With just weeks until this year's MLB Trade Deadline, MLB Trade Rumors unveiled its annual list of 'Top 50 Deadline Trade Candidates' - and, to no surprise, the list is loaded with Cubs - with Chicago players alone making up 10% of the list, with a handful of honorable mentions thrown in, too.
Marcus Stroman (6), Cody Bellinger (11), Michael Fulmer (31), Kyle Hendricks (32) and Yan Gomes (47) find themselves among the top trade candidates a week into July, with Mark Leiter Jr., Drew Smyly and Patrick Wisdom also getting mentioned outside of the top 50. It's not hard to envision trades for any of these guys should Chicago sell, but obviously we're talking about a wide-ranging scope of returns, too.
Cubs look likely to be sellers for a third straight trade deadline
Stroman would, hands-down, net the Cubs' the largest return given his Cy Young-caliber showing in 2023. Even with a bumpy start last season, the veteran right-hander has been the epitome of consistency since coming to the North Side - ratcheting things up a notch this year, evidenced by a 2.96 ERA and an MLB-best 14 quality starts.
He's repeatedly expressed a desire to stay with the Cubs long-term, but all reports indicate Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins have no intentions of offering him an in-season extension. Perhaps the two sides will reunite in the offseason (assuming Stroman opts out at year's end) - but that's far from a guarantee, especially with a loaded crop of arms in this winter's free agent class.
Bellinger has been on a tear since returning from the IL, batting .339, raising his trade stock more with each passing day. The Cubs offense lacks the presence of transformational offensive players and losing Bellinger certainly wouldn't help matters, but given he's on a one-year deal, letting the clock run out wouldn't make a ton of sense either.
Fulmer has rebounded after a rocky start and will undoubtedly draw interest around the league. I think Hendricks sticks around. In the final guaranteed year of his deal and with how well he's pitching, he could be the stabilizing factor in a rotation that could potentially lose Stroman and Drew Smyly.
Wisdom isn't going to bring a huge return but I think things have run their course for him with the Cubs. After a strong start, he's been a mess at the plate. Pairing him up with another trade piece could help Hoyer and Hawkins net a stronger return - opening up third base full-time for Christopher Morel or, once he's healthy. Nick Madrigal.