7 Players Cubs Must Aim for MLB 2020 Trade Deadline | Bleacher report

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    Tony Dejak / Associated Press

    The Chicago Cubs are in the midst of the NL post-season match with an 18-12 record and with this year’s expanded playoff format, they are in an ideal position to play in October.

    But the North Siders roster is not without its flaws.

    The team has stumbled to a record of 5-9 in their last 14 games since the start of the year 13-3. A losing bullpen that ranks 29th in the majors with an ERA of 5.79 seems to be the area of ​​need most evident as the trade deadline approaches.

    Meanwhile, the bench has delivered virtually nothing in terms of offensive production.

    David Bote (78 PA, .214 BA, 91 OPS +), Nico Hoerner (71 PA, .250 BA, 77 OPS +), Albert Almora Jr. (31 PA, .185 BA, 43 OPS +) and Josh Phegley ( 18 PA, .063 BA, 12 OPS +) are all pawing on the plate. Pinches are only 3 by 21.

    With that in mind, our list of seven potential commercial targets for the Cubs consists of bullpen arms and versatile bench clubs.

    Don’t expect flashy additions as the team is working on a tight budget. Top prospects Brailyn Marquez, Miguel Amaya, and Brennen Davis are going nowhere in these offers.

    These are complementary pieces that would provide welcome support in the pursuit of a long line of playoffs.

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    Paul Sancya / Associated Press

    Statistics 2020: 11G, 4 HLD, 5.23 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 3 BB, 5K, 10.1 IP

    Ranked as potential # 2 in the Detroit Tigers system before the 2015 season, Buck Farmer failed to express his potential as a starter, but found a home in the bullpen.

    The 29-year-old recorded an ERA of 3.72 and 1.27 WHIP in 73 appearances for the team with the Tigers last season, and a change in court usage has led to an interesting increase in his ground ball rate this year.

  • 2019: Fastball (48.8%), Foreign exchange (26.0%), Slider (25.0%)
  • 2020: Fastball (56.3%), Foreign exchange (32.9%), Slider (10.8%)

Throwing his cursor less meant throwing to contact more. His strikeout rate dropped from 9.7 to 4.4 for nine innings, but his ground ball rate skyrocketed from 47.3 to 57.9 percent.

He had an ERA of 2.89 in his first 10 appearances this season before conceding three earned runs in a working inning on Wednesday, so he pitched better than his surface level numbers might indicate.

Throwing in front of the Cubs excellent internal defense could be a recipe for further success.

Add in the fact that it is controllable until 2022 and makes a very reasonable $ 1.15 million this year, and it looks like a strong short and long term addition to the Cubs bullpen.

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    Nick Wass / Associated Press

    Statistics 2020: 108 PA, .260 / .333 / .490 (117 OPS +), 11 XBH (5 hours), 17 RBI

    The reigning World Series champions are 11-16 with a minus six run differential, leaving them in the NL East basement roughly mid-season.

    Yes, they returned from a 19-31 start a year ago, but with Anthony Rendon gone and Stephen Strasburg out for the year, this isn’t the same team.

    The Washington Nationals are unlikely to blow up the roster with their window to contend still open in 2021, but they could sell some pieces in the short term in an effort to add depth to one of baseball’s more subtle farm systems.

    Asdrubal Cabrera hit .323 with 145 OPS + in 146 plate appearances with the Nats in the stretch last season after the Texas Rangers released him. Washington then signed it back for a one-year, $ 2.5 million contract.

    As a switch-hitter capable of playing both second and third base, he would provide the Cubs roster with flexibility and production in a part-time role.

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    Jack Dempsey / Associated Press

    Statistics 2020: 11G, 5 HLD, 0.93 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 1 BB, 8K, 9.2 IP

    With 617 career appearances to his credit, good for ninth among active pitchers, Tony Watson is the definition of a seasoned veteran.

    The 35-year-old has recovered well this season after posting a record-breaking 4.17 ERA during a 2019 season that ended prematurely with a fractured left wrist.

    With 30 saves and 222 tricks in 10 MLB seasons, he has seen plenty of high-performing work and also has a 2.25 ERA in 16 career post-season appearances.

    Cubs team president Theo Epstein mentioned a left handed reliever or a right handed reliever with reverse platoon numbers as an area of ​​need when talking to reporters last week.

    With an average of .230 and .602 OPS in 826 career appearances against left-handed hitters, Watson fits the mold, and what’s left of his one-year salary, $ 3 million should fit comfortably on the payroll.

    For what it’s worth, Watson has an ERA of 2.77 and a WHIP of 1.08 in 24 career appearances at Wrigley Field, and he’s very familiar with friendly borders since his launch for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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    Charlie Riedel / Associated Press

    Statistics 2020: 117 PA, .273 / .371 / .475 (130 OPS +), 12 XBH (4 HR), 14 RBI

    Tommy La Stella led the majors with 24 pinch hits for the Cubs during the 2018 season, a staggering total that was 11 more than any other player that year.

