The Cubs traded their ace and it could be time for more roster unloading.
On Monday, Jed Hoyer made his first blockbuster move as GM by dealing ace Yu Darvish, along with Victor Caratini to the San Diego Padres. In return, the Chicago Cubs acquired four young prospects along with Zach Davies. With this deal in place, it only raises the question of who might be next on the chopping block.
The move to trade Darvish was definitely the right one, as the ace has never had more value to his name. The only question is the return and that is what has fans uncertain. However, this could be just the beginning of trades made by Hoyer and the front office.
Caratini was the other piece that was destined to be moved and now that he’s part of the Darvish deal, the next name that should generate some trade talks is Jason Heyward.
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I know the obvious name that comes to mind is Kris Bryant. However, the MVP third baseman’s value has never been lower so the Cubs would be silly to move him at this point. The move of Darvish was centered around a salary dump and a trade of Heyward would provide the same.
The right fielder has three years left on his eight-year, $184 million deal signed prior to the 2016 season. His value has been on the rise over the past few seasons and the clubhouse presence he brings should have a lot attached to it as well. His OPS has gone up each season in a Cubs uniform and they are as follows:
- 2016: .631
- 2017: .715
- 2018: .731
- 2019: .772
- 2020: .848
His bat has gotten better while his glove has stayed consistent through it all. Heyward makes for a great trade candidate if the Cubs could find a suitor. $21 million per season for the next three years is a hefty price to pay and is what makes it tough for this situation. However, if Chicago can find a team looking to contend and in need of an outfielder, a great financial burden would be lifted.
If the Cubs do move Heyward, they would be left with just Ian Happ and recent signing Phil Ervin in the outfield, as Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora are gone as well. There are some interesting names on the free agent market that the Cubs could enhance their outfield with.
It would’ve been nice to get an MLB ready-piece like a Wil Myers in the Darvish deal but without that the Cubs need to get creative. Jackie Bradley Jr., Nomar Mazara and Marcell Ozuna are a few names that come to mind – but whether or not ownership is ready to spend money is anybody’s guess.
The Darvish deal tells us the team is fine punting on 2021. Still, they might wind up being competitive simply because the NL Central looks like it’ll be downright awful. Trading Darvish is a huge step backward in the short-term, but with more financial flexibility, perhaps the opportunity for more moves now exists.