The Chicago Cubs have surprised many with their first half of the season so far. Expected to be somewhat of “sellers” after dealing Yu Darvish in the offseason and not giving extensions to Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, fans on the North Side were on edge entering the season.
Now, the Cubs are 37-27, tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for first in the NL Central and five games clear of both the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. The start to the year has already exceeded what many thought David Ross’ club would do, and now the Cubs need to build onto it. They have become a team that needs to legitimately add instead of subtract as the MLB Trade Deadline nears.
Here are the best three trade targets for the Cubs as the MLB Trade Deadline approaches.
Why not think big? The Nationals are a mess (26-35, last place in the NL East) and just aren’t contenders this year. This could lead D.C. to selling at the deadline.
The issue currently is Scherzer exited his last start with a groin injury. Depending on the severity, the Cubs should continue to monitor his sitaution.
Scherzer has been up to his normal dominant self, posting an ERA of 2.21 in 13 starts while also having a K/9 of 12.1. Bluntly, Scherzer has been dominant again and has been so quietly as the Nationals have sputtered.
Adding Scherzer would give the Cubs the stopper they need in their rotation. They had one in Yu Darvish, but made the option to trade him this past offseason in a salary dump move. Now, the Cubbies are contenders in 2021, flipping the script on whatever plans were previously in place by the front office.
Putting Scherzer along with Kyle Hendricks as a 1-2 punch would immediately boost the Cubs’ rotation and provide them with a lot more stability.
This is one of the more fascinating names to follow along with at the MLB Trade Deadline.
The Minnesota Twins have underachieved beyond belief this year and now they are stuck with a roster that has plenty of aging talent like Nelson Cruz and Josh Donaldson, and young talent like Jose Berrios and Byron Buxton. What the Twins do at the deadline and how much they opt to move could dictate the entire narrative of this MLB Trade Deadline.
Berrios has been a stud atop the rotation for Minnesota yet again and if he opts to not want to stick around by passing on an extension with the Twins, the Cubs should dive right into the mix.
It would cost a good amount of prospects to acquire Berrios but, the Cubs could perhaps sweeten the pot with some more “MLB ready” talent being mixed into the equation as well.
The problem with the Cubs right now is if everyone is being honest, their front office thought they’d be selling at the deadline. Kris Bryant’s name has popped up in trade rumors the last two years. They couldn’t agree on an extension with Rizzo in the offseason and it sounded like the offers were lowballing the Cubs’ fan favorite. And Baez is an impending free agent as well with little to no whispers of what the Cubs plan on doing with him.
Chicago fully expected to be able to sell and build up the farm system. Now, they’re in first place 64 games into the season.
Adding Berrios would be massive and he has a couple years of team control left on his deal as well. The righty mixes his nasty slurve with a mid 90’s fastball that has fooled opposing batters all year long.
Minnesota will likely be the director of how crazy the trade deadline ends up getting. If the Cubs were able to snag Berrios, it gives them something close to a stopper and he’d immediately be either the No. 1 or No. 2 option in the Cubs rotation.
Like the Twins, the Detroit Tigers aren’t contending in 2021. They have a few names that could provide solid returns at the MLB Trade Deadline.
One of those is their left starter, Matthew Boyd.
Unlike Scherzer and Berrios, it won’t cost a whole lot to acquire Boyd for the Cubs.
The lefty has been up and down for the Tigers this year but there’s a serious question to ponder of how much that has to do with playing for a fizzled out club. A fresh change of scenery could be exactly what Boyd needs, and the Cubs could use a good, middle of the rotation, lefty.
In large part, the Cubs have trotted out five righties most of the season in their starting rotation. Being able to shake that up with a lefty who won’t cost a ton will be a very appealing option for Hoyer and the Chicago front office.
Boyd would likely slot in at No. 3 or No. 4 in the rotation and like Berrios, has team control beyond 2021.
The Chicago Cubs are in a spot the front office didn’t expect them to be in at this point in the season. And that’s 10 games over .500 and in first place in the NL Central. The offense has most of the pieces it needs, the starting pitching needs a facelift. Adding one of these three options could go along ways for the Cubs as they look to cement in a playoff push in the second half of the season.