The Chicago Cubs wouldn’t really trade Nico Hoerner - would they?

Despite being in last place and 10 games out in the division, this is a Cubs roster that's not built to sell at next month's trade deadline.
Houston Astros v Chicago Cubs
Houston Astros v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

Lately, it's a matter of how the Cubs will lose games rather than if they will. Despite back-to-back quality starts from Justin Steele and Kyle Hendricks to open the series in San Francisco this week, Chicago's bullpen blew both games, sending the team to last place in the NL Central, a whopping 10 games back in late June.

Given where they find themselves in the standings, one could hardly be blamed for viewing the Cubs as sellers. But thanks to an expanded postseason format and a roster with very few logical trade chips, Jed Hoyer continues to insist his team will turn things around and, if anything, will be buyers come July.

But what if the free fall continues? At some point, the front office won't have a choice but to turn the page and look ahead to 2025. Of course, that decision could be complicated by the fact Hoyer is heading into the final year of his contract, but that's a topic for another time. Arizona Phil recently suggested none other than Nico Hoerner - a name few have seriously considered as a trade asset.

After all, it was just last spring that Hoerner and the Cubs came to terms on a three-year, $35 million extension that runs through the 2026 season. That alone suggested Hoyer and the organization view him as a key long-term asset. But, like I said, with the exception of Mike Tauchman and, if he can continue his midseason turnaround, Kyle Hendricks, there aren't many typical trade pieces on this roster.

Nico Hoerner would garner a ton of trade interest given his skillset

Hoerner brings elite defense up the middle and is on pace to swipe 20 bags for the third straight year, coming off a career-high 43 stolen bases in 2023. He's surpassed 4.0 bWAR in each of the last two seasons but has struggled offensively this year, evidenced by a .660 OPS and 88 OPS+.

He's really struggled in the month of June, batting just .200/.307/.215 in 75 trips to the plate. But even with his production down, he possesses an elite eye, ranking in the 98th percentile in both chase and K rate, while also walking at a well above-average clip. All this to say, the Cubs probably wouldn't have trouble finding interest in Hoerner on the open market.

So if the Cubs traded him, what would the lineup look like in the second half? You'd probably see more of Michael Busch at second, with Cody Bellinger slotted in at first and an outfield mix of Ian Happ, Seiya Suzuki and Pete Crow-Armstrong.

Honestly, I personally don't see Hoerner going anywhere, so this is all likely a fruitless exercise. But it's at least worth starting to think about creative ways the Cubs could re-tool for 2025 if they continue their abysmal play in the coming weeks because one thing is clear: this is nowhere near a championship-caliber team.