National Insider has a miserable MLB Trade Deadline prediction for Cubs

ESPN's Jeff Passan lists the Cubs as a potential seller at this year's trade deadline, in what would be a nightmare scenario
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Brett Davis/GettyImages

With the MLB season two months in, the Chicago Cubs have had very mixed results on the year so far and MLB insider Jeff Passan is prepared for the team to sell.

The first few weeks were fantastic, with the team jumping out to an 18-12 record in March and April and floating at the top of the division with the Milwaukee Brewers. But May saw the team slip into a frustrating slump, where they dropped six straight series in a row and posted a 10-18 record on the month. The team's season record also fell below .500 for the first time since April 1 and they were even briefly overtaken by the St. Louis Cardinals for second place in the division.

With the trade deadline looming in less than two months, rumors will be running wild between now and July 31 and the Cubs will be in the thick of them if they keep playing poorly. Passan wrote that the Cubs are a "tweener" team, meaning that their buy/sell status won't be determined until the team's record either vastly improves or plummets. It's a frustrating place to be because the team is not in a position to sell a lot of its assets.

Passan floated the idea of salary dumping Ian Happ's contract, which still has $40 million to be paid out over the next two seasons. Happ likely won't attract many suitors with that contract given his overall numbers on the year. The 29-year-old also has a full no-trade clause in his deal, which makes him even harder to move. It's a similar story for Jameson Taillon, who has a ten-team no-trade clause with $36 million in 2025 and 2026 combined.

Selling can not be an option for the Cubs at the MLB Trade Deadline.

Pitchers Drew Smyly, Kyle Hendricks and catcher Yan Gomes are the only expiring contracts that the Cubs have this year. But all three men are past their prime and won't garner much capital in return. Relievers like Hector Neris or Mark Leiter Jr. could fetch a decent prospect or two in return, but both men are under contract moving forward. Leiter has two more years of team control while Neris has a team option for 2025. If the team is looking to compete in 2025, then trading arms from their already depleted bullpen would be counterintuitive in the long run.

The Cubs simply are not in a place to sell this year because they did not intend to be a bad team going into the season. They made moves this winter to compete for the playoffs and even the division. Moves like trading for Michael Busch, who could be the team's long-term answer at first base. Or making additions to the pitching staff like Hector Neris and Shota Imanaga, which have mostly paid off so far. Or giving Craig Counsell the largest managerial contract in baseball history.

Simply put, the Cubs just need to play better baseball moving forward to avoid the nightmare scenario of owning a seller's record at the trade deadline but having little to offer.