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) /
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Chicago Cubs
Kirby Yates (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Would they go for another elite closer in Kirby Yates?

This one is a long shot. But that’s alright. Stranger things have happened. Fernando Tatis Jr. is putting the San Diego Padres on his back and making baseball fun again out west. The club is 9-7 entering Monday night and that division is the Dodgers’ to lose. But with an expanded postseason field, you know the Friars have their eye set on October.

But in the grand scheme of things, this team is built for the long-haul. You’ve got a cornerstone in Tatis, along with a supporting cast of Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado and Francisco Mejia, among others. Chris Paddack headlines the rotation – and it might not be too long before the team seriously contends.

Their closer, Kirby Yates, is struggling out of the gate. His two-pitch mix hasn’t been effective and he sports an unsightly 10.38 ERA and 2.54 WHIP across his first five appearances. He’s a free agent at season’s end and is already 33 years old. In short, he’s a perfect match with the win-now Cubs.

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Last year, Yates was the best closer in baseball. He put up a 1.19 ERA, 0.890 WHIP and 7.77 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He even finished ninth in NL Cy Young voting. If Kimbrel can’t get his act together, a rental like Yates could be the missing piece to the puzzle on the North Side.