One might think that with the flurry of activity that has recently surrounded the Chicago Cubs, that the Hoystein brothers may be done dealing. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. While they technically don't have to do much more, the Cubs have given every indication that there may be more moves left in the tank. Heck, WSCR's Bruce Levine thinks so.
So what's next? Well, how about a rotation upgrade, such as a trade for Tyson Ross from the San Diego Padres...or Carlos Carrasco / Danny Salazar from the Indians?
True, the team has pitching depth to spare. There are multiple candidates for the fourth and fifth spots after they added John Lackey to the third position in the rotation. A starting three of Arrieta, Lester and Lackey is solid, but they may need a fourth starter if they go far in the playoffs, and we all know injuries can rear their ugly heads so I'd rather see a known commodity as #4 instead of one of the depth guys.
Despite having parts like Adam Warren, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs may prefer to get someone in trade who will give the team a guy they can go to in the playoffs while letting the rest battle it out for the fifth slot. But what would it take for a trade with the Padres for Ross or the Indians for either Carrasco or Salazar?
Of course, it seems almost all the chatter revolves around Jorge Soler and that does make sense to me. Although I still think he could be a beast if he played a full season, he doesn't play defense particularly well, plus you have this not-so-unimportant issue of just having paid $184M for a guy whose best position is right field.
But if you move Soler, while it allows you to use Heyward in RF, then you have a hole again in CF.
So in addition to starting pitching, the Cubs brain trust are likely still looking at center fielders. Who? Well, start with Ender Inciarte from Atlanta. Incarciate does not hit homers, but he did slug 27 doubles in 2015. His best points are defense, running and hitting for average,
But he doesn't walk a lot so he may not fit the Hoystein's ideal philosophy. That said, Atlanta would probably be amenable to flipping him in the right situation, and they want prospects. But would the Cubs trade one of Baez and/or Soler for Inciarte, who slashed .303/.338/.408? He's a good young player, acquired from Arizona recently in the Shelby Miller deal, and would be under team control for four more years, but only Cubs brass can answer that question
Another possibility is a reunion for Dexter Fowler, even though I've been writing that I didn't think that was going to happen. I still do not think so; however, if he comes down on the number of years he wants, it's not impossible. Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna is yet another possibility, as his name has been all over the rumor mills this offseason, as is Charlie Blackmon from the Rockies.
But in addition to another starter, and a center fielder, the Cubs may be also looking for an eighth or even ninth inning reliever. The Rays' Jake McGee is a lefty who is solid and is heading to arbitration this winter, so he could be available. But they could also make an even bigger splash and go for a closer, moving Hector Rondon to the eighth inning and setting up a Royals-like situation.
More to come.