The Chicago Cubs were unable to make up ground in the National League Central this week as the team split a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
For the Cubs, their series against the Brewers was reflective of how the team has played all season. The Cubs are a team that lacks difference-makers and that is the reason why it now seems inevitable that the team will be sellers at the 2023 Major League Baseball Trade Deadline.
After the Cubs' 6-5 loss to the Brewers on Thursday, the team is now 7.5 games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds. With the deadline on August 1, and plagued with inconsistency from their bullpen and starting lineup, the Cubs' effort over the past week was not enough for the team to be considered a legitimate buyer this trade season.
There is certainly blame to put on Cubs' president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer. Hoyer and the Cubs' front office had been unwilling to pick a lane in regard to whether the team should buy or sell despite their being a clear path to contention had the team moved to address their needs immediately instead of waiting for a run that now seems unlikely.
So what does this mean for the Cubs in regard to the deadline?
Expect rumors to pick up over the All-Star break about teams circling with interest in starting pitcher Marcus Stroman and center fielder Cody Bellinger. Stroman and Bellinger likely are near the top of the list in regard to coveted rental players this season.
With Stroman, he likely will be the trade chip that lands the Cubs the most at the deadline. The hope, and likely outcome, is that the package the Cubs receive in exchange for Stroman is unlike the package the team received in the Yu Darvish trade with the San Diego Padres. The Cubs should be able to get at least one Top-100 prospect and/or a package of prospects that are nearly ready for the Major League level.