Chicago Cubs should consider these three trade proposals this winter
Years of consistency but a question mark
Mark Melancon comes off a disastrous season in his first year with the San Francisco Giants.
As the Giants come off their worst season since 1985, a roster shakeup is very possible. The possible reunion idea of Jeff Samardzija has come up, and a package with Melancon is a way the Giants could go.
Samardzija actually did something he had never done before last season, leading baseball in walks per nine (1.4) and walk percentage (3.8). In fact, he decreased his walks a full point, down from 2.4 in 2016, and slightly better than his 1.8 in 2014, his lone All-Star season split between the Cubs and Athletics.
One quick note: Samardzija worked with pitching coach Curt Young in Oakland, who was just hired to the same position in San Francisco.
Regardless of your stance on a Samardzija reunion, and taking into account the injuries that sidelined Melancon, it could be an intriguing possibility given that the Giants might be willing to eat enough salary to make it seem more appetizing.
Melancon has had tremendous success closing games in his career, converting 179 of 207 save opportunities, and 98/104 between 2015 and 2016. His success earned him NL Reliever of the Year in 2015 as he led the league in saves. This ultimately led to the current four-year, $62 million contract he signed with the Giants.
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Struggles, including five blown saves in 16 opportunities this past season shed light into the deeper reason for his problems. He underwent surgery to alleviate chronic exertional compartment syndrome in his right forearm in September and will be ready by Spring Training.
This certainly seems like a lot of baggage for Chicago, trying to force a trade for pitchers who have either struggled and/or faced injuries in recent years.
Furthermore, it does not seem realistic and worth the pieces needed to make the trade work. We know Theo Epstein will have to shed a piece(s) off the big-league roster at some point. Javier Baez could be the kind of guy San Francisco covets, but if you are the Cubs, do you want to break up one of the best infield combos with Addison Russell?
And for Samardzija, who is going to turn 33 before next Opening Day, and a closer who is coming off a rather significant injury?
Even Baez for Melancon straight-up just does not feel right.
Epstein verbally promised Albert Almora a larger role, but where? Could he get that in San Francisco where the Giants would like to upgrade their aging outfield?
Would Almora and a prospect be enough if the Giants eat some cash?
Yes, I know
For the record, yes, I like Russell at shortstop, and Baez at second. Forming one of the very best middle infield tandems in baseball isn’t exactly a palatable thought.