There seems to be a new stance each week on how the Chicago Cubs should approach the rest of the season. Weeks when the team is playing well has everyone pushing to buy and weeks like we just had, losing series to both the Mets and Marlins, have reporters rationalizing a sell-off. Things are too volatile right now to determine Jed Hoyer’s stance at the end of July, but if the team buys, the intra-division rival Pittsburgh Pirates are actually a team with pieces that could help.
It’s not everyday we see teams within the division trading with each other but the Pirates have some interesting pieces that are worth talking about. With Pittsburgh a whopping 14 games out of first entering the start of the week, it’s safe to say they’ll be looking to sell with an eye toward the future.
The first need the Cubs will obviously have to address is the starting pitching. With a starter ERA of 4.69, this group is amongst the worst in baseball and has definitely been a cause for concern. The team could use a true ace but we really don’t know if a big splash is in the cards.
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One name on the Pirates that is intriguing is Tyler Anderson. Not an exciting name to say the least but he would not only become the only lefty in the rotation but he would actually be an upgrade. Here is a look at some of Anderson’s numbers so far:
- ERA: 4.89
- WAR: 0.2*
- K/9: 7.9
- BB/9: 2.4
- HR/9: 1.6
Almost universally, these numbers outpace what Trevor Williams and Jake Arrieta have managed this year. Although, given their respective struggles, that’s not necessarily saying a whole lot, either.
As we can see Anderson would be a better option in this rotation and give the Cubs a new look with a left-handed arm. The best part about Anderson is that he would come at a low cost and probably won’t be highly sought after. If the Cubs want to add pitching but don’t want to make a big splash, Anderson would present a viable option.
Chicago Cubs: Adam Frazier could transform this team’s offense
The next name that would be a great fit is Adam Frazier. He would undoubtedly prove more expensive than Anderson but would give the Cubs a lot of what they need. The Chicago offense is currently hitting .226 (14th in the NL) with a .304 on-base-percentage (10th in the NL) and a .703 OPS (eighth in NL). Here is a look at Frazier to this point:
- .322 average
- .388 on-base-percentage
- .839 OPS
At 29 years old, he is currently on a one-year, $4.3 million deal with the Pirates and is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2022. With injuries piling for the Cubs, Frazier would instantly upgrade this offense and give them a staple at second base, allowing Nico Hoerner to move around as needed upon his return.
He would bring diversity to an offense that relies too much on the home run ball and would provide the consistency we really need. It’s yet to be seen if the Pirates think they will have a competitive team soon and want Frazier around but the Cubs would be smart to check in.
The Chicago Cubs are really only a few pieces away from elevating their roster in a big way and it’s exciting to see the potential at hand. It’s important for this team to stay the course and earn themselves a few pieces for a postseason push. Let’s hope Hoyer and his front office check in with Pittsburgh and realize we don’t need much to get this team filled out.