Chicago Cubs: Three players to target ahead of the trade deadline

Whit Merrifield (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Whit Merrifield (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Chicago Cubs
Whit Merrifield (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs could boost their offense with Whit Merrifield

So far, the Kris Bryant leadoff experiment hasn’t netted the results Ross and the Cubs were hoping for. On the year, the former MVP carries a .184/.295/.342 slash line to go along with a 29.5 percent strikeout rate, which would be his highest since his 2015 rookie campaign.

We’ve seen it before – when guys move to the leadoff spot, something changes. Bryant has battled through an elbow issue and illness already, so it’s hard to say if he’s been at his best. But with so little margin for error, you can only play the ‘wait-and-see’ game for so long.

Knowing that, Epstein could give the Kansas City Royals a call in hopes of acquiring one of the most contact-conscious hitters in the game in Whit Merrifield. The 31-year-old is on a team-friendly deal and could give this powerful Cubs core that missing spark atop the lineup.

Through 17 games this year, Merrifield boasts a 142 wRC+ and still well above-average speed on the base paths. That’s something Chicago lacks – and adding his bat to the top of the lineup ahead of guys like Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber and the rest of the group would take an already-strong Cubs lineup and make it elite.