Chicago Cubs: Do Ian Happ and Victor Caratini have significant trade value?

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

After the Chicago Cubs dropped two of three in San Francisco, I’m wondering now more than ever the trade value Ian Happ and Victor Caratini may have.

No one saw it coming but Pedro Strop is trending down in a big way this year. Not only has he experienced tenures on the injured list, but he hasn’t been the late-inning reliever the Chicago Cubs have needed for most of the season, posting career-worst marks in ERA, FIP and HR/9 since his first season way back in 2010.

It sucks to see the veteran right-hander struggle like he has this season, and if this was April, I might react differently – but it’s not. It’s mid-July and the division race is tight. It was encouraging to see him pitch a clean inning Wednesday though.

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Because of his struggles, the Cubs have to start wondering who they can trust in the late innings just to get the ball to get Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning. Outside of Steve Cishek and Brandon Kintzler, there’s no one else Joe Maddon can fully trust.

The Cubs have appeared in trade rumors with the Detroit Tigers in regards to outfielder Nick Castellanos and reliever Shane Greene.

Castellanos and Greene could be a big acquisition for the Cubs because they provide the value at multiple spots of need: another outfield bat and a back-end reliever.

Greene is having a career year as the Tigers closer and provides an extra year of control after this season. Castellanos is a free agent after this season. He’s hitting .387 against southpaws, something the Cubs have struggled to do as a team all season.

Unfortunately, I think the Cubs would have to include Victor Caratini and Ian Happ in a trade to land these two pieces from the Tigers. Happ still has potential on his side, but spending this entire season in Triple-A isn’t what anyone expected to add with his below average year there as well. His 95 weighted runs created (wRC+) is not good.

He can play all three outfield positions and has youth on his side with four more years of control. He’s showed success when he hit 24 home runs in 2017. With Happ, there’s obviously questions but for a rebuilding team like the Tigers, that gives him time to get consistent at-bats, something he’s never got in Chicago because of the overload of outfielders the Cubs have.

As for the Caratini, he’d also slide right into an everyday player for the Tigers, who don’t have a catcher hitting over .200 right now. Caratini has quietly put together a breakout season, slashing .264/.352/.443 as the backup to Willson Contreras. Caratini also has four more years of control.

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Happ and Caratini could be a replacement for Castellanos and additional help for the future. Ultimately, I think the Cubs would have to give up both if they want Greene in the deal. That being said, the Tigers hold all the cards here – so we’ll have to see if Theo Epstein can get another deadline deal done to shore up the team for another stretch run.