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Chicago Cubs: Matt Szczur drawing trade interest from Atlanta Braves

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Mar 20, 2017; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Matt Szczur (20) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies during a spring training game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2017; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Matt Szczur (20) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies during a spring training game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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 As the spring begins to wind down, the Chicago Cubs have some roster decisions to make. This includes on whether or not to give a roster spot to outfielder Matt Szczur.

The Chicago Cubs are in a situation where they might be forced to part with a player they would rather keep. That is the case with Matt Szczur, who turned a corner for the team in 2016, but was left off the playoff roster.

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Szczur was drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round of the June 2010 draft and made his big-league debut in August 2014. Szczur has now spent parts of the last three seasons with the big-league club, meaning he is out of options. If he does not crack the 25-man roster, the Cubs would be forced to release him and it’s very unlikely that he would clear waivers.

Szczur has never been an everyday player, but has proved to be a valuable backup over the last three seasons. In fact, 2016 was Szczur’s best season, slashing .259/.312/.400 while hitting five home runs and driving in 24. Szczur also appeared in career-high 107 games and had 185 at-bats.

Unfortunately, the Cubs chose Albert Almora Jr over Szczur for the playoffs. It seems like the Cubs have interest in keeping him around, but other teams are now expressing interest in the 27-year-old, right-handed outfielder.

Atlanta Braves interested in Szczur

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter), the Braves have interest in the Cubs’ back-up outfielder. Rosenthal’s tweet also goes on to say the Cubs plan on keeping him. At this point, we don’t know how much interest the Cubs have in moving a guy like Szczur. The plan is for Szczur to be with the big league team on April 2.  Tommy LaStella, who still has options, appears to be the likely odd man out.

If the Cubs were able to get something of value on a player in return for Szczur, they might be willing to trade him. Szczur is not going to net a top prospect in any trade. He does, however, have some value and could be traded for pitching depth. The Cubs outfield is once again a bit crowded and Szczur would be the fifth outfielder.

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The Cubs have plenty of positional depth in the minor leagues, so losing Szczur wouldn’t be a huge blow. For now, he is a part of the team and will likely make the roster out of spring training. If the Cubs did want to move him though, there are teams interested. That seems to be the better route as opposed to just releasing him.

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