Chicago Cubs could look to the American League East in trade talks

Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: If not Mookie, maybe Jackie?

The Boston Red Sox want to slash payroll. Mookie Betts seems destined to hit the open market in free agency after this season. Seems like a match made in heaven, right? Yeah, I already covered this one.

While Betts would most certainly become the pièce de résistance on an already contending Cubs squad, it’s doubtful such a trade would work out, both because of money and because of what the Cubs would likely have to give up to get him.

While Betts might not work out, one of his fellow outfield mates just might. Rumors have long connected Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and the Cubs, what with the Cubs desperate for a center fielder since the first supposed “departure” of Dexter Fowler and then most definitely with the real departure when he actually signed with the Cardinals. Bradley represents a truly elite centerfield glove who has some pop and could be primed for a monster year being in a contract year.

The Cubs would only get the defensive whiz for a season, but the stopgap would give the Cubs and elite defender at two outfield positions, rather than settling for moving Jason Heyward to center and giving up his elite performance in right field. Bradley hits from the left side, walks around 10% of the time, and has had two seasons of at least 20 home runs. His career strikeout rate of 25.5% might be contrary to the Cubs contact-oriented offseason wish list, but he does fill the centerfield hole.

With career lines of .236 in the batting average department and an OBP of just .317, the 29 year-old Bradley wouldn’t be a leadoff guy, but might be a perfect candidate for hitting in front of the pitcher, as his ability to take a walk might put him on base should the lineup turn over. He also wouldn’t cost much of anything, as the Red Sox would be looking to jettison his $11 million contract a guy like Cole Roederer or Nelson Velazquez.