One area of focus for the Chicago Cubs this off-season has been the determination to add young, quality pitching to the organization. If the Cubs are going to be successful in doing so, the team likely will need to do so through a trade as there are not many talented, young starting pitchers on the free agent market.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Cubs may be willing to dangle some of their top prospects in front of teams for talented pitching prospects. One of those teams may be the Miami Marlins. Heyman reports that both Cubs and Marlins officials could discuss a trade that would exchange top prospects.
The Marlins and Cubs appear to be a match. The Cubs have a farm system that features a plethora of talented position prospects while the Marlins have a farm system that has a bundle top pitching prospects. With the Cubs looking for young pitching and the Marlins looking for young position players, could a trade be in the works between the two teams?
In Heyman’s report, the Cubs prospects mentioned in a potential trade are outfielders Jorge Soler and Albert Almora, and infielders Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. But before Cubs fans over-react to the idea of the team blowing up the 2015 World Series winning team, lets separate the reality from Heyman’s speculation.
Bryant is not going to be traded any time soon. No logical trade would justify the Cubs trading the second overall pick in the MLB draft last season. Beyond that, Bryant can’t be traded until June. Bryant finished the 2013 season with the Daytona Cubs. But in his first 36 games as professional baseball player, Bryant is hitting .336/.390/.688/.1.078 to go along with 9 home runs and 32 RBIs.
Like Bryant, Baez almost certainly will not be traded by the Cubs anytime soon. Baez finished the 2013 season hitting .282/.341/.578/.920 to go along with 37 home runs and 111 RBIs while playing with both the Daytona Cubs and Tennessee Smokies in 2013.
Almora, who hit .329/.376/.466/.842 with the Kane County Cougars this season, is not a likely candidate to be traded either.
A case can be made for the Cubs trading Soler. But even that case would be far-fetched. There has been some red flags raised about Soler this past season but his ceiling is still high. Soler’s 2013 season was cut short due to an injury, but the outfielder hit .281/.343/.467/.810 with the Daytona Cubs this season.
The pitching prospects that Heyman mentions the Cubs could be interested in are Jacob Turner, Nate Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Andrew Heaney, Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley, Jose Urena, and Brian Flynn.
Of all the pitchers mentioned, the Cubs have a connection to Turner. Turner was once a top pitching prospect of the Detroit Tigers. Before the Cubs traded Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers this past season, the front office entertained the idea in past off-seasons of trading Garza to the Tigers for a package that included Turner.
Alvarez threw a no-hitter for the Marlins towards the end of the 2013 season.
Never say never when it comes to MLB trades, but don’t expect the Cubs front office to make a trade that exchanges top prospects. The Cubs front office has spent the past two years building up the team’s farm system. The way the team has done is by trading short-term Major League assets for long-term prospect assets. Such a strategy that can be duplicated this off-season for the Cubs if the team decides to trade starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija.
The Cubs do want young-talented starting pitching but not at the cost of their talented position prospects.