3 bold predictions for the rest of the Chicago Cubs offseason

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Nick Madrigal
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#3: Nick Madrigal stays, Nelson Velázquez goes

After the signing of Swanson, room on the roster looks scarce for last year's second baseman Nick Madrigal. Acquired in the trade that sent Craig Kimbrel to the South Side, he looked to be a solid addition adding some much-needed contact to this Cubs roster. Things didn't play out that way due to injuries, but I don't think the Cubs say goodbye to him yet. He still has minor-league options and trading him now would be selling him at his lowest. It's also not impossible to pencil him in for the occasional DH or second base start to rest other players.

What might be the bolder part of this prediction is that I could see Nelson Velázquez departing the organization. He had an underrated debut with the Cubs with results that look worse than what his Statcast page says. Thanks to above-average barrel rates and hard-hit percentage, his xwOBA in 2022 was .305, an improvement on his actual .291 wOBA and much closer to the league average of .315. While underlying stats could point to him as a competent fourth or fifth outfielder type, that value could bring other teams calling.

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Early in the offseason, Velázquez seemed like a possible young major league trade piece for the Cubs to include in a package. Even as the offseason is winding down, I don't find it impossible that another team will offer enough value to get Chicago to bite. He'd be an interesting fit for Miami as part of a package if that aforementioned starter trade came to fruition. Moreover, it's trickier to find a spot for him when the Cubs have Davis and Canario in the wings, not to mention more unheralded names like Ben DeLuzio, Darius Hill, and Yonathan Perlaza. Add in the fact that Chicago still needs to make room on the roster and you could envision a deal coming together to send Velázquez elsewhere.