With a slow start to the season, the Chicago Cubs need to make a move. Here are five options Theo Epstein and company must consider.
The coronation of the Chicago Cubs’ dynasty is on hold. Their start has evoked the panic and anxiety of Cubs Nation to kick in like the sky is falling.
If you read any of my preseason articles, I over-predicted how the team would perform. I do not have egg on my face yet, but there is one hurling toward me right now. Not sure I have time to duck, but I will own my role in the hype train.
The question is what does the team need in order to turn this season around? Certainly being at full strength would be nice, given that Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, and Addison Russell have recently enjoyed days off due to minor injuries. But, the starting rotation – four of which were on the MLB’s best rotation last year – has struggled. Jake Arrieta’s velocity has decreased significantly. They also lead the majors in runs allowed in the first inning.
The offense is hitting .236, well below expectations. Kyle Schwarber is not setting the table, and Ben Zobrist has yet to show much of anything. The offense should come around, but it cannot rely on prospects Ian Happ and Jeimer Candelario to carry the load.
There are options to help the team regain their energy. Here are five trades that should be considered.
5. Trade for Gerrit Cole
Looking through the Chicago Cubs’ system and one glaring issue is apparent. There is lack of start pitching depth within the organization. While the top four spots in the major league rotation are fairly set, the number five spot is concerning.
The Cubs attempted to fill the position with Brett Anderson, but after a few poor performances – which he even admitted to – and more injury, the door is open for another starter. Eddie Butler is a reclamation project and performed well in his first big league start this season. Add the issues with Jake Arrieta, and there is a need for a new starter.
Enter Gerrit Cole. If you can’t beat him, trade for him. The Pittsburgh Pirates should be sellers come the July trade deadline. Injury and a major suspension are forcing the Pirates’ front office to unfold the white flag. They have needs, and the Cubs have players to fill those needs.
Cole is signed through the end of this season and is arbitration eligible next year. His performance may push him into a realm of cost the Pirates can handle. With major contracts coming off the Cubs’ ledger at the end of this year, they do have that room. But, are they willing to give up Albert Almora Jr.? Or Jeimer Candelario and Dylan Cease? The Pirates are sure to ask for a high price for their best starter and from a division rival. It is worth investigating if you are the Cubs.