The Chicago Cubs entered Sunday’s action with a 34-51 record and 13.5 games out of first place in the National League Central. Despite some positives, there’s no real hope of contention in the Windy City this season.
It’s led to widespread speculation that the Cubs could be in full-scale fire sale moade ahead of the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline.
Jon Heyman of the NY Post is the latest to suggest that front office head Jed Hoyer will move out some veteran players in order to help continue to build the Cubs’ farm system. Below, we look at three such players who could be moved.
Chicago Cubs sell high on closer David Robertson
Signed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract back in March after major struggles with injuries over the past three seasons, Robertson has more than returned to form. He’s been among the best closers in baseball this season.
- David Robertson stats (2022): 2-0 record, 2.10 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 12 saves
A number of contending teams would certainly have interest in someone of Robertson’s ilk given his previous track record and the success we’ve seen this season. A trade of the 37-year-old reliever would likely net Chicago two prospects with the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox being two teams to watch.
Chicago Cubs trade Willson Contreras
This multi-time All-Star catcher will likely be Chicago’s biggest trade chip leading up to the deadline. Contreras, 30, is having himself another banner season. He entered Sunday’s action hitting .270 with 13 homers and 35 RBI while boasting an .877 OPS.
A pending free agent, it makes perfect sense for Chicago to move off the 30-year-old backstop rather than vie for his services in what will be a robust market for the catcher.
Chicago has three catchers ranked within its top 30 prospects, per MLB.com. Unfortunately, none of them are close to ready for the bigs. Moving off Contreras would likely mean relying on fellow veteran Yan Gomes for the remainder of the 2022 season.
From there, the Cubs could sign a cheaper alternative to Contreras or bring back Gomes. Either way, moving off their starting catcher would net the Cubs a huge haul. Perhaps, the New York Mets could come calling. Their catchers have struggled big time. They also have a whole host of prospects that might interest Chicago, including top catching prospect Francisco Álvarez or outfielder Alex Ramirez.
Related: Updated MLB trade rumors
Chicago Cubs move off Ian Happ
A fixture in Chicago’s lineup since 2017, Happ will enter his final year of arbitration in 2023 before hitting free agency the following winter. It would be hard sell for Cubs fans who have grown to love what Happ brings to the table. But it’s a trade that makes perfect sense.
Happ, 27, has played primarily left field for the Cubs this season. Their top prospect Brennen Davis could easily take over following the tade deadline. While the former second-round pick has struggled in Triple-A Iowa this season and likely won’t return from injury until August, it’s time for him to get a cup of coffee in the Majors. It’s also important to note that trading Happ would net the Cubs a whole lot in return.
- Ian Happ stats (2022): .277 average, 8 HR, 40 RBI, .821 OPS
We’re talking two top-20 prospects from another organization with a ton of teams likely being in the market. Given that Happ is under team control for the 2023 season, that’s magnified further. Pure conjecture here, but the New York Yankees could make sense with someone like Double-A catcher Austin Wells being a potential target for Chicago.