Five potential trade targets for the Cubs

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by - Staff Writer -
Dee Gordon is an exciting player (Bruce Kluckhohn - USA Today Sports)
Dee Gordon is an exciting player (Bruce Kluckhohn - USA Today Sports)

As the Cubs head to Cincinnati and look to go on a run before the All-Star Game which will at the least feature Willson Contreras and Javier Baez, it is clear this team is not entirely where it should be.

The Cubs still sit in first place of the NL Central despite playing .500 baseball in June. Whether or not you think this is a testament to how good the team truly is and once they go on a run they will separate themselves in the division, or you believe the Cubs are squandering their chance at running away with the division it is clear the Cubs need to play better baseball.

Joe Maddon repeated in several different ways versions of “we need to be better” over the past week. Whether it be the lack of walks, the uptick in strikeouts, the inability to manufacture a run without the long ball, making base running miscues or simply not being able to score runs when runners are on base the Cubs have had some issues offensively.

As the Cubs’ pitching staff is in the midst of a significant cleanse (the arrival of Craig Kimbrel, return from injury from Kyle Hendricks and Carl Edwards Jr.) here are five trade targets for the Cubs as they approach the trade deadline and the final stretch of the season.

Dee Gordon Mariners 2B/OF: The Cubs’ need for not only a reliable second baseman or outfielder (especially one who hits from the left side of the plate) has shown over the past month with Daniel Descalso and Carlos Gonzalez struggling mightily. Gordon could also slide right into the leadoff spot and provide elite speed and on-base skills to set the table for a Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Contreras and then Schwarber. The Mariners have been bad this season and will be looking to move Gordon, and the price should not be very steep.

Nick Castellanos Detroit OF: Castellanos would provide the Cubs with a versatile hitter who plays above average defense in the corner outfield positions; he looks to be a likely candidate to be traded off of a Tigers’ squad on pace to lose 100+ games. Coming off of a year in which he batted close to .300 with 23 homers and 89 RBIs he has struggled in 2019. With only seven homers to date, Castellanos could be a valuable acquisition that would come at a cheap price. It is likely that Castellanos may not play every day, but could undoubtedly hit for better average/power than Carlos Gonzalez and Albert Almora as the 3rd or 4th outfielder.

Will Smith Giants LHP: Smith looks to be a prime candidate to be traded from a bad Giants team. Smith is a traditional left-handed specialist, something they certainly lack. With an ERA below two, Smith would slide right into high leverage situations easily in Joe Maddon’s pen, and serve a role the Cubs seem to desperately need as both Kyle Ryan and Mike Montgomery have been worse against lefties than righties this season.

Sean Doolittle Nationals CP: Doolittle has been linked to the Cubs for years now, and should the Nationals decide to sell Doolittle will serve a lot of value. Although the Cubs need a left-handed pitcher, they could probably find one at a lower price than the National’s closer. With the Dodgers, Braves, and Brewers all also looking for left-handed pitching help, it couldn’t hurt for the Cubs to get a guy who could make their bullpen the best in the league rather than letting him go to a team where he could hurt them come October. The left-hander already has 17 saves, but would most likely serve a set up/ specialist role with the Cubs because of Craig Kimbrel being the closer. Doolittle may not be cheap, but it sure looks like a high reward move.

Whit Merrifield Royals 2B: Merrifield presents the best possible option for the Cubs. In Merrifield, the Cubs would find an everyday leadoff man, a reliable second baseman, near .300 batter, a guy with plus on-base skills and a speedster on the basepaths. Merrifield hit over .300 last year and is currently over that mark this year as well. Stolen bases are also a considerable part of Whit’s game, a category in which the Cubs sit near the bottom of the MLB in. Merrifield would seemingly solve all of the Cubs offensive problems, and their lineup would look like this 1-7:

Merrifield
Bryant
Rizzo
Baez
Contreras
Schwarber
Heyward
Almora/Bote/Gonzalez/Descalso

Which looks elite (not doing 8-9 because of the potential platoon options)

WHO WOULD THEY TRADE: As stated in a few articles already, the Cubs for once have quality pitching depth they could dip into to trade. Whether it be Mike Montgomery, Brad Brach, Kyle Ryan or a minor leaguer like Dillon Maples or Alec Mills or even a huge prospect like Adbert Alzolay the Cubs have many options to choose from. Offensively the Cubs could trade Addison Russell or Ian Happ or prospects like Nico Hoerner, Robel Garcia or Miguel Amaya. The Cubs could even pull off a more shocking move in trading Albert Almora or Kyle Schwarber as they are trying to upgrade and improve as Theo has said they are looking for production over potential.

The Cubs’ plan of attack will unfold in front of our eyes over the next few weeks, but as our speculation may become true - you can have a preview of what these guys could bring to your favorite team.

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Tags: Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks, Daniel Descalso, Kyle Ryan, Mike Montgomery, Dillon Maples, Alec Mills, Adbert Alzolay, Addison Russell, Ian Happ, Robel Garcia, Miguel Amaya, Kyle Schwarber, Tommy La Stella, Joe Maddon
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