Chicago Cubs: Are the Tampa Bay Rays for real this trade deadline?
Greg Jones – High-A shortstop, .278/.387/.519, 12 HR
Cole Wilcox – Low-A pitcher, 44 1/3 IP, 52 K, .200 BAA
Josh Lowe – Triple-A outfielder, .277/.351/.545, 14 HR
Greg Jones and Josh Lowe
Both of these players are the total package. Athleticism, speed, power, etc. Jones has 24 steals and has only been caught once. Lowe has 15 steals and has yet to be caught. Not only does that signal speed, it shows that they are good with picking their spots when to run and have top notch baserunning ability. Like the other power hitters in this slideshow, their home run totals would slot into the top, or near the top of home run totals in the Cubs’ system.
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The Rays are a fun team to trade with because they will trade absolutely anybody at any time. Lowe is nearly Major League ready, but does have some contact issues but shouldn’t be enough of a problem to worry anybody. This is his best season in Triple-A by far and he has struggled to hit a bit in years past, the year off may have done him some good in the long run.
Jones is a hitter and has hit everywhere he’s been. He didn’t skip a beat after the COVID layoff, and also has a strikeout problem, but again the production should offset that. The worst case scenario for Lowe is that he becomes a good fourth outfielder, but if all the tools come together he can be an above average everyday player.
He has all the tools to be one, and maybe his Triple-A changes are real. Jones has the athleticism and arm strength to stick at shortstop, but maybe with his speed he ends up in the outfield. Either way, these two are surefire Major Leaguers in some capacity.
Wilcox was just acquired in the Blake Snell trade with the Padres. Famously, the very next day the Padres acquired Yu Darvish from the Cubs for four teenagers in a salary dump deal. Wilcox has been good with the Rays, with 52 K in 44 1/3 innings, a .200 BAA and only five walks. The control is impeccable, but what might hurt here is the fact that Wilcox is currently on the Injured List, and it’s rare that teams acquire a currently injured player. His fastball is 92-97, but he really only throws two main pitches. There are questions about his long-term role but he is doing just fine as a starter in the low minors. In today’s game, being a high-velocity bullpen arm is still valuable.
The Cubs have their choice of options this deadline, and they need to make good choice to help make the rebuild go faster and smoother. There are of course other candidates from other teams but these are the few that jumped off the page. Jed Hoyer should still have his pick of the litter come Friday.