Before the season started, the Chicago Cubs stunned most of the fan base by sending Ian Happ down to the minor leagues. As call up after call up has passed, and it hasn’t been Happ, the Cubs need to do him a favor and trade him.
Mark Zagunis made the Opening Day roster for the Chicago Cubs instead of Ian Happ and only made three starts, while the rest of the time saw him play less than Tommy La Stella did with the Cubs. Zagunis is now back down in Iowa, and Jim Adduci got the call-up.
Thursday, the Cubs signed Carlos Gonzalez, the former Rockie. He started the season with the Indians, but only recorded a .210/.282/.276 slash line, which is just a .558 OPS.
His career slash line .285/.343/.502, a .845 OPS with 233 home runs, including one 40 home run season.
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Happ’s career slash line is .242/.341/.459, a .801 OPS. Happ has cranked 39 home runs in less than two full years in the Majors. In Iowa this season, he is hitting .243/.361/.420, with seven home runs. Happ is by far the best option.
The Cubs’ outfield production has been very suspect. Jason Heyward, after such a hot start is down to 99 wRC+, Kyle Schwarber is at 100 even, while Albert Almora is at 86. Happ, for his career, is at 109.
It’s pretty clear at this point that the Cubs need to have some big calamity in the outfield to call Happ back up. This is a proven Major League hitter, albeit with contact issues, who deserves better than this. The Cubs should trade Happ if they won’t give him another chance.
Of course, it’s hard to gauge his value considering he’s in the minors and has been passed over for guys like Adduci. The Blue Jays, the Giants, the Nationals all have pieces that could fit the Cubs, and Happ would fit back there.
Happ would give San Francisco an actual legitimate outfielder, and the Nationals would get some more thump in their lineup. Happ would add to an already young Blue Jays team full of sluggers. Considering how the ball jumps out of Rogers Centre, that may be a good fit for him.
Of course, who is to say the Cubs don’t bring him up soon? The offense certainly hasn’t lost a step without him. It’s easy to forget that he led the entire Cubs organization in home runs in 2017, with 33 combined between Iowa and Chicago. He was the ninth overall pick by the Cubs; he has all the potential in the world.
With as bad as the offensive production has been from the outfielders, Happ deserves a shot. Heck, even with Daniel Descalso providing a black hole of offense at second, where Happ has played before, maybe plug him in there. Ben Zobrist doesn’t appear to be returning any time soon, and the Cubs could use the depth that Happ would provide.