Chicago Cubs: 3 possible trade candidates heading into the winter

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs / Ian Happ
(Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: 3 trade candidates this winter – 2. Ian Happ

Ian Happ comes in at number two due to a few reasons. Though, for what those reasons are, it can be argued just as easily that those are the reasons he should be kept in the fold. For one, Happ struggled mightily early on, made key adjustments and absolutely scorched earth in the last two months of the season. So much so that he wound up finishing with a career-high 25 home runs, a mark that seemed impossible for him in early August.

The tricky part to navigate with Happ is figuring out whether that hot streak is the new norm for him or if pitchers will learn to readjust and once again Happ will struggle to figure it out and end up trying to erase his struggles down the stretch. For the record, the losing 2021 Chicago Cubs season should fall nowhere near the shoulders of Happ, but still, the team needs him to be much more consistent should they keep their arbitration-eligible player moving forward.

Speaking of which, we come to one of those “this is why we should move him/keep him” double edge sword reasons. Happ is still only entering his second year of arbitration in 2022. Therefore, he is still quite cost-effective. For 2021, he made just $4.1M in salary. With that number expected to go up this season, it is still a low-end number on the Cubs books.

Therefore, do you keep a cost-effective guy if he can continue to swing a consistent bat? Or do you look to the market, as several teams would be in on a guy with two more years of arbitration that is swinging a hot bat? His trade value will currently be at an all-time high and it will be very interesting to see what the Cubs decide to do with the Happer. If he can be consistent, he is more in line for a contract extension than to be traded away.