Chicago Cubs Rumors: Team interested in adding an impact lefty reliever

(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Cubs Rumors
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Cubs Rumors: Giants have arms, Chicago has outfielders

To say the San Francisco Giants haven’t gotten much out of their outfield this year is a dramatic understatement. The club acquired Kevin Pillar from the Toronto Blue Jays early in the season and, while he’s made some highlight reel-worthy grabs in the outfield, he’s been pretty abysmal with the stick.

Entering play Friday, he carries a .216 average on the year – a mark that’s only slightly improved when you factor only his games in orange and black (.225 average with a .255 OBP). Steven Duggar has, by most measures, been the team’s best offensive outfielder – but owns just a .642 OPS on the year – hardly what you’d call serviceable, especially factoring in a 73 OPS+.

It’s been a hodgepodge of guys taking reps in left field for San Francisco – further evidence of the team’s dire need of reinforcements. But here’s the catch – the Giants aren’t going to compete with the Dodgers this year – or likely in the near future. So they’ll need long-term assets.

This is where things start making a lot of sense. Chicago is sitting on Ian Happ and Mark Zagunis at Triple-A Iowa and could, at least in theory, trade someone like Albert Almora given the team’s outfield depth. Such a move likely means Kris Bryant shifts to left field, while Carlos Gonzalez and either Happ or Zagunis handle things in right field. Jason Heyward would, theoretically, assume the starting center field job.

Trading someone like Almora wouldn’t be easy – he’s a guy Chicago is very high on, and with good reason. But to acquire the likes of Will Smith or Tony Watson, the two guys who seem like likely trade candidates this summer, you’re going to have to give up something of value. This isn’t going to be another Jesse Chavez situation, where the Cubs gave up nothing and got high value in return.

Smith owns a 2.03 earned run average in 27 appearances, to go along with a 0.790 WHIP and .163 opponent batting average. Watson, meanwhile, has made 29 appearances to the tune of a 2.70 ERA with a 22-to-3 strikeout to walk ratio. Either of these guys would be a significant upgrade over the Cubs’ current duo of Ryan and Montgomery.