Judging by their strategy to the offseason this previous winter, the Cubs’ possession and entrance workplace didn’t count on to contend in 2021. Them being close to the highest of the Nationwide League Central division and proudly owning a report seven video games above .500 has been one in all this season’s greatest surprises.
In the event that they plan to maintain making an attempt to contend, they’re ready of want with the commerce deadline simply over a month away. The 2 greatest holes on the roster are within the rotation and at backup catcher.
The irony shouldn’t be misplaced right here.
In December, the Cubs traded Cy Younger runner-up Yu Darvish and backup catcher extraordinaire Victor Caratini to the San Diego Padres. Two guys who would have negated the Cubs’ greatest wants at current.
The Cubs’ beginning rotation ERA (4.54) places them close to the underside third of the league. Darvish’s to this point this season sits at 2.50. The place the Cubs have struggled to get their starters deep into video games, Darvish has solely 4 begins this season the place he hasn’t gone at the least into the sixth inning.
At backup catcher, the Cubs have needed to go to this point into the depth chart that they’re rostering a participant — Jose Lobaton — who final performed within the majors in 2018.
However it’s not as if the crew president Jed Hoyer can go to the Padres and ask for take-backsies. He has to determine methods to tackle his crew’s wants if the plan is absolutely for them to maintain making an attempt to contend.
With that in thoughts, the primary transfer must be at catcher. Willson Contreras is without doubt one of the higher backstops in baseball, however he can’t begin each sport. As it’s, he’s main baseball in innings caught this season by shut to twenty innings.
On this entrance, the Cubs have tried plucking from the waiver wire and from inside the group, however with out success due to harm and lack of manufacturing. They could should make a barely bolder transfer, so somebody just like the Pirates’ Jacob Stallings might be an intriguing choice. He’s making $1.3 million this season and underneath crew management by way of 2024, so the spendthrift Cubs may make the transfer largely for money and keep away from dipping into their farm system.
Ideally, the Cubs wouldn’t maintain again in the case of discovering a beginning pitcher to bolster the rotation. Kyle Hendricks has pitched like an ace since a wobbly April, however the Cubs lack for consistency behind him. The very best answer could be to suppose huge and make a commerce for a pitcher who creates a 1-2 punch with Hendricks, however that’s not more likely to be Hoyer’s strategy.
As an alternative, they’ll enhance the rotation considerably by searching for choices who can fill in behind Hendricks, Zach Davies, and Adbert Alzolay. Right here, somebody like Rockies starter Jon Grey would slot in properly. Grey is having a stable season, proudly owning a 3.97 ERA in 13 begins. He’s incomes $6 million from Colorado this season and an unrestricted free agent in 2022, so the Cubs may view him as a rental or discover an extension. And at that value, he is also had for a cash-centric deal in order that the Cubs may enhance with out affecting their prospect depth.
Although in the course of the winter the Cubs seemed like certain sellers come July, the discuss of late from the higher-ups inside the group is that they are going to look so as to add within the coming weeks. They’ve stayed simply 1 1/2 video games behind the Brewers of their division regardless of a brutal June schedule, so until issues take a nasty flip within the close to future, the Cubs can be shopping for within the coming weeks.