The Major League Baseball calendar has flipped to the month of June and for the Chicago Cubs, this likely will be the month when the team determines their direction at the Major League Baseball trade deadline on August 1.
The Cubs are 26-32 on the season and 5.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the National League Central division. If the Cubs fail to make up ground this month, then it would seem likely that the team will enter the month of July as sellers ahead of the trade deadline.
The biggest trade chip that the Cubs could offer teams that are buying at the deadline this season is starting pitcher Marcus Stroman. Stroman is pitching himself to a position where he may be the best available starting pitcher on the trade market this season.
The Padres, who Stroman limited to 1 run in 6 innings of work on Sunday, have taken notice and could have an interest in the Cubs' starting pitcher according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic.
"Eight weeks before the Aug. 1 trade deadline, the Padres received an up-close look at a battery of potential acquisition targets. Marcus Stroman, the Cubs’ No. 1 starter, has a 2.39 earned-run average. Yan Gomes, who caught Stroman on Sunday at Petco Park, is hitting .271 with seven home runs. Either player could help a team that has a need behind the plate and, like everyone else, a desire for frontline pitching. The Padres began this week four games under .500, but with record investments from ownership and season-ticket holders, they are too pot-committed to not explore ways to upgrade an underwhelming product."- Dennis Lin of The Athletic
First and foremost, it is not Major League Baseball Trade Deadline season until there is a rumor of a potential deal between the Cubs and Padres.
Prior to the Padres acquiring Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals last season at the deadline, they were believed to be in heavy discussions with the Cubs about a potential deal involving then Cubs' catcher Willson Contreras and/or outfielder Ian Happ.
What the Cubs decide to do with Stroman at the deadline will be a clear indicator of where the team truly feels they are in regard to their next contention window. If the Cubs truly do believe that 2024 will be the first year of their next contention window, then trading Stroman makes little sense given the success that he has had as a member of the organization.
Trading Gomes makes little sense for the Cubs as well. Gomes has a club option for the 2024 season and given the praise that organization has heaped on the veteran catcher, it may not be out of the question that the team wants to keep Gomes around as Miguel Amaya transitions into being the full-time catcher next season.