5 Offseason Moves For Cubs: 2. Trade Market

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

The Cubs have been very forthcoming in expressing their desire to be open to trades this offseason. They have finally realized that this team needs a bit of a shakedown and the best way to do that is by being willing to trade some of your most valuable assets.

If you look at where this team has found their biggest holes the past two years, both offensively and defensively, it’s been at Center Field and Second Base. Since Dexter Fowler left, the Cubs have struggled to find his replacement both as an excellent fielder and an everyday leadoff hitter. In 2016, the Cubs relied on Ben Zobrist at Second and in return, he was named World Series MVP. But those days are long gone for him and the Cubs are finally free of his contract (12.5 mil per year).

The past two years, Maddon had tried to fill those holes by a committee approach. At least five different Cubs made an appearance in Center last year, and at least six tried to fill that same-type of void at second base, but none were true answers to the problem.

Option 1: Whit Merrifield

(2B/OF, Kansas City Royals)

Cubs get: Whit Merrifield (CF)

Royals get: Ian Happ (IF/OF), Nico Hoerner (SS), Albert Almora (CF), Cory Abbott (RHP - AA)

It’s unlikely the Royals would move off of Whit Merrifield for anything less than that, and still, it’s a great deal for both sides. The Royals have said they’re not trading Merrifield for anything less than 3-4 MLB ready players.

Why it makes sense for the Cubs:

I’m struggling to find reasons why this doesn’t make sense for the Cubs. Merrifield is a second baseman/utility-outfielder who also hits leadoff. The Cubs have struggled tremendously over the last two years in finding ways to generate runs without hitting home runs. Merrifield’s ability to get on base (.348) and hit well above average (.302), make him a perfect fit for the Cubs. He just completed his first year of a 4 year/$16.25 million extension with a 5th-year club option in 2023. Merrifield also swiped 20 bags last season, the Cubs as a team stole 45. This is a Cinderella slipper type of fit for the Cubs, it’s just going to be a matter of how they’ll have to give up.

Why it makes sense for the Royals:

After a 59-win season, we all know the Royals are nowhere near being ready to compete for a World Series again. That’s why there’s no better time for them to trade their star second-baseman than right now. Ian Happ gives them flexibility as a utility infielder/outfielder and could help to replace Alex Gordon in LF as he’s now a free agent. Almora (.236 / 12 HR / 32 RBI) is a replacement for Billy Hamilton (.218 / 22 SB / 15 RBI) in CF and both Happ and Almora are under team control for the next 3-4 years, respectively, and are extremely cheap. The juice of the deal comes with getting Nico Hoerner and Cory Abbott. Hoerner showed everyone the type of player he will be by hitting .282 with 3 HR, and 17 RBIs in 20 games at the end of the year. But it wasn’t just his numbers that provided a spark, he immediately came into a team that was struggling and found a way to uplift the locker room. The Cubs are SUPER high on Hoerner and they’ll only move him for the right price. Merrifield is that price. Hoerner can make an immediate impact on the Royals and potentially work in as their starting 2B, replacing Merrifield. Couple Hoerner and Adalberto Mondesi (