Chicago Cubs Rumors: Nick Madrigal likely to be traded

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

With the Chicago Cubs signing of free-agent shortstop Dansby Swanson to a 7-year deal worth $177MM, the Cubs have fortified the middle of their infield for the long term. Nico Hoerner, under team control until 2026, will now shift over to second base and the Cubs will enter 2023 with arguably the best middle infield defense in all of Major League Baseball. There undoubtedly will be a ripple effect for the Cubs after the signing of Swanson but the biggest impact may be had on second baseman Nick Madrigal.

The Cubs acquired Madrigal at the Major League Baseball trade deadline in 2021 that saw the team move closer Craig Kimbrel to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Madrigal and relief pitcher Codi Heuer. Madrigal was acquired from the Cubs while recovering from an injury and he did not make his debut with the team until 2022.

In 2022 with the Cubs, like his career with the White Sox, durability was the issue for Madrigal. Madrigal was limited to 59 games with the Cubs last season while slashing .249/.305/.282/.588 and a 70 wRC+ in 228 plate appearances. The lack of health and sustainability from Madrigal in 2022 is one the biggest reasons why the Cubs were heavily involved with the free-agent shortstops this offseason. With Swanson now in the fold, Madrigal becomes a prime trade candidate for the Cubs considering his lack of ability to play elsewhere on the field.

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Madrigal is only 4 years removed from being the fourth overall selection in the 2018 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft and has a career slash line of .289/.336/.355/.692 with a 95 wRC+. For a Cubs' team that still had a need for a catcher, first/third baseman, and potentially, a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher, Madrigal likely becomes the first piece to be included in a potential trade.