Chicago Cubs: Breaking down four potential outfield trade targets

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Whit Merrifield

The Kansas City Royals are going nowhere anytime soon, and Whit Merrifield is their biggest trade chip, so it’s likely that he’ll be moved this offseason. Merrifield is coming off a season in which he batted over .300, led the league in hits, and hit over 40 doubles all for a second straight year. In addition, Merrifield led the league in stolen bases in 2017 and 2018 while swiping 20 bags and hitting a league-leading 10 triples in 2019. He can hit the ball out of the ballpark as well, with 16 bombs in 2019.

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Merrifield is also a versatile player on defense, as he played a significant number of games at second base, right field, and center field in 2019 and played them well. Second base and center field are two of the Cubs’ greatest needs, and he’s signed for at least three more years for cheap. Based on all this, it sounds like Merrifield might be the perfect solution for the Cubs’ leadoff spot woes.

All this being said, Merrifield was a late bloomer, and even though he’s only been in the league for four years, 2020 will be his age 31 season. In addition, given how many boxes he checks for the Cubs, it’s likely the Cubs would have to give up some premium minor league talent for him. Do they even have enough talent in their already thin farm system to pull this off?

You’d figure that any conversation with the Royals would have to start with Nico Hoerner, plus it would likely cost two additional prospects. That’s just not something the Cubs can afford right now, so while Merrifield would be a great addition to the Cubs, I don’t like their chances of acquiring him.