In his latest column on a range of topics, Ken Rosenthal mentions something many already expect to be true, but is worth pointing out here because it adds a little smoke. Although the Cubs aren’t inclined to trade any of Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, or Kyle Schwarber, Rosenthal says, they “will at least explore the trade interest they are getting” on Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, and there is already some interest. (I’d note here that Jed Hoyer recently mentioned that the Cubs have had trade conversations with 12 to 15 teams, and, separately but almost certainly relatedly, there is a lot of interest out there in the Cubs’ young hitters.)
The Cubs would target pitchers of the same talent/control, Rosenthal surmises, and that’s obviously logical, given the Cubs’ needs.
Rosenthal also mentions Starlin Castro in the same vein as Baez and Soler – the implication being that the Cubs would consider moving Castro for young pitching – but the value there isn’t quite the same.
None of this should be terribly surprising to you, as the Cubs’ front office has, itself, come very close to outright saying that they would consider dealing young positional talent for young pitching talent (and it’s only fair to presume that Bryant, Russell, and Schwarber are extremely unlikely to be moved). It’s possible the Cubs head into the 2016 season with all of their positional group intact, leaving Joe Maddon with a panoply of mix-and-match possibilities (but not enough regular playing time to go around). It’s also possible that the Cubs leverage their strength and turn positional assets into pitching assets that can make more of an impact on this particular team.
If there’s interest out there in guys like Soler and Baez – and there is – it makes no sense for the Cubs not to see where that interest could go. That doesn’t mean a trade will happen, but it leaves no stone unturned as the Cubs look to improve for 2016.