The Chicago Cubs have been upgrading their roster in marginal increments this winter season. They’ve additional lesser-regarded gamers on minimal-league discounts, pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgical procedures, and a handful of many others that involve utilityman Daniel Descalso and reliever Brad Brach. But due to apparent finances restrictions, the Cubs have not been in a position to do a great deal extra than nickel-and-dime their way to advancement.
Another way for Theo Epstein to modify his crew would be to make a trade or two, and at this issue you cannot rule it out as a chance. The Cubs are considerably from completely ready to split camp and head into Opening Day. And as luck would have it, there are five gamers at the moment on the energetic roster that could gain from a improve of surroundings.
5. Victor Caratini
Victor Caratini manufactured his key league debut with the Cubs in 2017, playing in 31 video games and accumulating 66 plate appearances as a 23-12 months-aged. He was initially drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2nd spherical of the 2013 draft, again when he was a third baseman. The Braves transformed Caratini to the catcher situation in 2014, and then later dealt him to the Cubs in trade for reliever James Russell and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio.
He was under no circumstances rated in a major-100 prospect record, but numerous watch Caratini as a long run starting off catcher. His bat tasks very well adequate, irrespective of his .238/.303/.317 slash line in 266 plate appearances in the majors. Caratini’s difficulty is that he’s however acquiring his obtaining abilities and would gain greatly from playing just about just about every day. With Willson Contreras blocking him in Chicago, it really is not heading to transpire with the Cubs unless of course they send him down to Triple-A.
The best choice for all associated would be for the Cubs to go obtain a veteran backup catcher with very well-refined framing abilities and then trade Caratini to a crew that can offer him typical playing time.
4. Albert Almora Jr. (or Ian Happ)
This 1 is a bit of a cheat, since it really is two gamers blended into 1. But relocating 1 of these guys would truly be to the gain of both of those of them.
The reason to trade Albert Almora Jr. is heavily predicated on the existence of Ian Happ, and vice versa. Each gamers are younger, talented, and occur with a “top prospect” pedigree. Almora was drafted No. 6 total again in 2013, was rated in the major-100 by Baseball Prospectus five independent times, and reached as large as No. 18 total. Happ, on the other hand, was the No. 9 total draft decide in 2015 and was the No. 54 rated prospect forward of the 2017 time.
You could make the argument that maintaining both of those gamers and finding picky with their playing time would be to the Cubs’ biggest gain. Their abilities are not redundant, which means they both of those could provide a function on the roster in 2019. Almora plays stellar defense, hits for speak to, and crushes remaining-handers whilst giving tiny total energy or plate self-discipline. Happ isn’t really just about the defender that Almora is and strikes out at a large amount, but has hit 39 homers in 875 plate appearances in the massive leagues with a 12.4 % walk amount.
But for the very good of both of those of these gamers in the long-expression, the Cubs must dedicate to acquiring 1 of them. That means giving the other 1 a prospect to play someplace else whilst cashing in on his trade worth in the interim.
3. Mike Montgomery
Talking of guys who ought to have playing time, remaining-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery has to be near the major of the record. He has finished all the things the Cubs have asked of him because being obtained again in 2016, irrespective of whether it be as a typical starting off pitcher, a place starter, a long reliever, a late inning reliever, or even earning his to start with job conserve in the 10th inning of Sport 7 of the Environment Sequence. When it comes to flexibility, Monty has finished it all for the Cubs.
It is really correct that the 29-12 months-aged has a lessen Era as a reliever (3.10) than as a starter (3.81) because arriving in Chicago, but that doesn’t convey to the complete tale. Montgomery has struck out extra batters, walked considerably less batters, and has a lessen FIP (down from 4.24 to 4.03) in the video games he has started out with the Cubs. With an arsenal that consists of a fastball with downward motion, a changeup, and a massive, over-the-major curveball, Montgomery is best-served as a starter.
When the Cubs introduced again Cole Hamels this winter season, it was a apparent information that they would instead have Monty in the bullpen as rotation coverage than move ahead with him as a starter. They could do him a significant favor by buying and selling him to a crew with starting off pitching wants.
2. Tyler Chatwood
Tyler Chatwood could use a trade as very well, but not for the correct very same motives as Montgomery. It is really correct that Chatwood probably will be pushed out of a rotation place, assuming the five Cubs starters forward of him on the depth chart are healthful. Chatwood experienced an awful time in 2018, walking an absurd 8.2 batters for each 9 innings and publishing a 5.30 Era in 103 2/3 innings. But in the two seasons prior with the Colorado Rockies, Chatwood experienced a 4.27 Era in 305 2/3 innings with 4.3 BB/9. That is to say, 2018 is the apparent outlier.
The Cubs are in a rough place with Chatwood. He is extra probably to be pre-2018 Tyler Chatwood after an offseason value of time to correct his broken pitching mechanics, but the crew definitely could not depend on it. The addition of Hamels means that Chatwood is at the moment projected in the Cubs’ bullpen, and that’s not a very good function for him even if his mechanics are mounted. Not to mention, the followers have previously turned on him and it would be exceptionally tough to win them again.
Truth be instructed, the Cubs have been performing all offseason to move Chatwood and the $25.5 million he’s owed over the up coming two seasons. It just isn’t really heading to do the job out for him in Chicago, barring a situation the place he’s pressured into the rotation and instantly flourishes. Will not keep your breath on a trade, but it would be great for both of those sides.
1. Addison Russell
The Cubs have manufactured their share of issues in regards to Addison Russell, but this truly isn’t really about the crew. Soon after his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy, spoke on the history and in-depth the certain mental and physical abuse associated in their marriage, the Cubs could’ve simply just made the decision to non-tender Russell and move on. They didn’t.
Alternatively, they opted to play up using accountability for their function in the course of action by attempting to keep him accountable relocating ahead, a move which the Cubs say was encouraged by industry experts and approved by Reidy. But at any amount, irrespective of whether you believe that that Russell deserves a 2nd prospect or not, it would certainly be extra probably to really transpire if he ended up playing in a different uniform. Even if he works particularly hard to make beneficial modifications – and we’ve observed no actual evidence of this as of nevertheless – Russell will under no circumstances win again the followers he shed in Chicago.