Chicago Cubs: Five potential trades with the American League West
Chicago Cubs: Will the Cubs need a third baseman in their future?
When you have two contending clubs, it’s hard to make a trade work out that fits both clubs and seems right because anyone a club thinks is valuable is probably worth keeping and vice-versa. Therefore, making a deal with the A’s, a small-market team that is notoriously frugal isn’t likely to shed salary or want to give up cheap and proven major league production. On the other side of the deal, the Cubs aren’t looking to take on salary at this point, and seem totally in flux in terms of their commitment to winning and keeping their core intact. No one even knows if Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras, or Kyle Schwarber are staying or going, quite frankly.
In that light, my proposition with the Athletics hinges on the oft-rumored trade of Kris Bryant. Not that I want the Cubs to make that deal, as they will surely be the losers in that deal in 2020 and 2021 at the least, but if it does happen, the Cubs should be ready to pounce on possible replacements. And, given the fact the Cubs don’t really have a third base option in the system ready to go, they will need to either plug and play or go out and find someone from someone else’s club.
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Meanwhile, the Athletics have one of the best all-around third basemen in baseball manning their hot corner in Matt Chapman. If they have no designs on prospect Sheldon Neuse being their full-time second baseman (which, he really isn’t a second baseman at all), the Krukian throwback might just work in a trade.
Neuse, a third baseman who pitched and played in the field at Oklahoma, doesn’t look the part of jacked and sculpted professional athlete, but it seems he’s just a darn good baseball player no matter where he plays. Neuse slashed .317/.389/.550 at AAA Las Vegas for the A’s last year, and even had 14 hits in a cup of coffee in Oakland in September. Neuse is exactly the kind of guy who could man the hot corner for the Cubs, as his strong arm will make up for any range deficiency he might experience as he ages.
The other side of this is the crazy idea that he might even be able to throw out of the bullpen in a Michael Lorenzen-like role, although Neuse hasn’t pitched since college and you wouldn’t want him doing that if he were in the lineup every day. At the very least, he might be a guy who can do more than Victor Caratini in extra innings or blowouts, offering an easy 90mph offering that isn’t laughable. Perhaps the Angels would prefer a middle infielder for the future as they try and fill their second base hole elsewhere this offseason. A Zack Short and Chase Strumpf deal might get it done, and if doesn’t, the Cubs might look to throw in someone like Robel Garcia who could offer some competition there this spring training, or another prospect the A’s could stockpile for later.