Three Key Moves Chicago Cubs Execs Must Make Soon

We’re approaching the elusive trade deadline, and with nearly half of 2015 behind us, the young Chicago Cubs have emerged as legitimate contenders. Sure, that may only mean wild card contention, but that’s fine with Chicago’s faithful given Theo’s rebuilding process is nearly finished. With hitting and pitching ranking roughly down the middle in all categories, it’s time Mr. Epstein put the finishing touches on this season, code named “Renaissance” (you’d have to be from Chicago to understand).

These three moves should probably come quickly should the Chicago Cubs wish to compete in October.

Grab Hamels – Or St. Louis Might

Workhorse southpaw Cole Hamels is yet to showcase his pitching for teammates in position to win and is an attractive trade chip for Phillies execs. Chicago Cubs, barring some dramatic second-half snafu, should take wildcard #2 ahead of San Francisco, but they must get their pitching affairs in order. Arguably in his prime, Hamels brings clubhouse leadership, seven innings of work each game and the respect of his younger staffmates. Since Amaro Jr. will be in rebuild mode, I’d push Starlin Castro and perhaps some cash to pad his remaining contract; come winter, Chicago can renegotiate his services. If they fail, St. Louis my rent him in place of Adam Wainwright.

Move Addison Russell To His Position

The gifted second baseman Arismendy Alcantera is slowly figuring out his position, and given the fact he’s committed only two errors at 2B but 10 in the outfield with Chicago, it’s probably time the front office give this kid another chance. Move Addison over to his natural SS position, let Arismendy work second and put Starlin on the trade table. Sure, Addison did commit 25 errors in the minor leagues at shortstop, but he’s also 21. Plenty of life with Chicago Cubs.

Grab A Reliable Closer

Jonathan Papelbon will be one of many Phillies on the move before July, so Chicago should really consider commandeering his services given his clubhouse experience with Boston and 338 career saves. Hector Rondon just isn’t 9th inning material Cubs execs should keep around in September when races get intense, but he would make an excellent setup man or long reliever. As several other teams would vie for Papelbon’s services, Chicago could give up some B-grade farm talent and absorb some cash to boot.

Chicago Cubs fans want results now, will start GoFundMe campaigns to help Chicago win the World Series but will no longer stand behind Theo’s mystical rebuilding plan if anything less than a wildcard berth is achieved. Therefore, it’s time for the Ricketts family to put up, shut up, or sell.

[Photo by Hannah Foslien / Getty Images]