3 unexpected Cubs who will be traded this season

(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Hendricks / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs haven’t put their best foot forward early this season, due largely to an offense that ranks near or at the bottom of the league in virtually every measurable statistic.

Still, at 5-7 they’re still somehow treading water, although Fangraphs has the team’s postseason odds pegged at 13.1 percent entering Friday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves. With more than half the roster set to hit free agency at season’s end, that long-talked about change looks to finally be at hand.

We’ve talked a lot about potential trades involving the likes of the ‘big three’ – Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez. But you can be sure if the front office decides to sell, these guys won’t be the only ones on the move.

Cubs could get a strong return for Kyle Hendricks, who remains underrated

Trading someone like Baez, who’s coming off a brutal 2020 showing and somehow looks worse in the early going this season, isn’t going to net the return you’d hope for when coming off a former MVP runner-up. Trading one of the game’s most consistent starting pitchers under team control, though, could be a very different story.

Kyle Hendricks, 31, signed a four-year, $55.5 million extension prior to the 2020 season – with a mutual option for 2024. So, in theory, you have the potential for three years of control after this year at a very palatable price tag of $44 million.

What makes Hendricks so appealing as a trade chip is the fact that, because he doesn’t rely on velocity to get outs, he (at least in theory) will age better than many of his counterparts, giving you a stable presence in the rotation for years to come. Since breaking onto the scene back in 2014, the right-hander has been nothing short of stellar, tossing 1,000+ innings of 3.12 ERA ball.

If the Cubs are throwing in the towel and cashing in chips wherever they can, Hendricks, as much as it pains me to say it, needs to be one of the top guys they listen on.