Cubs Rumors: With Adam Duvall out, will Braves focus on an Ian Happ trade?
By Jake Misener
Given his defensive versatility, switch-hitting abilities and the fact he comes with team control through the end of the 2023 season, it’s not particularly difficult to come up with a list of potential matches in an Ian Happ trade right now. That’s good news for the Cubs, who are poised to be one of the most active sellers in the weeks leading up to the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
We’ve heard reports connecting Happ to the Padres, who could also be in on Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, but a new team could look to force their way into the conversation sooner rather than later in the form of the Braves. Atlanta just lost a key piece of its offense in veteran outfielder Adam Duvall, who will undergo season-ending wrist surgery this week.
Now, Duvall had been pretty unspectacular this year, evidenced by a 0.0 bWAR and 85 OPS+. But he had showed real signs of heating up prior to this news, popping 10 long balls since the start of June and was a huge addition for Atlanta last summer at the deadline, hitting 16 home runs in just 55 games as the Braves chased down their first championship since 1995.
But with his season over, the Braves will surely look to add some offense at the deadline, and Happ could be the perfect fit. The former first-rounder, fresh of the first All-Star appearance of his career, would bring some nice versatility to Atlanta, which entered action Monday hot on the heels of the first-place Mets.
Cubs: Ian Happ has completely revitalized his career in the last year
What a difference 12 months makes. This time last year, Happ looked like a real DFA candidate. But since then, he’s turned it around at the dish – showcasing a sorely-needed consistency and a much-improved approach, especially from the right side of the plate.
Happ has tore up left-handed pitching this year – evidenced by a .920 OPS in 86 plate appearances. Historically, he has been much stronger from the left side, but that hasn’t been the case at all this season.
Throw in the fact he’s capable of not only playing all three outfield spots, but has experience in the infield, as well, and you can see why he’d make for a nice insurance policy for a contender like the Braves.