5 Trades the Chicago Cubs should make as buyers at the MLB Trade Deadline

The Chicago Cubs look great right now, and if they continue to look great around the deadline we've got five trades they should consider to make a playoff push.
Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Trade 4: The Chicago Cubs receive LHP Eduardo Rodriguez from the Detroit Tigers in return for OF Kevin Alcantara, INF Kevin Made and RHP Porter Hodge

This would be an instance of the Cubs thinking outside the box. As the rotation is currently assembled it is an absolute strength: Marcus Stroman may be the best pitcher in the league, Justin Steele was dominant prior to his injury, the Professor Kyle Hendricks has returned with a vengeance, Drew Smyly nearly threw a perfect game against the Dodgers and Jameson Taillon was this offseason’s prized acquisition.

Beyond that, the Cubs have Ben Brown champing at the bit for an opportunity to pitch in Wrigley this season as well as depth options in the form of Hayden Wesneski and the aforementioned Caleb Kilian. 

So why deal for another starter, especially another left-handed starter for a team whose rotation already has two lefty starters? The honest answer is that I don’t believe that Smyly or Taillon can be counted on in a seven-game playoff series. 

This team is built around pitching and defense. In the playoffs, the strike zone tends to expand a little bit and contact hitting is extremely valuable and the Cubs seem to have the pieces in place to take advantage of that. However, after Stroman and Steele things get dicey when it comes time to put your proverbial boot on the opposition’s throat and Rodriguez would help solve that.

He’s under contract through the remainder of the season and has an opt-out after this year that makes things a little murkier. If he opts in he’d be making just over $16 million per year for the next three years, which may preclude the Cubs from offering an extension to Marcus Stroman, but he wouldn’t be a terrible consolation prize as he has a 2.11 ERA on the year so far. 

The other thing this deal would do is provide the Cubs the ability to get creative with the construction of the playoff bullpen. Does Taillon get right if he can shorten his appearances? Can Smyly be the left-handed reliever that the Cubs just don’t seem to have?

Unfortunately, trading for an ace like this is expensive and we wouldn’t be able to escape with trading prospects outside of the system top-ten. The Tigers would likely be looking for OF Pete Crow-Armstrong which the Cubs would have to deny. Teams make major deals like this all the time without including their top pieces and the Cubs have depth in the system that should allow them to deal a really good prospect without dealing their best prospect. 

Kevin Alcantara would be the prize in this deal but the Tigers would also receive two extremely solid additional pieces in the form of Made and Hodge. Made was a major international signing out of the Dominican Republic and Hodge is a piece that will likely end up in the bullpen long-term but is still being developed as a starter in AA right now. 

The Tigers may get better offers than this, but the Cubs don’t need a starting pitcher and so they shouldn’t overpay for one. If they can deal two (potentially) great prospects that are years away and a pitcher with relief concerns for one of the best pitchers on the market then you jump at it, but if the Tigers demand PCA they’ve got to walk away.