Everyone inside and outside of Chicago know that the Chicago Cubs need an ace pitcher. Looking up and down their roster and farm system, there is not one pitcher you can look at and say “There is the ace pitcher who can stop a losing streak”. The Cubs do not have one single pitcher who could join another one and instantly be their number one pitcher.
Before you start naming off names, that pitcher certainly is not Jeff Samardzija. While he does have top of the rotation talent, he has never been able to put together an entire season to make you think he can be that guy. Do not even think about Edwin Jackson, nothing in his entire career suggests that he will ever be more than a number three pitcher. While he is not nearly as bad as he was in 2013, he is not a dominating pitcher who you feel like you are going to win each and every time he takes the mound. How about Travis Wood? Despite former Cubs Manager Dale Sveum’s assertion that Wood was “pretty much” the best pitcher in the National League last year, looking at him to be your teams ace would be a mistake.
That leaves looking in either free agency or a trade to get that number one pitcher. Looking at the free agent list, there is not much to be desired. While there may very well be some talented pitchers on the market, none of them should really be considered an ace pitcher at this point. That could mean that there is only one avenue to look at if you want the Cubs to find that ace pitcher. The Cubs may have to back up the truck and trade for one.
Throughout the season, the main name rumored to be on the trade block has been David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays. Any team would love to have him, and would if they were to trade for him, would basically have to give up the farm to get him. But recently, a new name has entered the circulation of trade rumors, and that is Max Scherzer.
Over his career, Scherzer has been a pretty reliable pitcher who has always been able to give his team enough to win a ball game. While he was never really considered the ace for the Tigers (due in part to someone named Justin Verlander) he has always been considered a top pitcher in the American League with pitchers that could really handcuff the opposition.
However, this past season Scherzer stepped up his game and showed the baseball world that he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. This past season, he apparently flipped the switch and put everything together. He dominated the American League from beginning to end, and in my opinion is a no brainer for the Cy Young award. Which is only going to make the asking price for him even higher. Some teams may not be able to afford what is surely going to be an unbelievably high package demand for their young stud pitcher.
Their asking price is likely going to cause several team to do a double take, and eventually back out of the Scherzer Derby. There are not too many teams that can afford to meet the demands of what the Tigers will want in return. The Cubs, however, are actually one of the few teams who would be able to go toe to toe with anyone else in trade talks for Scherzer, or just about anyone in baseball on the trade block.
The question is, should the Cubs dip their toe in the waters and attempt to trade for someone who could be their ace pitcher for years to come? I am not so sure that they should.
As badly as the Cubs need that one true ace pitcher, are you willing to sell the farm in order to get him? Do you want to trade away everything Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer worked for these past two years? A trade for Scherzer might be a bit shortsighted. While you have your dominating pitcher, you lose the position players who are supposed to be the keys to the organizations future.
As good as Scherzer is, are you willing to give up Javier Baez or Kris Bryant to get him? Chances are pretty good the Tigers may start negotiations off by asking for one of them. If you want to trade for one of the best pitchers in baseball, you better be willing to trade away one of your best minor league prospects to get him, if not two of them. Baez or Bryant might just be the capper in the deal as they may also want Albert Almora or Jorge Soler in the package as well.
There may very well be fans who will be in favor of trading for him, even at the cost of emptying out the farm system of any talent, but I have to disagree. I would love to have either Scherzer or Price on the Cubs, but the cost to acquire either one will be unbelievably high. Mortgaging the future for one piece is not worth making this deal.
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