Chicago Cubs: Five trades that could have created a dynasty
Chicago Cubs: Trading for this guy may have made the offense into a juggernaut
It’s an almost impossible task being a GM in modern professional sports, but completed trades and left-on-the-table trades are one avenue where front office types must get a lot of heartburn. Looking back on some of the trades made in the last decade, it’s impossible not to point to this one as the steal of all steals. Get out your Tums and Rolaids, Jed and Theo.
When the Brewers pulled off the trade with Miami for Christian Yelich and the signing of Lorenzo Cain in one day, they shifted the balance of power in the NL Central. Instead of January 24, 2018 living in infamy for Cubs fans, it could have easily been the best trade ever made for the Cubs organization. Not only could this trade have been a great deal for the Cubs (their top 5 prospects they could have sent to the Marlins at the time were Oscar De La Cruz, Jose Albertos, Adbert Alzolay, Alex Lange, and Brendon Little), but had the Cubs gone after and procured the services of Yelich rather than the Brewers, who knows what other dominos fall in the 2018 season.
Certainly, given the way things turned out at the end of the 2018 regular season, it’s safe to say that the Cubs and Brewers would not have tied for the Central crown that season if Yelich had been traded 90 miles south of where he ended up. It’s also safe to say that the Cubs would have featured the two best players in the National League in 2018 had this come to fruition, as Yelich and Javier Baez both put up monster seasons, with only Yelich’s nuclear September separating the two.
Add Yelich to centerfield along with Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward and not only do you have a more potent offensive lineup, you also have a better defensive squad than the one that platooned Albert Almora and Ian Happ (who also could have been packaged as young players going back to the Marlins) for most of 2018.
It’s also likely that with Yelich under team control and on a team-friendly deal that money issues might not be such a big deal right about now. If nothing else, there certainly would have been no move for Nicholas Castellanos in 2019 and an outcry to bring him back for more money than Yelich will make going forward.