The Chicago Cubs are fresh off their first World Series title in 108 years and now they’re hungry for more. With the nucleus of team-controlled bats they have, there’s no reason to think they can’t be baseball’s next dynasty. However, they’re going to need to make some changes this offseason in order to stay on top in 2017.
For starters, the bullpen is going to need some work. Also, the logjam in the outfield needs to get figured out. Here are five trades that could solve those and a number of other issues this offseason.
5. OF Jorge Soler, IF/OF Ian Happ, 3B Jeimer Candelario to Rays for SP Chris Archer
The Cubs declined Jason Hammel’s $12 million team option, leaving one spot in the rotation up for grabs. If the team can’t find a replacement in the trade market they like, they will slide Mike Montgomery there as he’s young, under team control and adds another lefty to the mix.
However, if they decide to go the trade route, they could sell the Rays on trading their ace in order to grab three young, talented players who would be playing in Tampa Bay for a long time. Soler is injury prone and a liability in the field, but he has matured at the plate and has plus power.
Happ and Candelario are two promising hitting prospects that would add to the Rays’ increasingly impressive farm system. Imagine the Cubs slotting Archer as their fifth starter. That is some scary stuff.
4. OF Jorge Soler, 3B Jeimer Candelario to Rays for RP Alex Colome
Based on the logjam in the outfield, the Cubs are all but guaranteed to trade Soler and it will likely be for relief pitching unless they find a starter they can package him for. Among the best relievers that could be available is Colome, the closer for Tampa Bay.
Colome would instantly step into the closer role for the Cubs with other good back-end options. From the Cubs’ perspective, giving up Soler and Candelario would be a small price to pay to shore up a bullpen that looks relatively shoddy heading into the offseason.
3. OF Eloy Jimenez to Brewers for RP Tyler Thornburg
Thornburg is thought of as an up-and-coming relief pitcher in the league and the Cubs could be interested in making him their set-up man at the very least. If they go that route, there’s a very good chance the team makes Carl Edwards Jr. its closer to start the year. That would give them Thornburg, Hector Rondon, and Pedro Strop setting up for Edwards.
Jimenez is one of the Cubs’ top hitting prospects and it would make a ton of sense for the Brewers to grab him while they can. With a logjam already in the outfield, the Cubs aren’t going to have much room for him in the near future. Giving up a reliever to get a potential impact bat should be a no brainer for Milwaukee.
2. OF Jorge Soler to Braves for RP Arodys Vizcaino, RP Mauricio Cabrera
This all depends on how highly the Braves think of Soler. In the past, they have been interested in the power-hitting outfielder, as Eric Cole of SB Nation wrotelast offseason. It is unknown their level of interest now. This deal would get the Cubs Vizcaino whom they acquired from Atlanta and then traded back the following season. He has injury issues, but electric stuff when he’s healthy.
Cabrera hasn’t proven himself yet, but he throws triple digits and is projectable as a late-inning reliever. This would be among the highest ceiling moves the Cubs could make, but they also wouldn’t be guaranteed anything from these two relatively unproven relievers.
1. OF Jorge Soler to Phillies for RP Jeanmar Gomez
This would be a best-case scenario for the Cubs. Philadelphia needs team-controlled bats, especially in the outfield. So, would they be willing to part with Gomez, who closed games for them for most of 2016? Looking toward the future, they should be.
Soler gives them a significant bat in the lineup and they should have other arms coming up that can at least partially make up for the loss of Gomez. Again, this makes sense for the Cubs, because it alleviates the outfield logjam while adding to a back-end bullpen that could be very solid with one or two more arms.
[Featured Image by Nam Y. Huh/AP Images]