Chicago Cubs: Evaluating the fit in a potential J.D. Davis trade

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Over the last year, we’ve heard speculation J.D. Davis could be a potential trade target for the Chicago Cubs. With Kris Bryant all but guaranteed to move on in free agency and questions surrounding Patrick Wisdom, it seems worthwhile to re-visit the potential fit between the North Siders and the Mets third baseman.

Before we delve into Davis too deeply, let me be clear. Wisdom has a big role to play on this year’s Cubs team. But with the designated hitter expected to come to the National League once a new CBA is finalized, there’s going to be room for someone like Davis on the roster.

Davis, who turns 29 in April, is a former third-round pick of the Astros. He could never translate his minor league success into results – that is, until he was traded to the Mets in Jan. 2019. Then, it all seemed to click. He promptly turned in a .307/.369/.527 line that was good for a 137 OPS+ in his first season in the Big Apple.

He’s yet to replicate that success – either in the shortened 2020 campaign or his injury-plagued 2021. But given he won’t hit free agency until 2025 and the fact he’s got a 128 OPS+ over the last three years, despite not putting up the gaudy numbers we saw in 2019, and it’s easy to see why he’s got plenty of value.

Despite that value, he might be the odd man out in Queens. The Mets have drastically overhauled the roster, adding Eduardo Escobar, Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Max Scherzer already this winter. Veteran Robinson Cano returns from his 2021 PED suspension, as well, throwing his name into the mix along with the likes of Jeff McNeil and Luis Guillorme. 

Chicago Cubs, New York Mets make a lot of sense as trade partners

We’ve heard New York might put McNeil on the block once the lockout is lifted – but even so, the message is clear: the Mets have a logjam in the infield and the Cubs could use an impact player like Davis (or McNeil, which I already talked about here).

In an ideal scenario, Jed Hoyer brings in Carlos Correa or Trevor Story. But we don’t live in an ideal world. But that doesn’t mean Chicago can’t still improve the roster. Davis fits the type of guy who could bring a ton of value to the Cubs – and given the Mets’ roster situation, the team could be particularly motivated to move him.

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This isn’t a rental opportunity and his high on-base approach fits the bill of what the organization seems to be focusing on. Davis has some pop and could pair nicely with Wisdom, sliding in and out of reps at the hot corner and at DH. He’s not the flashiest name out there, but he’s got the tools and skillset to improve this ball club in the short and long-term.