It’s one of those concepts – and it must be SHOUTED – that sounds great in those angry moments, but loses a lot of steam in the light of the following day.
That urge to “just DO something” rarely leads to a well-reasoned, useful, and productive trade. Thankfully, this front office doesn’t engage in shakeup trades just for the sake of shaking things up. If they were going to make a really surprising and significant trade, the “shake up” would be more of a byproduct than the thing itself.
At the newly-video-only Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal reports that “anything and everything is under consideration with the Cubs,” including the possibility of trading a young position player to “snap the team to attention.”
Now, then. It is possible that the young Cubs core needs a refocusing event – something to remind them that success is not a given – but trading a core piece expressly for those purposes sure doesn’t sound like this front office. Instead, if the Cubs were to trade one of their big league position players, you’d assume it would be for a return that the front office genuinely believes makes the team better in the near and long term – a controlled position player for a controlled starting pitcher, for example.
The thing is, Rosenthal goes on to point out precisely what I would have if he’d left his report there: whom exactly would you trade? It obviously ain’t gonna be Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo. Willson Contreras has become far too important to move. The front office loves Kyle Schwarber’s offensive upside. Addison Russell’s value is way down right now thanks to poor performance and the domestic violence investigation. Javy Baez is the Cubs’ only capable back-up shortstop (among many other wonderful things). Ian Happ is one of the few guys actually contributing offensively right now. Albert Almora is not expressly mentioned by Rosenthal, but I’d question how much value he’d have in trade right now given the way the Cubs have elected to use (or, more specifically, not use) him.
So, in the end, maybe the whole point here is simply the message, intended or not: although the front office has said – and undoubtedly believes – that the primary improvement on this team in the second half will have to come from the guys already in house, that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is locked onto the team if the right trade opportunity presents itself. It’s hard to imagine certain players being traded, but it’s also a grim reality that the Cubs’ pitching situation threatens to get even worse after this season.
If a deal involving a position player brings the right arm back that helps this year and beyond? There’s no reason for the front office, right now, to categorically close the door on that possibility today.