7 prospects the Chicago Cubs should target in a trade at the deadline

The Chicago Cubs should be done trying to get organizational depth pieces in trades and instead focus on acquiring potential stars, like the ones we discuss below.
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Curtis Mead 3B and Kyle Manzardo 1B Tampa Bay Rays

These two go against what I’ve been saying about the three previous players on the list. This Cubs roster needs power and considering they’re not going to get it from the four players locked up through 2026 (Ian Happ, Seiya Suzuki, Nico Hoerner, and Dansby Swanson), they’re going to have to look to their corner infielders and DH to get it. 

Neither Curtis Mead nor Kyle Manzardo are known for their power and they’re both definitely average first guys. That being said, they’re really good at hitting for average. In 2022 Mead hit .298/.390/.532 and this season he’s hitting .286/.348/.457. In 2022 Manzardo hit .327/.426/.617 and he’s struggled a bit this year to the tune of .238/.342/.442.

There is absolutely a benefit to having guys in the lineup that can clear the bases with a single swing, and the 2016 Cubs won the World Series on the backs of what felt like an entire roster of guys that could do that. 

However, there’s also a lot to be said about looking at your roster and recognizing where your strengths and weaknesses are, and trying to maximize those strengths. If this trade happened, the Cubs may not have someone on the 2024 team that could hit more than 30 home runs in a season (pending Christopher Morel’s development). 

That being said, they’d have a roster full of guys that could make a bad inning worse by stringing together hits, having good at-bats, and chasing pitchers out of their starts earlier than opposing teams would prefer. 

Would the Rays deal both of these guys? Maybe not. Maybe they’d look for someone like Shohei Ohtani if they were to deal both of them and maybe even infielder Junior Caminero. Something that it seems like no one is talking about though is the fact that if the Cubs were to deal Bellinger and Stroman in the same deal they could create a value similar to Shohei’s. Neither is as good as Ohtani individually, and they take up two spots on a roster rather than the one that he does, but that could be a positive as much as a negative. If Ohtani gets hurt, you lose a pitcher and a hitter. If Stroman gets hurt and you still have Bellinger that’s still valuable. 

If the Cubs considered putting Bellinger and Stroman in the same deal and ate some of their remaining salary, a team like the Rays may be willing to pay what would amount to a king’s ransom in today’s trade values and it would be something that could provide the Cubs with players that could contribute in a major way in 2024.