4 realistic trade proposals to give the Cubs their ace

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With the lack of Cubs connections to the bigger fish in the sea when it comes to starting pitching, it makes you wonder exactly what the team's plan to actually compete in 2023 looks like. The front office knows it needs to add that knockout punch to the top of the starting rotation. Acquiring that ace, however, isn't quite as simple as just opening the checkbook. Unfortunately, the Cubs don't get to call dibs on whoever they want while the rest of the league idly stands by waiting for their turn.

Sometimes, avoiding the free agent market altogether can be the way to go. Though much like free agency, when a player is made available, every team is going to come calling to inquire about the price to receive his services. When it comes to the Cubs, they currently have the prospect haul to benefit them in a few ways. For one, acquiring an ace via trade gives you the opportunity to maybe clear up spots on your 40-man roster to have more room for additions in free agency. Secondly, the Cubs could relieve some of what feels like will be a log jam in the farm system.

Though Alexander Canario went down with injury and Brennen Davis' back gave him fits all year long, the Cubs have a multitude of young outfielders you don't want to have held back when they're ready to move up. Put all this together and you can see a path to landing that ace-caliber arm. That being said, let's take a look at four trade scenarios and what it could cost to land that arm at the front of the rotation this winter.