Special Note: I know Crawford is on the DL but this was written assuming he is heathy at the time of trade.
The Chicago Cubs should trade for Carl Crawford!
I know what you are saying “this is not Jim Hendry at the helm” and “the Cubs are trying to develop their own talent and not take on overpriced veterans through trades.” If you are saying this then you have valid points but what if I told you trading for Carl Crawford follows the mold of what the Cubs are trying to do? I know; I just peaked your interest.
The Chicago Cubs under the direction of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer has gone in a direction that I myself thought I would never see. Building a team from a strong foundation (the farm) then adding low cost/high value (cost efficient free agency) and then trading those low/cost high value for prospects and other impact players that strengthens the team for the future. Simply an amazing winning formula the front office has started. But how does that pertain to Carl Crawford? Well to go there we have to look back at some of the moves this front office has made. Recently the Cubs have handed out big money to Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro who both are building blocks but lost in the shuffle is Edwin Jackson who was signed to a long term deal this past off-season. Edwin Jackson is not a front line start but a solid 4/5 guy in any rotation and the front office believed Edwin Jackson could give this current team something for the now and future. Edwin Jackson has been a durable pitcher and that was something the Cubs were lacking in recent years. Edwin Jackson was only 29 years old when he signed which means he fit not only the now but also the future. This is something that I expect to start trending as the foundation continues to rise throughout the farm system when the Cubs wants/needs are more black and white.
This brings me to Carl Crawford and what he provides the Cubs in value for the now and future. Carl Crawford right now is only 31 years old and yes he has yet to live up to the expectations that he was paid for by Theo but a lot of that has been because of injury. But now because of that injury, lower expectations, and bottom of the barrel trade value the Cubs might be in a perfect scenario to buy low on a guy who just 3 years ago batted .307 with 19 homers and 47 SB. Not to mention this year he seems to have bounced back facing NL pitchers on a regular basis batting .301 with a .358 OBP 9 SB in 201 PA. Another reason why he makes sense now is the Cubs are poised to trade a lot of their outfield in July with DeJesus, Soriano, and Schierholtz all very likely candidates to be on the move. Also, just like Edwin Jackson, the Cubs need a staple in the outfield until prospects are ready to fill that void (BJax no longer look favorable). He also fills the big hole in the leadoff spot the Cubs have been missing since Juan Pierre left which is a huge plus. Jorge Soler is a year or more away and Albert Almora is more than 2 years away so adding Crawford for the next 4 years provides insurance and a nice trade chip if he completely bounces back.
The Cubs are in a prime position to pick up Crawford for all the reasons above but another huge reason is the fact the Dodgers are willing to eat a large chunk of money to move him considering the emergence of Puig and their really crowded OF. So you are asking why would the Cubs want Crawford? Even at a price of 4 years $40 million (which is half his contract)? Well there were reports that the Cubs this past offseason were looking for an OF and actively pursued guys like Shane Victorino, BJ Upton, and Michael Bourn. All those players average about 11M-13M a year over the life of their contract. Reports suggest the Cubs could have been bidding close to that figure for these 3 players. Let’s not forget the Cubs are to be rumored to be interested in future free agent Jacoby Ellsbury who is making $9M this year and will likely command well beyond that this offseason and Ellsbury is less than 2 years younger than Crawford.
So if the Cubs have interest in signing Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason and they were active in discussions with Shane Victorino, BJ Upton, and Michael Bourn last offseason wouldn’t they be interested in trading for Carl Crawford at 4 years $40M or less without giving up anything of value in return? Not only do I say they should trade for Carl Crawford but I think front office will at least entertain the idea. They would be crazy not to.
Until Next Time…