With Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry having limited resources to spend on free agents, the expectation is that he will be very active in the trade market. The Cubs biggest need is for a power hitting first baseman, and they have targeted Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres as their top priority. However, if for some reason the Cubs fail to acquire Gonzalez, they may turn their attention to Chris Davis. As, Bruce Levine reports that the Cubs and Rangers are in trade discussions regarding Ranger’s first baseman Chris Davis.
Davis, 25, is a stereotypical power hitter. In his first two seasons, Davis had 18 home runs in 80 games in 2008, and 21 home runs in 2009. However, Davis fell off the map this year, as he had an average of .192 with only 1 home run in 45 games this season. Davis spent the bulk of this time this year in triple A, where he hit .327/.383/.520 with 14 home runs in 444 plate appearances. Another concern over Davis is that for his career, he strike’s out 34.5% of the time. For the record, Adam Dunn on his career strikes out 32.8% of the time.
The Cubs and Rangers appear to have a match when it comes to making trades. We already know that the Cubs have a need for a first baseman, and the Rangers have a need for a catcher. The Cubs actually have good catchers that are close to being major league ready, one being Wellington Castillo and the other being Robinson Chirinos.
The Cubs actually saw a small glimpse of Wellington Castillo, as he saw playing time in late September when Geovany Soto had surgery, which ended his season. In 21 plate appearances, Castillo hit .300/.333/.650 with one home run. While in triple A-Iowa this season, Castillo hit .255/.317/.498 with 13 home runs and 59 RBI’s in 272 plate appearances. As for his future with the Cubs, the front office is not too high on Castillo, but he is still in line to be the primary backup to Geovany Soto next season.
Though, many scouts have rated Robinson Chirinos as the better prospect over Castillo. The expectation is that Chirinos is still another year away, but his numbers in minors this past season would say otherwise. Chirinos began the year with the Double A Smokies, and produced a line of .314/.409/.576 with 13 home runs in 318 plate appearances. The Cubs then moved Chirinos up to Triple A- Iowa, where he had 62 plate appearances and consummated a line of .345/.419/.582.
Obviously, the Chicago Cubs are not going to pull the trigger on a Chris Davis trade, until the Adrian Gonzalez situation is resolved. Bleacher Nation reports that the Cubs are continuing their efforts in trying to trade for Gonzalez. The report mentions that the Cubs and Padres may include a third team, possibly the Rangers, and Josh Vitters would have to be involved.
Whether or not the Cubs get Gonzalez, is a different story. As, many consider the Red Sox to be the favorites to land Gonzalez. In the end, I do not think that Gonzalez will be traded this winter. However, there is a strong chance that Gonzalez will be traded at some point during next season.
Assuming the Cubs do not acquire Gonzalez, I think they should complete the trade for Chris Davis. While Davis did struggle this season, the risk on him is no different than the risk of the mid-tier free agent first basemen. Also, by trading for Davis, that would allow Jim Hendry to use his resources on signing a veteran starting pitcher.