Updated: Jul 17, 2019
July 31st marks the new, single, trade deadline for major league baseball, unlike past years where if you screwed up in July, you could redeem yourself in August. Not so anymore. Now you have to decide, am I a buyer or seller, and hope you guessed right.
I am going to assume the Cubs will not have a catastrophic collapse between now and the end of the month, and so they are going to be buyers. Of course you have to have someone to trade with you, and in order for that to happen you have to have someone they want.
According to MLBTradeRumors.com the Cubs are looking for a lefty out of the pen, a professional hitter, preferably a leadoff hitter, and anyone else that can put them over the top for this year. Sourcing Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago/670 The Score, and Tom Musnick of the Chicago Sun-Times, MLB Trade Rumors says the Cubs are interested in the following bodies.
In no particular order, for position players/leadoff hitters, Whit Merrifield, David Peralta, Dee Gordon, Jonathan Villar, Freddy Galvis, Eric Sogard, Kyle Calhoun, and Nicholas Castellanos. Think of these guys at Daniel Descalso 2.0. Veteran players who's best years might be behind them but could find that last little spark that leads the team to a championship.
Of the bunch Castellanos and Villar are the most affordable but not always the most consistent which is a prime requirement for the Cubs. In fact, none of the above except Merrifield are consistent and Merrifield would cost the Cubs three controllable big league ready players. I'm not sure the Cubs have three.
As for lefty pitchers, names being tossed around include Will Smith (The Fresh Prince?!?!), Tony Watson, Jake Dickman, Roenis Elias, and Andrew Chafin. Which one of those guys gives you goosebumps? The Giants want a trainload of prospects and some major leaguers for their two guys, Smith and Watson.
So there are the names to watch for in the next two plus weeks. One or more of them could be wearing Cubbie blue shortly and will be expected to be above average. The next question, of course, is who will the Cubs move to get them?
Ian Happ is for sure going to get moved. He was sent to AAA to regain his consistency at the plate and so far not so good. He has three great games and then two bad weeks. He is striking out more than he did in Chicago and swinging at more pitches than ever before.
The Cubs would love to find someone to take Addison Russell, Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Daniel Descalso, and/or Mike Montgomery off their hands but two of them are owed too much, one has issues, and two are awful. Not exactly high trade values for other teams.
Randy Rosario, Taylor Davis, and Mark Zagunis are other 40 man roster types likely to be moved too. As for prospects, the only untouchables in the Cubs system are Nico Hoerner, Miguel Amaya, Brailyn Marquez, and Adbert Alzolay, and if the price was right I'm not sure any of them are untouchable.
So, what do I think will happen?
I think Happ & Rosario get packaged for Castellanos and a PTBNL, and Kyle Schwarber, Montgomery, and a prospect go to San Francisco for Tony Watson and a prospect. Or not.
Mike Montgomery was traded, to the Kansas City Royals for Martin Maldonado.