3 trade deadline moves that could save the Cubs season

David Ross, Chicago Cubs. (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
David Ross, Chicago Cubs. (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

2) A lot that needs to happen for the Cubs trading for Max Scherzer, but it’s not impossible

As great as Nationals starter Max Scherzer has been throughout his career and this season, he might not require unloading a farm system of top prospects to acquire.

That of course depends on a few things. The first being where Washington sits at the trade deadline. They’ve won eight of their last 10 contests, and are just two games behind first place in the NL East. As long as they hover around the playoff mix, there’s no reason to trade their best piece.

However, should the unforeseen occur and the Nationals fall off over the next four weeks, the team will begin shopping Scherzer.

The 36-year-old will make $34.5 million in 2021, the final year of his current contract. He is also scheduled for deferred payments of $15 million every year from 2022-2028, similar to the Bobby Bonilla deal. The Nationals aren’t going to find many teams willing to part ways with their best future assets plus paying a significant portion of his remaining deal. If Scherzer was younger and had more years of control remaining that might be the case, but it isn’t.

This is where the Cubs would have to do something they haven’t of late: open their wallets.

Chicago doesn’t have a top-rated farm system, nor do they have big-league ready players ready to send Washington in exchange for this deal. Maybe Nico Hoerner and/or Ian Happ plus other minor leaguers could get it done, but it’s not something the Cubs should consider for half a season of Scherzer.

Instead, Chicago will need to bite the bullet and take on a majority of his contract for lesser-regarded prospects. There’s almost too many factors that need to go right for a trade like this to happen, including Scherzer waving his no-trade clause, but it’s not impossible to pull off.