Could Chicago Cubs deal for Max Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber or Joe Ross?

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs are going to need some help if they going to stay in the hunt and ultimately win the NL Central. Everyone and their mother knows that, at the very least, the starting rotation could use a serious injection of quality and consistency. Beyond that, the club getting healthy could certainly cure a few ills, but another bat wouldn’t hurt given the offensive struggles, of late.

Chicago Cubs would get a big boost from Max Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber

To the question of whether or not the Cubs will be buyers as well as the caliber of player the front office could realistically go after are definitely valid, so I’ll try and be as realistic as possible. Sure, it would be nice to go get Mike Trout and bring back Yu Darvish, but between the money and years for both those guys, it’s just not going to happen. To stay close to reality, I’ve narrowed my search down to guys in the last year of their contracts on clubs that could sell, and it just so happens I found three possible targets on a fading and mediocre Nationals team.

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Of course, every Cub fan is familiar with one of the targets on that Nats’ club, and he just happens to be having a monster month of June. Kyle Schwarber has been known to hit some bombs and go through some hot stretches, and he’s currently in a nuclear phase right now. Should that continue, Schwarber’s price might go up, so it actually might behoove the Cubs to go get him ASAP if they think Schwarber’s found that beastmode button for good.

He’s not making a whole lot of money (he’d only be owed about $5-6 million), and is on a one-year deal so it wouldn’t take some crazy package of prospects to go get him. Where and how fits should this happen is a different story, but the Cubs need bats at the moment and the infield is pretty set.

The other targets of note on the Nationals are also well known veterans who will have pretty disparate asking prices. Starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Joe Ross could certainly both help the Cubs at this point given their rotational issues and lack of depth, but obviously would come at completely different costs. Scherzer has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for a decade, garnering three Cy Young Awards and seven All-Star appearances. He isn’t the same guy he was five years ago, but he can still be the Mad Max the Cubs need in a playoff series.

Problem is, even at nearly 37 years old, he’s going to cost something the Cubs might not be willing to pay, and supposedly is looking for an extension should he decide to waive his full no-trade clause. Thanks, Scott Boras. As much as that seems unlikely on two different fronts for Chicago, who knows where they’re now at because of having full capacity back. If the Cubs are serious about making a playoff push and then doing something in the playoffs, they’re gonna need another guy at the top of the rotation given the fact they gave away Yu Darvish in the offseason.

The Cubs would love to have Scherzer, but maybe Ross is the more realistic option at this point. While the right-hander has been as inconsistent as some of the Cubs other rotation pieces, he’s a lot more like Adbert Alzolay than Davies, Hendricks, or Mills. Having another guy with a legit hard stuff might be a nice in between with Alzolay and even Jake Arrieta if he figures things back out.

Ross is also in the last year of his contract, doesn’t have the same kind of leverage as a guy like Scherzer, and would cost less than a million to pick him up (plus cost of lesser prospects). Maybe that’s the way to go?

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Regardless of whether or not the Cubs make a deal with the Nats in the next month or so, they’re going to have to make a deal with someone, and there are some realistic and pragmatic options in D.C. We’ll just have to wait and see what Jed Hoyer does with his first trade deadline.