Matching the Chicago Cubs With Their Most Likely MLB Trade Deadline Targets
By Dan Israeli
The Chicago Cubs are currently in a dog fight for the NL Central crown, which is arguably the most competitive division in MLB. The Cubs have been pretty active at the deadline in recent years, and they could be poised to make another big move here.
Having already locked up a closer with their signing of Craig Kimbrel, the Cubs could target both starting pitching and some offensive help at the deadline. Here are five players the team could make a run at ahead of the July 31 MLB Trade Deadline.
5. Whit Merrifield, 2B, Kansas City Royals
It's uncertain how much trade capital the Cubs are willing to spend, but if they are interested in making a big move, Whit Merrifield could be a great fit. Kansas City's dynamic leadoff hitter has it all, with defensive ability, speed and he's a great hitter to boot. Due to his five-tool skillset, the Royals will likely demand a king's ransom for Merrifield, but Chicago figures to be involved if he becomes available.
4. Nick Castellanos, OF, Detroit Tigers
If the Cubs are interested in acquiring a serviceable corner outfielder instead, there should be a number of more affordable options on the market. One is Tigers' outfielder Nick Castellanos, who is having a solid season in Detroit. While his power numbers are low this season (just 10 homers in 361 at-bats) Castellanos does have 32 doubles so far and a .283 batting average. He would be a nice addition to the Cubs' outfield, and could allow Jason Heyward to spend more time in centerfield.
3. David Peralta, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Another corner outfielder option for the Cubs is David Peralta of the Diamondbacks. Peralta got off to a great start this season, but injuries have derailed his numbers and he is currently on the IL with a right shoulder injury that has kept him out since July 3. Due to his injury and contract status (Peralta is up for arbitration in 2020), the Cubbies could get him on the cheap. When he is ready to return, Peralta could be a great option against righties as he currently sports a .319/.379/.546 batting line against them on the season.
2. Zack Wheeler, SP, New York Mets
The Cubs haven't been linked to many starting pitchers this season, but one name that's popped is Mets' righty Zack Wheeler. While their rotation is filled with solid options, the Cubs are currently without Cole Hamels, who is on the IL with an oblique strain that could linger into August. Due to the unpredictability of Hamels' injury, Wheeler could be a great insurance policy for the Cubs.
1. Starlin Castro, 2B, Miami Marlins
One of the top trade rumors for Chicago has been a reunion with Starlin Castro, who began his career with the Cubs and played six seasons with the team. The Cubs, in addition to lacking strong options at second base, could also really use another bat against lefties. Despite his overall decline as a hitter, Castro has thrived against lefties this season with a .343 batting average. The trade likely wouldn't require any major prospects, and could be just the move the Cubs need to address a few issues in their lineup without mortgaging anything major from their farm system.
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