The Chicago Cubs prospects are getting closer and closer to making their impact on the Major League roster especially with the call-up of Javier Baez who joined Arismendy Alcantara in Chicago. Then you have Jorge Soler who is likely to make his Major League debut when rosters expand in September. Then around May of next season there is the anticipation of Kris Bryant being called up to the show. Now a lot of things can happen between now and then such as injuries, trades, players regressing/improving, etc… but if everything goes as planned (like I tweeted last night) this could be the Chicago Cubs roster sometime in May of next season.
1. Alcantara CF
2. Castro SS
3. Rizzo 1st
4. Bryant 3b
5. Baez 2b
6. Soler RF/LF
8. Castillo C
Now the Cubs could go into next season with a Coghlan/Ruggiano platoon in either RF or LF depending on where Soler ends up (I would be totally cool with that). But in the end I do not believe Lake or Sweeney are going to cut it on this roster. I also do not feel Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur, or Josh Vitters fits what the Cubs FO is looking for in their OF. So to me that leaves free agency and trades to acquire an outfielder. Here is a list of 5 guys who I think would fit nicely into the Chicago Cubs outfield next season.
1. Dustin Ackley: Everyone knows how fond of this guy I am. It could be that he is a former top prospect who bats lefty and can play multiple positions. Or it could be that he has a career .290 avg with .397 OBP and a 840 OPS in 1044 PA in the minors which has not translated to the majors making him a low risk/high reward guys that Theo and Jed love. To me it sounds like he needs a change of scenery and I think the Chicago Cubs are the perfect place for him.
2. Nick Markakis: The dude has a team option for next season but the O’s are not sure if they will pick it up or not. Now Markakis is not your tradition power hitting corner OF but with the power that is currently on its way to Wrigley I think the Cubs need a guy to get on base for those power guys; Markakis can do just that! In the tough AL East Nick owns a .359 OBP which would be nice to have in the 2 hole in the lineup. He also will add some pop hitting 10+ homers in every season since his 2006 debut. I really like me some Markakis but he could command more than the Cubs want in terms of a contract.
3. Tori Hunter: A guy who does not really jump off the page as a guy Theo and Jed would go after but he provides something very few do; fantastic veteran leadership! He has constantly been named as one of the best clubhouse guys in baseball and frankly the Cubs need that veteran leader on the team. But lets not forget Hunter is no slouch either owning a career .278 avg with a .334 OBP and 300 career homers plus lets not forget 9 gold gloves. Hunter provides so much both on the field and off he is extremely intriguing to me.
4. Michael Cuddyer: Another aging vet that may have been rejuvenated by the high altitude of Colorado buyt has been on the shelf with a left shoulder fracture. He could be a buy low candidate given his age and injury risk which is right up the FO ally. The other thing that is intriguing is he can play 1st, 3rd, and RF decently and owns a .346 OBP in his 14 year career. He also would look mighty nice in that two hold ahead of Rizzo.
5. Jason Heyward: My favorite trade target is Jason Heyward! He will only be 25 in August and will be a free agent in 2016. Rumors have the Braves shopping him this winter which should be no surprise considering he was linked to a possible Jeff Samardzija deal last year. The big lefty is best suited for LF or RF but can play center. He is a very streaky hitter but that has not stopped him from putting up good numbers in his short 5 year career. He has a .261 avg with a .352 OBP with some up and down power numbers in his career but get him at Wrigley and I see a consistent 20 HR guy. He will likely cost some decent prospects but I think the Cubs could get him without trading one of the “sexy 7”
All in all I believe the Cubs need to add an outfielder this offseason. While getting an outfielder is not as important as lets sayPITCHING. I think adding the right guy can be as important as landing a front line starter.
Until Next Time….