3 Cubs trade scenarios that make too much sense not to happen

Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The decision to become buyers or sellers leaves the Chicago Cubs at a crossroads for the upcoming trade deadline. 

It remains to be seen what direction the Cubs plan on heading for the upcoming trade deadline. They’re currently tied for first place with a 40-33 record, yet there’s a feeling of little to no optimism around the North Side right now.

Most teams in this position would be thrilled to add the missing pieces in hopes of winning a World Series, but Chicago’s ownership and front office has big decisions to make regarding this team’s future. Their biggest stars are set to hit the free-agent market soon. That begs the question of whether or not the Cubs should go all-in for perhaps one final run, or sell high on these players while there is still value left.

Chicago Cubs notable upcoming free agents:

  • Anthony Rizzo (2022 FA)
  • Kris Bryant (2022 FA)
  • Javier Baez (2022 FA)
  • Willson Contreras (2023 FA)

So long as the Cubs manage to stay in or around first place over the next month there’s no reason to sell. Assuming these key players have played a large role in the team’s success, conventional wisdom says there’s no choice but to roll the dice for one last run.

Max Scherzer should be a high priority for the Cubs at the trade deadline.

We’ll get into the Cubs slumping June offense in a moment, but for a large majority of this season their starting rotation has been an issue. Despite a rough start, staff ace Kyle Hendricks has rolled out seven-straight wins and quality starts. The Professor has lowered his ERA to 4.13 across 80.2 innings pitched. No other Cubs starter has an ERA lower than that, and the entire staff has the eighth-highest ERA (4.70) among MLB’s starting staffs.

One veteran arm who could improve their contending odds at a reasonable price is right-hander Max Scherzer.

Scherzer is 36 years old and is due $34.5 million in 2021 before hitting the free-agent market. Acquiring a pitcher at that age and that salary for half a season isn’t a reason to give up any top prospects or high profile players, especially if the Nationals fall far out of the playoff picture.

The three-time Cy Young winner owns a 2.21 ERA, 0.815 WHIP, and a 12.1 K/9 ratio over 77.1 innings this season. Exploring this trade deserves a look, and it’d be a mistake for the Cubs to believe their current rotation is enough for a deep playoff run.