Chicago Cubs: Which Cubs are most likely to be traded?
#1. Ian Happ
Ian Happ forced the 2017 Cubs to make room for him on their MLB roster earlier than they had planned. While starting pitching and the bats struggled to find wins in the first half, Happ provided a bright light to Cubs fans. His rookie season may have had him in the Rookie of the Year conversation in a year with fewer breakout rookies. Still, an excess of Cubs’ middle-infielders could result in Happ relocating this offseason.
Why the Cubs will trade Happ
There’s no room for Happ in the Cubs’ future. Ben Zobrist, Javier Baez and Addison Russell have established themselves as the untouchable middle-infield rotation.
Happ’s breakout year only increased his value for what he’s been to the Cubs all along: a trade piece. No matter what Happ did at the major league level, it was ultimately an audition to pique other teams’ interests in a trade.
His rookie season was undoubtedly solid, but he did show a tendency to fall into extended slumps.
Happ’s market value might be above what he is worth as a player following the 2017 season. Maddon’s limited use of Happ in the postseason may have been telling of the Cubs’ faith in him. It’s not hard to imagine there’s a team that could make better use of Happ than the Cubs can.
Why the Cubs won’t trade Happ
Happ has established himself as an essential asset to the Cubs. In 2017, his bat was far more valuable to the Cubs than Addison Russell’s and arguably even Javier Baez’s.
Happ’s versatility is something Joe Maddon likes to use. Happ can play shortstop, second base and center field. On offense, he’s a capable hitter from both sides of the plate. He’s the only switch-hitter the Cubs currently have.
The slumps Happ endured were the result of natural rookie growing pains. Happ’s ceiling is still miles above him, and the Cubs would like to see him reach it in blue pinstripes.