Chicago Cubs Rumors

Could this package bring Cole Hamels to the Chicago Cubs?

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The Philadelphia Phillies will reportedly seek three top prospects in any trade talks surrounding their left-handed ace Cole Hamels this offseason.

It seems impossible that any team will match their demands and, considering the state of the organization, the Phillies could easily lower their expectations to deal the coveted southpaw in order to inject some much-needed new blood to the organization and shed a very hefty contract. The Cubs seem like a perfect match given they have one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball, making meeting the demands of Ruben Amaro Jr. more feasible should they decide to pursue the 30-year-old.

We don’t know what the Cubs would offer to the Phillies, but if I were in Jed Hoyer’s shoes I’d offer something like this:

Javier Baez – 2B: Although I’m not an advocate to trade Baez and his high ceiling, the truth is that he didn’t look good in his first stint in the Majors and the Phillies are certainly going to ask for one of the top prospects in the farm system. Given the fact that both Addison Russell and Kris Bryant are seemingly untouchable, Baez seems to be the odd man out. He has gotten reps at second, shortstop and third base so he can play virtually anywhere on the infield. His bat will play perfectly at any position and if he can solve his contact issues, he has the potential to hit 35 to 40 home runs a season in his prime. The Cubs can move Arismendy Alcantara back to the infield to man second, although the arrival of Bryant could lead to Luis Valbuena moving to second, thus sending Alcantara back to center field. This, of course, is all taking place while Russell gets more seasoning in the Minors.

Dan Vogelbach – 1B: Vogelbach’s name seems to come up constantly whenever Chicago is rumored to be involved in a potential trade, given the existence of Anthony Rizzo who’s not going anywhere anytime soon. This roadblock to the big leagues seems to be impenetrable for the young slugger, whose defensive skills have been questioned from time-to-time. Vogelbach is a very good hitter and he has shown plenty of positive traits in his minor league career – he can mash the ball, he’s shown patience to take walks and has learned to go the other way, something that will probably help him to sustain a high batting average as he’s also shown a good command of the strike zone.

In 130-plus games with High-A Daytona this season, the 21-year-old infielder slashed .268/.357/.429 with sixteen long-balls and 67 RBIs. However,he  hasn’t had a good showing in the Arizona Fall League and he’s expected to start the year at Double-A Tennessee but if he’s involved in a trade for Hamels, he could potentially be the long-term piece at first to take over once Ryan Howard is moved or retires.

Christian Villanueva – 3B: Many scouts believe he’s the best defender at the hot corner in the whole Cubs system – and that clearly says something. He isn’t too shabby with the bat either but he lacks the power expected from a corner position. That in mind, he has shown the ability to find the gaps in the outfield, collecting 41 doubles two years ago and 38 this past season. He’s by no means the central piece in this trade but considering the Phillies need help in the infield, Villanueva seems a viable option – especially given the plethora of infielders currently in the Chicago system.

Pierce Johnson – RHP: Johnson was considered the Cubs’ top pitching prospect until 2013, but the emergence of C.J. Edwards and some notable performances from players like Duane Underwood and Jen-Ho Tseng have dropped his status within the organization.

Record-wise, the righty put together a rough year in 2014 at 5-5. However, as we’ve learned in recent years, there is a lot more to a pitcher than his win-loss total. The 23-year-old right-hander, who entered the 2014 season as the 100th-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, posted a 2.54 ERA, a 1.179 WHIP and 5.6 H/9 this year – largely with Double-A Tennessee. He’s a Top 10 prospect in one of the best farm systems in all of baseball and while he might not see the Show until 2016, Johnson can be worth the wait as he has the potential to be a consistent #3 for the foreseeable future.

That appears to be a solid package as it included a current MLB player with a huge upside, a prospect that’s less than one year away who could solidify the defense in a position of need and two that are less than two years away but have the potential to be solid contributors for a long time.

What would you give up to land Hamels?

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