The All-Star Break is right around the corner, and it will, of course, be followed by the trade deadline on July 30. Needless to say, the Chicago Cubs could field a lineup that looks wildly different in the final two months of the season should Jed Hoyer sell in a big way.
At this point, it appears near-impossible that Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Craig Kimbrel and Kris Bryant will all still be Cubs come August 1. It’s still anyone’s bet who else might be gone but I think two-time All-Star Willson Contreras is certainly vulnerable also.
So who do we trot out there onto the lush grass of Wrigley during the final two months of the 2021 campaign? Here are some of my ideas:
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My prediction for the infield is a group that would include some combination of Patrick Wisdom, Nico Hoerner, Matt Duffy, David Bote, Eric Sogard and Sergio Alcantra.
Whether Hoerner will move to shortstop or stay at second is an interesting question. Duffy, Sogard, and Alcantra can all play short and Rossy may want to keep Hoerner in one spot in hopes of keeping him locked in at the plate. Duffy and Wisdom are more-or-less interchangeable at the corners although I like Wisdom’s monster arm at third.
In the outfield we can expect Joc Pederson, Jake Marisnick and Jason Heyward on most days with Ian Happ and Rafael Ortega filling in as needed. I know Wisdom has played a few games in the outfield, but I think we will need him in the infield.
If Contreras is traded, the picture behind the plate is… tough, to say the least. I believe catcher will be a player to be named later. I don’t see Robinson Chirinos or any of the parade of other mid-to-late thirties catchers we’ve seen this year as an everyday solution.
With Craig Kimbrel gone, who’s going to close? My guess would be that David Ross will try different options at least for a while, personally I like Andrew Chafin. However, the point may be moot because after the fire sale is over, I don’t see us as leading many games at the end. For long-time Cubs fans, the rest of this year may be very hard to watch.