Now that the non-waiver trade deadline has passed, MLB rumors are shifting toward what teams may do in August to bolster their playoff chances. The Chicago Cubs are still looking to make at least one move to improve their offense before the waiver trade deadline on August 31.
The Cubs made a significant trade to upgrade their bullpen by dealing four players to the New York Yankees for southpaw closer Aroldis Chapman. Chicago also made an attempt prior to the non-waiver trade deadline to add a position player for the stretch run, flirting with Oakland A’s outfielder Josh Reddick. However, the Cubs ultimately decided a deal for Reddick would be too expensive, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon feels that his team already has enough quality bats in the lineup to make a long postseason run.
“The biggest thing is for our young hitters to continue to advance. I always talk about the two-strike approach, moving the baseball against better pitchers in moments situationally. We’ve got a couple more months to continue to improve upon that. Yeah, we do have enough. The hitting, there is enough here that we have to incorporate what we’re learning.”
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However, after a hot start, the Cubs’ offense has not been productive as of late. As a team, Chicago hit only.248 in July, and their overall record reflected that drop-off in performance (12-14 for the month). Another issue regarding the Cubs’ offense has been lack of clutch hitting. With runners in scoring position, the team has hit an identical.248 for the season, which is well below the MLB average.
With a rare but realistic opportunity to bring a World Series title home to Chicago, team president Theo Epstein is now faced with the dreaded conundrum of “do I, or don’t I.” Current MLB rumors making the rounds indicate that the Cubs are most definitely keeping an eye on the waiver wire and trade market in an attempt to improve their offense. In addition to their reported interest in Josh Reddick, Fansided reports that Chicago was also inquiring about Jay Bruce prior to the non-waiver trade deadline — both Reddick and Bruce are outfielders who hit left-handed.
If Theo Epstein is intent on adding a lefty bat to the Cubs’ lineup, who might be available? One interesting name that is said to be on the market is Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis. Markakis would not add power to the Chicago lineup, but he is a consistent offensive performer who would also add another veteran presence to the clubhouse. Markakis would also provide steady defensive play to the Cubs’ outfield, something every playoff team needs.
It seems that the decision has already been made that Chicago will look to acquire a left-handed hitter, but only if the cost is very reasonable. The Cubs already passed on an opportunity to bring in Josh Reddick because Oakland simply wanted too much in return. The discussion with the Reds regarding Jay Bruce apparently didn’t go very far, either. Theo Epstein is playing his hand carefully, and that appears to be the right course of action when your team, despite its imperfections, remains the best team in baseball.
The latest MLB rumors signal that the Chicago Cubs are not finished strengthening their roster, although they are treading lightly in the August trade market. What do you think the Cubs should do as they set their sights on the 2016 World Series?
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]