I would like the Cubs to trade for 1 of these 5 players before the 2015 season starts. Note these players have been on the rumor trade block within the past year or so. The Cubs are going to eventually have to make their Jayson Werth acquisition where they take on a big contract, trade for a guy in line for a contract, or pay out a big contract to a free agent. The free agency does not look very good next season so I think capitalizing on a trade is the route they are going to have to take to receive an impact player.
1. Carlos Gonzalez: He is by far my top pick because all the tools he provides and he is under the age of 30. He is still under his large contract of 7 years 80M and set to become a free agent in 2018. It is a gamble taking on such a big contact but you never have to worry about him leaving for free agency until 2018. You do worry about his trade cost though. I still think the Cubs can get him without Baez or Bryant.
2. Giancarlo Stanton: Not eligible for free agency until 2017 but he will get expensive quick since he is making $6.5M in his first year of arbitration. His knees are troublesome but his power is not. He is a close 2ndbehind Cargo and his trade value maybe even higher. He will be really hard to get away from Miami.
3. Jason Heyward: He may have the lowest trade value considering the decline in numbers at the plate but that should not scare off anyone considering he is a left-handed power bat who can play gold glove defense in RF. Oh and did I mention the fact he is only 24 years old. His contract could be worrisome because he is eligible for free agency in 2016 but Heyward is the kind of guy you don’t let get away. I think the Braves will end up trading him especially since they are re-upping their superstars to mega deals except for Heyward who is only on a two year deal worth $13.3M. I think the Cubs can get Heyward for a lower end top 10 prospect in their system. I could see a guy like Alacantra be on the move to the Braves in a Heyward deal.
4. Matt Kemp: The Dodgers have an outfield issue on where to play 4 high price athletes in 3 outfield positions. Now I understand these things kind of work themselves out but the Dodgers could capitalize on this unfortunate problem by trading one of them. The player that makes the most sense is Matt Kemp since he has the most upside and he is still on the right side of 30. Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford are both older, on the decline, and owed more money than they are worth. Puig…no way he is traded! Matt Kemp on the other hand still has value which they could capitalize on. The other thing that may force the Dodgers hand is outfield prospect Joc Pederson who is killing it in AAA. To me this makes a ton of sense for the Cubs to get their Jayson Werth. They will be taking on a huge contact on a guy likely not worth that kind of money. But they need a youngish veteran player on this team and apart of the core. He fills that plus we all know his upside of a possible 30/30 guy is really obtainable if he remains healthy. There is a huge gamble here especially since his contract is big and his trade cost will be comparable Heyward or maybe even a little more. This would be a do or die deal for the Cubs but I think it is a chance they are willing to take.
5. Matt Wieters: He is the last guy on my list but could have a big impact as well. A left-handed bat that will hit 20+ homers at the catcher position is hard to come by. The knock against Wieters is of course he is represented by Boras and will be a free agent in 2016. His cost should remain high as well but not as high as anyone else on this list. Wieters is also a solid backstop which makes acquiring him even more intriguing. I am not saying by any means that I am not happy with Castillo but I do have doubts on whether he is the catcher of the future for the Chicago Cubs.
In the end I think the Cubs are in a good position if they deal for any of these 5 players. I think a guy like Carlos Gonzalez would have the most impact but I also think he would be the hardest to pry away. I think trading for a guy like Kemp or Heyward would be the most likely given the contract status of the players and the risk involved in the deal for the Cubs. Giancarlo Stanton is the least likely to happen because of this asking price and the desire to get a long term deal done in Miami. While Matt Wieters maybe the less sexiest option out of the 5 he also has the lowest risk. Each deal has its pros and cons but when it comes down to it which one of these players will become the Cubs “Jayson Werth?”
Until Next Time…