2 trades and 1 signing that turn the Cubs from pretenders to contenders

The Chicago Cubs have had a boring, frustrating offseason. If they made these moves, all of that would be forgotten and the hype would runneth over.

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#2: Re-load the pitching staff by trading for Guardians right-handers Emmanuel Clase and Shane Bieber

Earlier this offseason we posited that a trade for these two players could help both clubs and in a poll of industry insiders both of these players were mentioned multiple times as potential trade chips. This isn’t a Guardians website so we’re going to focus on the Cubs side of this deal first.

Right now the Cubs have improved their bullpen with the trade for Yency Almonte, the signing of Hector Neris and through a little addition via subtraction now that Michael Fulmer is in Boston. 

That being said, the bullpen was the thing that led to the Cubs falling apart down the stretch and even though Counsell should manage the pen better than Ross did last season there’s no such thing as too many high-leverage relievers.

If the Cubs were to get Clase they’d be getting the best closer in baseball over the last two seasons that will be locked up until after the 2028 season. Even with Adbert Alzolay pitching well last season, Counsell recently admitted that he doesn’t have a closer in mind for the 2024 and will figure it out as spring training gets going. Clase would change that.

At the same time the Cubs would be adding a right-handed starter that would offset their very lefty-heavy rotation as we head into the season and also help Cubs’ fans avoid starting a season with Drew Smyly in the rotation. 

In order to get two All-Star caliber players, the return would be costly. In this deal we would see the Cubs give away their ninth (Wicks) and 12th (Canario) best prospects but they’d also include Christopher Morel who may be the odd man out when the music stops on our game of defensive musical chairs. 

If Morel can’t play third and Pete-Crow Armstrong and Michael Busch earn the job in center field and designated hitter respectively, then as exciting as his bat can be, he simply doesn’t have a home. 

WHAT'S THE MOVE? Trade UTIL Christopher Morel, OF Alexander Canario and LHP Jordan Wicks for RHP Shane Bieber and RHP Emmanuel Clase