Cubs fans can count on these 3 players still being around after the trade deadline

For various reasons, Jed Hoyer will have no choice but to hold onto this trio of players on July 30.
Los Angeles Angels v Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles Angels v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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Shota Imanaga has the makings of an all-time free agent steal

The Cubs' lone All-Star representative is playing on one of the more unique free-agent contracts in recent memory. Shota Imanaga has a four-year, $53 million deal - but after the '25 and '26 campaigns, Chicago can extend the deal to five years and $80 million. If they don't exercise that option (which at this point seems unlikely, but a lot can happen between now and then), he can opt out of his deal at that time.

Even at five years and $80 million, Imanaga could be a steal for Hoyer and the front office. The left-hander has proven he can match up with front-of-the-rotation starters with a unique plan of attack for opposing hitters, and he could be a stabilizing presence on the pitching staff for years to come.

The Cubs could soon feature the likes of Ben Brown and Cade Horton in the rotation, marking a major turnaround for an organization that famously failed to develop impact arms under Theo Epstein. You can get creative with out-of-the-box trade ideas for Steele and Taillon, but there's no world where Imanaga gets dealt this summer.