Chicago Cubs could still have a big trade to work out with the Miami Marlins

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SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 22: Giancarlo Stanton
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 22: Giancarlo Stanton /
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Although Giancarlo Stanton could have been a tremendous addition, another Miami Marlins outfielder makes far more sense for the Chicago Cubs.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an MLB team that wouldn’t love to add Giancarlo Stanton and the 59 home runs he hit in 2017 to their lineup. With a deal reportedly in-place sending the outfielder to the New York Yankees, though, it appears that ship has sailed.

The big detractor for many teams, likely including the Cubs, though, is money. From 2018-2027, Stanton’s contract will pay him anywhere between $25 million and $32 million annually. Although not impossible, Stanton will most likely not hit 50-plus home runs in his late 30s. That is an unworldly expectation, of course, but his production is bound to slow down eventually.

Outside of his contract, Stanton has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. While he did play 159 games in 2017, he played just 74 in 2015 and 119 in 2016. Of course, he hit 27 home runs in both campaigns, an impressive feat.

Heyward contract would have made Stanton addition tough

Earlier in the week, Stanton reportedly listed four teams to which he would approve a trade: the Astros, Dodgers, Cubs and his apparent new home, the Yankees. Not that it matters much now, but between his contract and the money the Cubs are already paying Jason Heyward, the logistics of a deal didn’t line up.

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Heyward and Stanton both play outfield, of course, and Heyward’s contract runs through 2023. From now through 2023, Heyward will make $22 million-$23 million each season; he also holds full no-trade clauses in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Unlike Stanton, though, Heyward struggled offensively since joining the Cubs in 2016, hitting just .230 in 2016 and .259 in 2017. So moving on from the reigning National League MVP, where else might there be a match between the two clubs?

Yelich would bring tremendous offensive production

With the world focused on Stanton and new Angels acquisition Shohei Ohtani, several other names have gone unnoticed, including outfielder Christian Yelich. He represents a tremendous addition at a much lesser cost.

Yelich, 26, is two years younger than Stanton and is also under contract for several more seasons. Of course, the young outfielder is only signed through 2021 (with a team option for 2022) for just under $50 million.

While Yelich does not hold the same star power, he has been tremendous since making his big-league debut in 2013. Not only does he hold a career .290 average, but he averaged 163 hits since 2014. He also can hit for power, hitting at least 30 doubles in four of his five seasons and hitting 21 home runs last season.

Yelich trade about more than money

Furthermore, Yelich is a center fielder, unlike Stanton and Heyward. More often than not, it is easier for a center fielder to play corner outfield spots than vice versa. By adding Yelich to an outfield with Albert Almora Jr. and Heyward, the Cubs could have tremendous outfield defense.

It is unclear what the Marlins would ask for in return for Yelich. Because of Stanton’s contract, they will most likely not get equal value back in any deal. In a sense, trading Stanton is more so about money.

On the other hand, Yelich is still quite young and has a team-friendly contract. The Marlins might not even be looking to trade him, in fact. If they decide to put him on the market, though, they could demand a big return in any trade.

Next: Aside from Ohtani, what moves will Cubs make?

Ultimately, adding  Yelich could be tough due to how crowded the Cubs outfield is currently. If they managed to make things work, though, they could become an even greater offensive juggernaut in 2018.

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