Bellinger not reach an agreement. Either of them would be a massive upgrade and give the Cubs a better roster heading into the season.

As things sit right now, the Cubs are talented enough to contend for a playoff spot again, but contending and making the playoffs are different. They are a few pieces away from being a serious contender in the National League, and that isn't what the Cubs and their fans expected heading into the offseason. Unless the Cubs land Bellinger, Mike Tauchman, and Pete Crow-Armstrong are the CFs right now, that might not cut it right now.

Sure, PCA has all the potential in the world to be a stud, but he is unproven and far from being a regular in this league. Tauchman is coming off a career season, so there are questions about whether he can duplicate that success. Knowing that, the Cubs may consider adding another CF via the trade market, and the name Kyle Tucker comes to mind as a logical option to help this team.

It's no secret that the Cubs have one of the best farm systems in the game, and a lot of their future success will come from that system, but at some point you will have to part ways with some of that talent to add talent. Getting Tucker would allow you to do that without having to break the bank. Houston will face some tough decisions, one of them being Tucker, and the Cubs have the young pieces the Astros would covet in a trade.

Unless your name is PCA, Cade Horton, or even Owen Caissie and Matt Shaw, all options could be on the table for the Cubs in a trade, including Kevin Alcantara, Alexander Canario, and Ben Brown. All seven of those names are expected to play massive roles in the Cubs future success, but some could be dealt for talent as the Cubs have the core pieces to contend.

Adding a 27-year-old Tucker would not only speed up the timeline to contend, but he would fit their short and long-term frames to make the Cubs a consistent contender. You also have to look at Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki's contracts, which may be under control through 2026 but are on tradeable deals and could be added to any other package.

Another thing that makes this scenario much more realistic than many would expect is that the Cubs don't have much long-term money invested outside of Dansby Swanson, so they'll have more than enough money to give Tucker whatever he wants while also having the ability to add more pieces around him to be competitive.

When you look at Tucker's career, he broke into the league in 2018, but in the 2021 season, he started to break out. After playing in 108 games in his first three seasons, combining to hit .244 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs, it was the 2021 season when he finally started to show what he could do and has never looked back. In that season, he played in 140 games, hitting a career-best of .294 and a career-high of 30 home runs and 92 RBIs.

One year later, he saw his average dip to .257, but with 30 homers and 107 RBIs, Tucker continued to improve while adding 25 steals to that line. Then came the 2023 season, which some argue was his best year to date. From an average standpoint, Tucker hit .284, which brings his average to .279 across the past three seasons. His 29 home runs fall right in line with what he did in 2021 and 2022, but with a career-high 112 RBIs, and he has been averaging 104 RBIs over his last three seasons.

He also continued to display the speed element of his game as he picked up a career-high 30 steals this past season, 55 steals the past two seasons, and close to 80 steals the past three. Those are all numbers the Cubs would love to have in their lineup, and for a guy about to enter his prime as a player, why not do what you need to do in order to build around him and your current roster?

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