Cubs News: Ian Happ’s trade value has never been higher

Ian Happ (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Ian Happ (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

In what should be an offseason full of change, the Cubs have an invaluable trade chip in center fielder Ian Happ.

A lot can change in two years. For the Chicago Cubs and Ian Happ, that change has evolved in a significantly positive way, and now could be the time for the Cubs to take advantage. After Happ forced the organization’s hand in 2017, he kicked off his career with a bang hitting 24 home runs and ending a strong rookie campaign with a 1.9 WAR.

It seemed destined to be Happ’s time. The 31.2 percent strikeout rate was concerning; however, the power was legitimate. Through his first ten games, Happ hit .294 and posted a 167 wRC+. Unfortunately, it did not last as Happ slashed .238/.298/.514 over his next 30 games.

As the season itself was strong, inconsistencies remained in Happ’s game. It came to headway in 2019 as Happ spent the better part of the season in Triple-A Iowa to work back to his former self. The move helped everyone as Happ finished the year with a 127 wRC+, lowering his strikeout rate exponentially.

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This season Happ finally put it all together in a significant way, and it couldn’t come at a better time. His production returned to that of his rookie year as he ended the truncated season with career-highs in wRC+ and on-base percentage. To add to the fun, Happ improved his exit velocity at the dish and posted a 47.8 percent hard-hit rate, also a career-high.

Entering next season, Happ will be 26 years old and in his first year of arbitration. If everything goes well for Happ, he should see a pay increase. Still, as he moves into this next phase, the desire for teams and various needs will ostensibly heat up as what should be a bizarre offseason takes off.

The rumors are abundant at what the next moves for the organization entail. In the realm of possibility is the departure of current President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. While that is not likely at this juncture, nothing is out of the question. Happ is one to be considered as a trade chip outside of the central core.

Significant changes are on the horizon. It is not an expectation of ‘if’ but ‘when.’ The club’s number two overall prospect Brennen Davis is currently at Class-A South Bend. He is mashing over his first two professional seasons and as a top-100 prospect across baseball, has a bright future in a Cubs uniform.

Next. Thank you, Theo, if indeed this is the end. dark

The Cubs should allow the 20-year-old to properly develop and in no way promote him to the big leagues, but he is the future in center field, and it allows the Cubs flexibility in moving Happ while his trade value has reached its peak.

Much is unknown as to what the offseason holds for the organization. If the plan to accelerate a complete rebuild comes full circle in the immediate future, shaking it up by dealing Happ could the move. It could allow the Cubs to continue rebuilding their farm system with major league-ready or near-major league ready talent in areas lacking, and right now, it may be precisely what this team needs to return to glory in the future.