5 Trades the Chicago Cubs should make at the deadline if they continue to struggle

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Trade 3: The Chicago Cubs send 1B/OF Trey Mancini and RHP Michael Rucker to the Los Angeles Angels for RHP Coleman Crow and RHP Jose Soriano 

Matt Mervis, for his part, followed the 2022 season that saw him bat .309/.379/.606 with 36 home runs across three levels of the minors, with a line in Iowa of .286/.402/.560 and nearly as many walks (18) as strikeouts (19). Since calling him up, Mervis has appeared overmatched, especially by strong left-handed pitching which exists more at the major league level than at AAA. However, the Cubs have seen what happens when you let players learn in the majors. Justin Steele looked like a decent reliever a couple of years ago and is now one of the best pitchers in the league. A little over a decade ago, the Cubs let another left-handed first baseman come up and struggle at the major league level to the tune of .233/.323/.419 with 127 strikeouts. The following season Anthony Rizzo was an all-star and the rest is history.

Now the Cubs have to do the same thing and clear the way for consistent playing time for Mervis by dealing Mancini. The Angels are in a playoff run and have one of the lowest WAR for first base in the league. Even if they believe in Jared Walsh, Mancini would represent a good right-handed bat to platoon with him and play the outfield on other days. 

The Angels would also be adding one of the most dependable arms in the Cubs bullpen so far this season in the form of RHP Michael Rucker who would instantly improve a bullpen in LA that has dealt with injuries and general ineffectiveness for years. 

In return, the Cubs would receive two top 30 pitching prospects from a system that is not known for producing them. 

Coleman Crow was rated as the 20th best prospect in the Angels system to start the season but he appears to have figured something out this year. The 22-year-old former 28th-round pick had a decent year last year, throwing 128 innings at AA with a 4.85 ERA. That being said, he’s not only cut his ERA down to 1.88 this year, but he’s also cut his WHIP in half from 1.313 to 0.625 and has increased his K/9 by nearly three. The Cubs have done a better job developing pitching over the last couple of years, but there is no such thing as too many pitchers in the system and Crow would be a great addition.

Jose Soriano is an interesting case. MLB Pipeline has him rated as the 26th best prospect in the Angels’ system but there’s more to him than that. He’s bounced between levels since signing with the Angels as a 17-year-old in 2016 and he’s currently getting his first taste of AA as a 24-year-old. The Angels have seemingly given up on him as a starter as he’s pitched 13 games this year but only started twice, and they’d previously given up on him altogether as they didn’t protect him prior to the 2021 Rule 5 Draft when they lost him to the Pirates only to have him returned later that season. Soriano is another intriguing piece to combine with Danner and Burnette from the Blue Jays trade to help the Cubs start to build bullpen pieces from within rather than having to roll the dice on the free-agent market.