If the Cubs sell, here are 4 players who could move before the MLB trade deadline

If the Cubs sell, here are 4 players who could move before the MLB trade deadline, originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Although there are still three weeks to go before the MLB trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs haven’t indicated whether they will be buyers or sellers, but as the second half of the season begins, it’s worth noting. determine that players could be moved by the club.

As it stands, the Cubs are seven games away from first place in the National League Central with the deadline approaching August 1, and with a somewhat easy schedule approaching that deadline, it There’s a reason President Jed Hoyer and GM Carter Hawkins haven’t pitched in yet.

Even still, seven games is quite a bit of ground to make up with two teams ahead in the standings, and therefore, we’re looking at the players the Cubs could potentially move should they decide to sell at the deadline.

Bellinger struggled a lot in his final seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he’s really started to find his form with the Cubs, hitting nine homers and hitting 29 RBIs while posting an .846 OPS so far. this season.

Even with that success, Bellinger could be an intriguing piece to deal with at the deadline, given he has a mutual option with the Cubs for 2024, and he could look to build on his successes this season.

There’s certainly an argument to be made that the Cubs should be looking to retain Bellinger, especially with the versatility he offers by being able to play both center field and first base. It gives the Cubs some cover in case Pete Crow-Armstrong or Matt Mervis falter in their efforts to get the 2024 roster off the ground, and his bat is definitely good for a team that has struggled in the power department.

Hendricks wasn’t at his best in 2022 even before being stopped for the season with a capsule tear in his throwing shoulder, but he’s bouncing back nicely in 2023 with a 3.04 ERA in 53.1 innings of work, and in the final year of his contract, he could also intrigue some pitching-starved teams at the deadline.

Of the Cubs to deal with before this point, Hendricks won’t fetch the biggest return, but giving him a chance to go to a competitive club on the eve of free agency could be a steal if that’s what. he wants to do.

That being said, it’s very valuable to have him to help guide young pitchers on the roster, and the decision may ultimately come down to how Hendricks feels at this point in his career.

Okay, so trading Leiter probably wouldn’t be a popular decision based on his performance this season as one of the most reliable arms in the bullpen, but a team could very well give the Cubs a solid comeback. if they chose to move it.

After all, Leiter has a 3.19 ERA and racked up 52 strikeouts in 36.2 innings of work, his splitter being one of the most devastating pitches in baseball.

That’s not to say he could command the type of comeback Scott Effross made last season when the Cubs acquired Hayden Wesneski, but if the Cubs can get a controllable asset that would bolster their roster for next season, having Leiter serving this piece might be a wise move.

Truly, the only player on everyone’s mind at the deadline will be Stroman, who is having one of the best seasons of his career and has repeatedly stated his desire to stay in Chicago.

That being said, there has been no movement to convince him not to exercise his opt-out, and absent a new contract, the Cubs would be at significant risk should they decide to keep him. beyond the deadline.

The math here dictates that if the Cubs are going to allow Stroman to explore free agency, then they need to get him back now. He is not eligible for a qualifying offer, so their strategy with Willson Contreras last season cannot be replicated in this situation.

A strong case can be made for keeping Stroman, because he can be one of the first two or three arms in a rotation if the Cubs really make an effort to compete in 2024, or to trade him, because he has this clause of non-participation which could become a complicating factor in the teams’ willingness to pursue him in a deal.

The only variable to keep in mind is the presence of other weapons on the market, which could impact its value. The Cubs have a tough decision to make, and the only wrong move in this situation would be complete inaction.

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