Chicago Cubs: Potential trade packages for J.A. Happ

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J.A. Happ, Chicago Cubs

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

 With the July 31st MLB non-waiver trade deadline steadily approaching, the Chicago Cubs have been involved in a multitude of rumors. Could they make an offer for Toronto Blue Jays All-Star starter J.A. Happ?

At 52-37, the Chicago Cubs have enjoyed a successful first-half of the 2018 MLB season. However, there’s still work to be done — lot of it. The Cubs currently sit 1.5 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers as of Wednesday morning.

Despite having one of the league’s best offenses, a reliable defense and solid bullpen, the Cubs have a hole-or-two to fill come the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline.

One of those holes is starting pitching.

Cubs starters have a combined 3.94 ERA, good for league-average. Unfortunately for the Cubs, pitching wins you championships, and “league-average” doesn’t quite cut it.

Jon Lester has had an All-Star first-half. Jose Quintana has struggled at times but ultimately has been his consistent self. Mike Montgomery has done a spectacular job as the fifth starter.

But past that, it’s been nothing but ugly for the North Siders.

Kyle Hendricks has struggled mightily (5-8, 4.27 ERA), as his ERA is up more than a full run from last seasons (3.03).

Yu Darvish has been on the disabled list since May 26th but didn’t do much of anything before that, going 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts.

Cubs fans need not panic yet.

It’s not too late to fix the Cubs pitching woes. As a matter of fact, Theo Epstein has a track-record of acquiring pitching in July:

2015: Clayton Richard, Tommy Hunter

2016: Aroldis Chapman

2017: Jose Quintana, Justin Wilson

One thing in common between those three seasons? The Cubs played in the National League Championship Series in all three.

Let’s take a look at how Theo can make it four with the help of some more pitching.

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