Chicago Cubs: San Diego Padres might be interested in Cubs shortstops

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 19: Javier Baez
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 19: Javier Baez /

In a speculative swap, the Chicago Cubs possess a few shortstops that could intrigue the San Diego Padres. In return, there could be a reliever of interest.

According to Jeff Passan, the San Diego Padres are in the mix to add a controllable shortstop and naturally, the Chicago Cubs come to mind. One of either Javier Baez or Addison Russell would fit the bell.

Plethora of options

It could just be speculatory but put it this way: if the Cubs are able to sign a pitcher such as Alex Cobb, which of course they are interested in, then that would likely eliminate the position of needing to make a trade from their 25-man roster.

If for instance, their pursuit of a pitcher is unattainable through free agency, it becomes increasingly likely they would have to consider pulling the trigger in order to fill a need. They have been linked to Kansas City‘s Danny Duffy, and of course, Tampa Bay‘s Chris Archer.

Any of these potential rumors can be complicated in their own way, and each likely overlaps what various teams view as trade chips from the Cubs. Ian Happ is another name that pops up.

Lefty relief

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Specifically, with the Padres, the speculation is relief pitcher Brad Hand could interest the Cubs in a potential swap.

Hand, a left-handed reliever, made his first All-Star team in 2017, compiling 21 saves in 27 opportunities last season. He also had 16 holds and a 2.16 ERA over 72 appearances.

Hand came up with the Marlins in 2011 and was acquired by the Padres off waivers in April 2016. If you’re not familiar with Hand, buckle up. He was among leaders in K/9 (11.80), BB/9 (2.27), K/BB (5.20), and WHIP (0.93) in 2017.

Since 2015, his O-Swing percentage has increased each year and in 2017, Hand was more effective limiting hard contact (27.8 percent, down from 30.1 in 2016).

All around, it was a career-year for the lefty. While the Cubs may feel reluctant to trade from their infield depth, the 27-year-old Hand could presumably fill in as the closer for the Cubs, and would certainly fill the need for more relief. As a lefty, he would Justin Wilson and Mike Montgomery.

Hand is under team-control and made $1.375 in 2017.

Next: Checking out free agent reliever Addison Reed

Outside of speculation, for now, it might not amount to anything more. That’s the beauty of the MLB Winter Meetings, though. Where there’s smoke, there’s so often fire.