Chicago Cubs: Why the Cubs won’t land a top starter at the deadline

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

There are plenty of reasons why, but it simply isn’t going to happen for the Chicago Cubs. Could Theo Epstein make me look silly? Of course. What power do I truly wield here? But I’d think small this trade deadline if you want to impress your friends.

It has begun. The massive amounts of trade rumors about the Chicago Cubs as well as the rest of the league. I’ve heard this more than my fair share, “There’s never a bad time for a dumb trade proposal.” I certainly don’t adhere to that. There are always some that I feel on the edge of reality that has come to fruition. But let’s be realistic, Jim Bowden is slightly off his rocker. How much trust should you have in him? He suggested the Cubs trade Albert Almora and Ian Happ for Reds’ speedster Billy Hamilton this spring. So the answer to the question is none.

Theo Epstein has said on several occasions that the pieces they need to win are already in the clubhouse. I know it’s hard to see that with the way the Cubs finished up the first half. There isn’t a “magic switch” the Cubs are going to hit and start hitting and pitching better. But the reason the Cubs aren’t going to land one of the “big names” on the market is that they don’t have the players to do it. I’m sure you’re saying “We’re the Cubs! We have plenty of guys to get a deal done!” Well, that’s only half right.

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First, let’s address that terrible Bowden proposal. Kyle Schwarber for Michael Fulmer or Daniel Norris. Last year, this would have been a no-brainer. Even after his injury, this is one the Tigers would have considered. Now, why? Fulmer is at his peak right now, and Schwarber–who might end up being a great hitter–is not. And Norris? His ERA is worse than John Lackey. Better WAR at 1.1 to Lackey’s -0.1, but still not worth it. We don’t need another Lackey.

What about the rumor of Happ to the Orioles for Ubaldo Jimenez? Happ has 13 home runs and 31 RBI in just 51 games. Jimenez sits with a 6.67 ERA in 83 2/3 innings. Nevermind the fact his career ERA is 4.25 and has honestly had just one standout season in his career. So that’s a big negative there. If you make that trade, you’re going to have a bad time.

Our Jacob Misener took a look at some low-cost possibilities–and former Cubs–that could be on the radar of the front office. These all come with a catch. Risk. But they aren’t going to require a massive package of prospects or talent to get. Many of these deals would be Dan Haren like. No, Haren didn’t have much impact on the 2015 Cubs, but that team still played well in spite of Haren’s performance.

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The hope is this Cubs’ team comes out firing on all cylinders. But if they don’t, I still wouldn’t expect them to pull the trigger on a big time trade. They aren’t “sellers”, no matter what you read. Jake Arrieta isn’t going to get traded just because he’s in his final season. Lackey? Who would want him? No. If anything, this could be a “push” at the trade deadline, and the Cubs would regroup at the end of the season. Not what you want to hear, I’m sure. But the Cubs will be prudent with the talent they have and not do something silly.

It’s a few years old, but just go back and look and some of these deals–especially the ones where the team was in the market for pitching. Things haven’t always worked out well. It’s why I preach caution as the deadline nears.