A big-name rumored Cubs trade deadline target hits the IL with a back injury

Marlins left-hander Jesus Luzardo hits the shelf just a month before the MLB trade deadline.
Miami Marlins v San Diego Padres
Miami Marlins v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

The Miami Marlins are going to be sellers at the trade deadline as first-year president of baseball operations Peter Bendix looks to put his mark on the club. Given the Chicago Cubs' pitching needs, the two could line up as trade partners, but one of the team's most valuable chips is headed to the injured list in left-hander Jesus Luzardo.

Luzardo, 26, is under team control through the 2026 season via arbitration and could be a hot commodity ahead of the trade deadline on July 30. His numbers haven't been overly impressive in 2024, but he's just one year removed from the best season of his career, when he made 32 starts, amassing nearly 180 innings and working to a 3.58 ERA.

The rotation is one of the only areas the Cubs don't need reinforcements, especially if you're considering their other glaring needs (a big bat, bullpen help, more depth behind the plate) - but if the price is right, Luzardo makes a ton of sense given his long-term control.

Cubs could easily fit Jesus Luzardo into short and long-term plans

The injuries to Ben Brown and Jordan Wicks make the fit better in the short-term, as well, because even after a strong return to the rotation, it's hard to have a high degree of faith in Kyle Hendricks. You can bet Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins will be evaluating his performance leading up to the deadline before deciding what moves to make in July.

Luzardo's strikeout rate is way down this year and could explain some of his struggles. His whiff rate is still above average, but he's not getting the punchouts and his walk rate has trended in the wrong direction, as well. Given his age and what he did last year, there will be plenty of interest in him on the open market (assuming he's healthy) - so even if the Cubs do pursue him, the acquisition is far from a slam dunk.

This is just one of what I'm sure will be many names to keep tabs on over the next six weeks. Despite a rocky first half, this is a Cubs team that's not built to sell - so buying may be the front office's only chance. Thankfully, a middling pool of teams in the NL Wild Card race have helped keep Chicago in the postseason picture - and adding a big-time arm like Luzardo could be a difference-maker.