The wild card round is in the books, with the Rangers, Phillies, Twins and Diamondbacks all advancing to the Division Series. But for the Cubs, it's all eyes on the upcoming offseason - one that figures to be busy as Jed Hoyer looks to take his team from a .500 ballclub to a legitimate contender in the National League.
The big rumor swirling around Chicago of late, of course, centers around the Mets' slugging first baseman Pete Alonso, who is reportedly at the top of the team's wish list and has interest in coming to the Cubs. With that in mind, hypothetical trade proposals are already popping up - and this one from Bleacher Report might have fans feeling a tad uncomfortable.
Alonso is a premier power bat, something the Cubs have lacked since dismantling its core back in 2019. But he's on an expiring contract, under control only through 2024, and parting ways with one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball for that would be a tough pill to swallow, even with a top 100 prospect like Kevin Parada coming over in the deal.
Cubs aren't coming off Cade Horton in a Pete Alonso trade
Horton, the Cubs' first round pick from 2022, dazzled in his first year - jumping from A-ball to Double-A and combining to make 21 starts to the tune of a 2.65 ERA. The young right-hander is already drawing some wild comparisons to guys like Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, and the future certainly looks bright for him.
The fact the Cubs opted for Jared Young over Matt Mervis late in the season tells you all you need to know about how the organization is looking at him right now - and he'll almost certainly be available in trade talks this winter.
Alonso and his 46 home runs and 118 RBI alone probably doesn't net you someone like Horton, so the Mets throw in catching prospect Kevin Parada to sweeten this deal. Parada, a former Georgia Tech standout and first-round pick, is MLB Pipeline's #87-ranked prospect. Given Miguel Amaya's solid play in 2023 and Moises Ballesteros' breakout as the Cubs' position player prospect of the year, it's worth wondering though if that's the additional piece Jed Hoyer would need here.
As impressive as Alonso is - and as transformative as he'd be paired up with Cody Bellinger (should the Cubs re-sign him) - coming off Horton would be a tough pill to swallow. I think there are ways to get creative and keep Horton in the fold, while still giving the Mets enough value to come off the three-time All-Star this winter.