Trade 5: The Chicago Cubs trade RHP Marcus Stroman to the Los Angeles Dodgers for RHP River Ryan, C Dalton Rushing, INF Eddys Leonard
This is the big one. Maybe the Cubs look to include Stroman in a deal with San Diego to even the scales a little bit in a pursuit of Lesko and maybe they try to squeeze out top prospect Jackson Merrill in that deal as well. Personally, I don’t see it. I think the Cubs are looking to maximize the number of players that they can get that will help them in a playoff run as early as next season and the Dodgers have a deep enough system to send three players outside of their top five that leave both teams feeling like they’ve won the deal.
The Dodgers would be receiving one of the top expected pitchers in the trade market this summer, with the only name coming to mind that might be more valuable being Eduardo Rodriguez from the Tigers. If the Cubs move Stroman early and jumpstart the market though, this is a reasonable return for a pitcher that has the kind of mentality that Stroman does. Not only is he a great pitcher, he’s a great pitcher on the biggest stage. He is the reason the US won the World Baseball Classic back in 2017 and he won the MVP for it. The Dodgers are unlike every other team in this article because they aren’t chasing the playoffs. They want a World Series and Stroman helps them accomplish that goal.
In return, the Cubs would be getting MLB Pipeline’s number 7, 12, and 16-rated prospects in what is arguably one of the best minor league systems every single year.
Dalton Rushing is considered the highest-rated prospect in the deal and at High A this year he’s hit for good power and drawn a ton of walks on his way to a .259/.447/.526 line. He’s walked nearly as often as he’s struck out this year and that has always been his MO: in three seasons at Louisville he walked 62 times and struck out 89, and in his two seasons so far in the minors he’s walked 57 times and struck out 59. That level of production behind the plate is exceptional and the idea of pairing him with Miguel Amaya is enticing.
River Ryan has been exceptional at AA Tulsa so far this season. He’s thrown 29 innings, struck out 28, and currently has a 2.17 ERA. He has a career 2.35 ERA and while the more advanced pitching metrics don’t love him as much, he would still represent another pitching addition that could see time in the majors as early as the 2024 season.
Finally, Eddys Leonard has the kind of enticing power/speed combination that teams look for, and plays up the middle which we all know the Cubs look for. He can play all over the diamond defensively, but not especially well. He’s probably easiest to hide defensively as a second baseman and there are shades of Willie Calhoun in his game, but Calhoun’s upside was always tantalizing and he’d represent a good get for the final piece in this deal for a half-season rental.