    Despite that performance, the Cubs sold him that offseason to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for left-handed relief Conor Lillis-White in what amounted to roster maintenance.

    With an expanded role in LA, he landed .300 / .353 / .495 with 16 home runs and 44 RBI in 78 games during the first half to earn an All-Star nod. Unfortunately, a fractured right tibia limited him to two games in the second half and abruptly ended his breakout season.

    The 31-year-old picked up exactly where he left off with a certificate of good health this season, posting 130 OPS + while counting more walks (15) than strikeouts (7).

    He’s a post-season free agent playing for an Angels team with the worst record in the American League, so he’s an obvious commercial candidate. On the Cubs side, his tenant status and reasonable salary should be part of the club’s plans.

    With Jason Kipnis currently backed by an unsustainably high BABIP .379 while serving as a starting second base, La Stella would provide a contingency plan if Kipnis production were to decline and excellent depth in the infield.

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    Carlos Osorio / Associated Press

    Statistics 2020: 6G, 1 GS, 2.40 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 3 BB, 12K, 15.0 IP

    At his peak of perspective, Daniel Norris was number 18 of the Baseball America the 100 best prospects before the 2015 season. That summer, the Toronto Blue Jays sold him to Detroit in the hit deal that sent David Price the other side.

    Injuries and a diagnosis of thyroid cancer in 2015 prevented him from reaching his full potential, but he flashed in 2019 when he posted an ERA of 4.49 with 125 strikeouts in a career 144.1 inning.

    In his 2020 debut, he allowed four strokes, two walks and two runs earned in 1.2 innings as he threw 54 shots, and Detroit promptly moved him to the bullpen.

    In four major appearances, all with more than three outs, he has 1.59 ERA and 0.62 WHIP with 11 strikeouts and one walk in 11.1 innings.

    “It’s different, but it’s not as big of a problem as I thought it could be,” Norris told reporters after a recent outing. “You just have to take the ball and start ripping. I melt fast enough and ready to go anytime.”

    He’s been removed from free agency a year ago, and with Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal already called to the majors and potential colleague Matt Manning probably not far behind, the Tigers seem ready to move on.

    In theory, the 27-year-old could fill a similar role to what Mike Montgomery provided during his time with the Cubs.

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    Ray Carlin / Associated Press

    Statistics 2020: 8G, 3 HLD, 1.04 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 4 BB, 12K, 8.2 IP

    Prior to the 2020 season, Joely Rodriguez had last pitched into the majors in 2017 when he was knocked out for a 6.33 ERA and 1.93 WHIP in 26 appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

    After bouncing between Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles Triple-A affiliates, he moved overseas and signed with the Japanese League’s Chunichi Dragons midway through the 2018 season.

    He returned to the Dragons in 2019 and emerged as one of their best rescuers, recording a 1.64 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 77 strikeouts in 60.1 innings while making 64 appearances.

    This put him back on MLB’s radar and he signed a two-year $ 5.5 million deal that includes a $ 3 million club option for 2022 with Rangers in the latest offseason.

    A sinker pitcher when he first reached the majors discarded the slider in favor of a change. He’s throwing that pitch 29.0% of the time this season, and he hasn’t yet allowed a hit with it as he records five of his 12 strikeouts.

    In other words, it has reinvented itself and the first returns are extremely promising.

    Whether Rangers will be willing to part ways with him before the deadline remains to be seen. His two remaining years of team-friendly control and excellent performance since early 2019 highlights him as a dark horse goal that could really make a difference in the Chicago bullpen.

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    Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press

    Statistics 2020: 14G, 7/7 SV, 3.29 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7 BB, 21K, 13.2 IP

    Trevor Rosenthal saved a record 48 games at the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015, earning an All-Star selection while posting a 2.10 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 10.9 K / 9.

    He failed to match that level of success in subsequent seasons while dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness, and he missed the entire 2018 season recovering from Tommy John’s surgery.

    The Washington Nationals risked getting back in shape in 2019, signing him a one-year $ 7 million deal, but released him in June after he posted an unsavory 22.74 ERA in 12 appearances.

    It didn’t fare much better after the Detroit Tigers came off the scrap heap, and ended the year with an ERA of 13.50 and more walks (26) than strikeout (17) in 15.1 innings.

    Unsurprisingly, he had to settle for a minor league deal last season, but he made his way up the Kansas City roster with a strong spring and is once again pitching as a closer frontline.

    The 30-year-old will be a free agent again this upcoming offseason, so he’s an obvious commercial chip, and his $ 2 million pro-rata salary makes him an ideal rental target for contenders.

    Rowan Wick and Jeremy Jeffress have done a respectable job in the late inning since Craig Kimbrel was ousted from the role, and the addition of Rosenthal to the mix would further strengthen the late game situation on the north side.

    All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. All stats are updated for Wednesday’s matches.



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