Did the Chicago Cubs just turn the Houston Astros into sellers?

The problem with making trades with bad teams is that they generally have bad players but the Chicago Cubs may have just added a good team to the sellers list this season
Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

The 2024 Chicago Cubs have done what the 2023 team seemingly could not. It has solved its bullpen problems by making a change before the problem got out of hand, used all of its resources to help win tightly contested games, and (perhaps most importantly) swept a bad Houston Astros team rather than letting them get hot and turn its season around.


In May 2023, the Astros played host to the Cubs as a mediocre team. They were barely over .500 and certainly didn’t look like a team amid a dynasty - one in which it's reached the ALCS for seven straight seasons. Then, the Cubs came to town and just like that, things got back on track in H-Town.

Houston swept the four-game series, then went on to win four more to run its winning streak to eight games. That proved to be the jump-start that the team needed as it made its way back to the ALCS again before falling short to the eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers. 


This week, the Cubs were faced with a similar situation. A less-than-mediocre, injured, Astros team was coming to Wrigley and the Cubs needed to prove that they could beat bad teams soundly.

Three days and, more importantly, three wins later, the Cubs find themselves only a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the NL Central and they’ve caused the Astros to fall back to dead last in the American League West.

Did the Cubs just put an end to the Astros' decade of dominance?

This may be the biggest question to come from that series. Good teams win, but great organizations can recognize when they don’t have enough to win it all and can quickly pivot to make moves, setting themselves up for winning again in the future.

Love or hate them, the Astros are a great organization and they may now look to move players they don’t see as members of the next World Series roster they put together. Suddenly, guys like Justin Verlander, who pitched incredibly well in the series against the Cubs by working out of several jams to allow zero earned runs, become available. 

Maybe a massive bat that offers an upgrade defensively at third base like Alex Bregman becomes available given he's in his walk year and figures to fetch a handsome price in free agency this offseason.

The Astros becoming sellers makes the trade deadline infinitely more interesting. They’re a team full of quality players who are simply playing poorly right now, and that means there are multiple pieces on the roster worth trading for, and the Cubs just had a front-row seat to their potential.