3 early trade targets the Chicago Cubs should keep an eye on
The Chicago Cubs are seemingly just a few good players away from having playoff-worthy ballclub. The fresh new offense has been putting up promising numbers while the starting rotation has been mostly elite. Marcus Stroman, Justin Steele, and Drew Smyly are all groundball-heavy pitchers and their tendency to get hitters to put the ball in play is perfect for the Cubs' gold-glove-caliber defense. The main weakness so far has been the bullpen, which does not have a true closer and not enough left-handed arms. There are teams out there with bullpen arms that can help this team win, and the Cubs should look into adding some of them at the trade deadline.
1. LHP A.J. Puk
Miami Marlins left-handed reliever A.J. Puk has emerged as the team's de facto closer this year as the 28-year-old is boasting a 0.75 ERA with a WHIP of 0.83. He has 5 saves on the season so far and he is looking like one of the anchors of a sneaky good Marlins bullpen. But the Marlins are not going anywhere with this team in a division where the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, and Atlanta Braves are ahead of them.
Yes, the team is playing well, with a 16-13 record after sweeping the Cubs over the weekend. However, by the time the deadline rolls around, the Marlins will likely once again be sellers and Puk is a good guy for the Cubs to target. He provides a lockdown left-handed arm, which the Cubs do not have currently as their only southpaw in the bullpen is Brandon Hughes who is on his second IL stint of the year. The only problem is Puk's stock will be high due to the three years of team control still on his deal and it will only get higher if he keeps pitching well. But the Cubs need bullpen help and Puk could be a guy.