The Chicago Cubs are expected to be active on the trade market this off-season and speculation has centered around San Diego Padres All-Star outfielder Juan Soto.
This week has seen some pushback to the idea that the Padres will trade Soto but conventional wisdom would suggest that a team that had taken out a $50MM loan to complete payroll for September likely will trade a player in line to earn $30MM during his final season with the team.
That was more or less the reasoning that Padres' beat reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Kevin Acee, used when pointing out that the financial situation that the team is in likely will only be resolved as part of a process that includes trading Soto this winter. To that end, Acee notes that the Padres will likely target young, cost-controlled starting pitching.
In other words, the Padres want pitching prospects that are either at the Major League level or knocking on the door. On a very broad level, yes, the Cubs are a natural fit given that they have Javier Assad, Hayden Wesneski, Jordan Wicks, Ben Brown, and Cade Horton at the top levels of their organization with all but Ben and Brown already making their Major League debuts.
That would be a tough ask for the Cubs as their biggest need this off-season is an impact hitter and that is in large part due to the pitching prospects they have lined up to join the Major League pitching staff over the next year. Trading from that depth for one season of Soto without the assurance of an extension would be a risk.
Cody Bellinger's next team will either be the New York Yankees or Chicago Cubs?
Jon Heyman of the New York Post provided an update on Cody Bellinger's market this off-season and predicted that the final decision will be between the Cubs and New York Yankees.
The Yankees have had an eye on Bellinger dating back to the MLB Trade Deadline. There have been large variations in the projected contract for Bellinger as some calculations have placed his next contract in the $250MM range while others have been around $160MM. Chances are that the Yankees will have a higher offer than the Cubs, who may be depending on the comfort he had with the team in 2023.
Speaking of Bellinger, congratulations are in order after he won the Silver Slugger Award for National League utility players.
Craig Counsell's introductory press conference as Chicago Cubs manager
The Chicago Cubs will officially introduce Craig Counsell on Monday at 10 am at Wrigley Field. There is no doubt that the press conference will be a big moment for the Cubs as Counsell's hiring reflects a shift in expectation and anticipation that the team's contention window will open in full with the start of the 2024 season.