Ranking 3 Chicago Cubs position players by likelihood of being traded

The Chicago Cubs are almost certainly going to sell at the trade deadline, and there are certain position players that stand out as trade chips more than others.
Houston Astros v Chicago Cubs
Houston Astros v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
1 of 3

As the Chicago Cubs prepare for a brutal stretch including games against the Phillies, Cardinals, and Orioles, the harsh reality has set in that this team will likely sell at the trade deadline. Currently, they sit at a season-high seven games below .500, 11 games back of the first-place Brewers, and 5 games back of a wild card. The team is leaps and bounds from being a true playoff contender and the goal now, barring a miraculous turnaround, should be to turn toward 2025 and beyond.

This was never the goal for the 2024 Cubs. After barely missing the playoffs following a late-season collapse last year, the hope was that the hiring of Craig Counsell combined with the return of Cody Bellinger and additions like Shota Imanaga and Michael Busch would be enough to get the team over the hump. However, Jed Hoyer even admitted that this team would still need things to break their way to be a true contender, especially since a true superstar or any other substantial additions weren’t brought in during the offseason. There was always a built-in possibility that underperformance could lead to disaster.

Now, they find themselves in an unenviable position. They lack obvious trade chips unless they want to be aggressive sellers because many of the players are locked up on multi-year deals. However, with a bloated $227 million payroll, there are serious questions about how or if this team will be able to reset for 2025, even with substantial money coming off the books. Big, proactive moves need to be made to prevent this team from sliding into another rebuild.

Rumors have been flying about the team's position player core of late, and there are a few interesting candidates among the bunch. Let's look at three players that are likely to drive some interest and rank them based on their likelihood of being traded when the deadline comes on July 30.

#3. Cody Bellinger

Of the position players currently drawing interest, Bellinger is maybe the most complicated trade candidate for the Cubs. The team signed him to a 3-year, $80 million contract in the offseason with multiple opt-outs, banking on him replicating his 2023 performance while still hedging for the future.

He's still been a productive player bouncing between first base and center field, but the power has all but vanished for him. On the season, his .267/.327/.416 slash line and 109 wRC+ are perfectly fine, but not for a player being paid that much to be the team's offensive centerpiece and for someone who struggles mightily in key moments. Even after a slow start to the year, his power numbers have continued to dip of late and the lack of home runs (9) has reflected that.

That said, for a team like the Yankees, who aren't banking on Bellinger being the centerpiece of their offense, he's not a bad option to slot in especially since he doesn't really strike out much at a 17.2% mark. The problem for anyone acquiring him, however, is that contract. While I initially felt that an opt-out seemed likely for Bellinger, that's becoming harder to justify by the day as the power numbers continue to disappoint. Anyone acquiring him would likely understand the risks and be more wary about taking him on out of fear that he'll stick around on a far too expensive deal.

As mentioned above, there has been interest from the Yankees as well as the Rangers, but Bellinger's contract may substantially hamstring the return the Cubs could get. Still, his lack of long-term impact on the roster means he'd be one of the easier to move without jeopardizing future seasons.