The first half of the 2016 regular season is officially in the books, as well as the All-Star game that was held in San Diego. Now that teams are resting up, the clock for non-waiver trades is ticking. What will the Chicago Cubs do in order to improve?
I’m sure you have all heard this before but things started out great only to go downhill over the past month and a half. Jake Arrieta tossed his second career no-hitter while this starting rotation and bullpen emerged as the best in all of professional baseball.
Fast forward to today and the Chicago Cubs hold the third best record while the starting rotation and bullpen have hit a brick wall. A wall that appears to be made of the strongest material known to mankind but they will break through — sooner or later.
Last season, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer went out and acquired a few players from the Seattle Mariners.
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With Jorge Soler on the disabled list, current Chicago White Sox outfielder Austin Jackson was acquired in order to provide this lineup with not only speed but another reliable bat. He had a hitting streak entering his Cubs debut and later swatted a three-run homer in a game against the Cincinnati Reds.
Shortly after Jackson arrived, Joe Maddon received yet another gift. His former reliever, Fernando Rodney, would return to him and pitch exceptionally well for the Cubs as they eliminated both the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.
So now that the Chicago Cubs are in a position to not only advance to the postseason but clinch the National League Central (despite struggles), who are they going to acquire next? Yes, they definitely need to add another arm to their bullpen.
They have had their issues with outfielders staying healthy. For example, Kyle Schwarber is out for the remainder of the year, while Jorge Soler, Chris Coghlan, Matt Szczur and Dexter Fowler are currently on, or have spent time on, the DL over the first few months.
Why not go out and bring in another outfielder to fill the gap when needed? One name that comes to mind is Oakland Athletics’ right fielder, Josh Reddick.
Although his numbers aren’t eye-popping, he’s currently hitting .338/.410/.514/.924 off right-handed pitchers compared to his low average of .167 against southpaws. Plug him in the lineup when a righty is on the mound or bring him off the bench whenever a lefty is replaced later on in the game.
Sure, he has only swatted five home runs with 20 RBIs and 56 hits in 190 at-bats but he could very well be the cheapest option that could work out in Chicago’s favor. There have been signs of power as he hammered 32 homers (85 RBI) in 2012 and 20 (77 RBI) in 2015.
Not to mention, they swapped Coghlan and Arismendy Alcantara not too long ago. Who is to say that these two front office powerhouses wouldn’t come together for another deal that could shake things up?
Also, Reddick made his big league debut with the Boston Red Sox while Epstein was under contract with the franchise. He has brought in former players before, what is stopping him from doing it again? Seriously.
The Cubs obviously have a decent amount of trade chips they could dish out in order to receive Reddick and maybe even another pitcher. Right now, Dan Vogelbach appears to be the hottest trade chip for the Chicago Cubs when it comes to American League teams.
A guy who is built like David Ortiz with a mix of Jason Giambi either starting at first base or fills in as the team’s DH. His defense has always been a question mark for scouts which holds him back. But one thing is for sure, his future with the Chicago Cubs is in doubt, as much as I hate to say it.
First base belongs to Anthony Rizzo and there’s no way Epstein decides to deal his original building block to another organization.
We all know that the Athletics are going to sell, sell, sell until they have the pieces they need in order to prepare for next season. And if Beane decides to move Reddick, there’s a very strong chance that he ends up on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois.