Cubs Will Focus Trade Attention on Pitching, But Won’t Rule Other Moves Out

Given the way the Cubs season is going, their current roster needs, and the departures scheduled for this offseason, upgrading the rotation at the upcoming trade deadline has become something of an obvious priority.

The Cubs are already without two original members of the rotation, Kyle Hendricks and Brett Anderson, while two others, John Lackey and Jake Arrieta, are scheduled to become free agents by season’s end. With plenty of interesting prospects and a number of other talented youngsters at the Major League level, a trade for a starting pitcher just makes sense.

Indeed, Cubs’ General Manager Jed Hoyer conceded as much this week: “Pitching’s a priority, now and this winter. We know that’s organizationally where we need to go.”

HOWEVER, he added that the Cubs won’t rule anything else out, either.

As in, a trade for not a pitcher. 

Now, to be sure, fitting in another position player right now would be difficult, but very few of the Cubs’ non pitchers are making much of a statement with their bat anyway. Plus, as I’ve said countless times before, this Cubs front office is creative if it’s anything. If they feel that adding a bat is necessary, then they’ll find a way to do it.

Of course, the Cubs will have to start winning a bit more on their own first, anyway.

“The division thing is a false sense of security,” Hoyer said via CSN Chicago. “I try to measure our team way more against .500, against how we look (on the field) than how we look in the standings, because I think how you look in the standings can be a little bit misleading.” Perhaps he’s right. Are the Cubs a second place team just a game-and-a-half out of first place (yay!) or a team that was below .500 just this past weekend (boo)?

You could argue that the distinction really doesn’t matter all that much. In fact, I think the Cubs have as much or more to gain by adding pieces at the deadline – given their start – than they did last season, and perhaps more so than any other team in baseball. It’s just a different type of gain. Hear me out.

This is a Cubs team that has very clearly underperformed to date, but still projects to win more games by the end of the season than any other team in the NL Central. Unfortunately, because of their slow start, they’re only projected to win 88 games overall. That’s good for first place, sure, but it’s also far from a comfortable cushion. And given the talent in the NL West, there’s almost no shot at entering the playoffs via the Wild Card. So, then, adding 2-4 wins in trade may ultimately be the difference between making the playoffs at all or watching October baseball from home.

For what it’s worth, Dave Cameron recently included the Cubs as one of the nine “definite buyers” at the upcoming trade deadline, for essentially the same reason. And, unsurprisingly, their record is the worst of the nine teams listed and their odds of making the playoffs were second worst. Last season, when the Cubs already had a HUGE lead in the Central, the deadline additions (namely Aroldis Chapman) were almost exclusively about winning in the postseason. This year, they’ll be about getting there in the first place.

In other words, going from 88 wins t0 91 wins is a whole lot more important than going from 100 wins to 103 wins. Fortunately, the Cubs are keeping all doors open and are willing to add on either side of the ball.

Don’t be surprised if they do.


To that end: Here’s the latest from the rumor mill, where Chris Archer and Sonny Gray remain in play, and Brett just wrote about the last specific rumor involving Johnny Cueto.

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

more cubs news

Enhanced Box Score: Giants 5, Cubs 4 – June 24, 2024

Incredible. Truly. It's going beyond the point of believability at this point. The Cubs blew YET ANOTHER save tonight. And this time, they did it by intentionally walking the bases loaded before walking in the game-winning run, just to ......

Dansby Swanson with Two Incredible Defensive Plays Tonight (And Justin Steele is Loving It)

Justin Steele is pitching really well tonight against the San Francisco Giants. But things would've have gone quite as smoothly so far if it weren't for Dansby Swanson. Not once, but TWICE tonight, Swanson has made a Gold Glove caliber...

Pre-Gamin’: Cubs at Giants (8:45 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — The Cubs are starting a four-game, west-coast road trip tonight at Oracle Park. Justin Steele is on the mound for the Cubs, who are running out of time to turn this ship around before the trade deadline...

A West Coast Trip? Sure, Why Not … Cubs vs Giants Series Preview

Cubs vs Giants — In case you missed our earlier conversation, the Cubs upcoming stretch looks like their toughest of the year. And unfortunately, unless they start playing a lot better — immediately — this could be it for the...

An Incredible Week for Matt Shaw Means It’s Award Time

If you have seen Matt Shaw's name a lot this past week, it's because he's been lighting up the Southern League, even more than he already was. Thus, he gets some weekly award honors: https://twitter.com/smokiesbaseball/status/1805326329404870946 Shaw, 22, was the Cubs'...

The Second All-Star Ballot Update is Still Light on Chicago Cubs

Not that you'd expect otherwise at this point, but the Chicago Cubs are not running away with the fan voting for the 2024 position player All-Star starters. You have to go deep to find any Cubs names at all: https://twitter.com/MLB/status/1805286499128328237...

MLBits: Must Read on the Pitching Revolution, Mets, Cards, Kwan, More

MLB NOTES—Once in a while, you come across a story that's an absolute must-read. The Athletic's Andy McCullough delivered that for us this morning with his feature, which helps us understand the school of logic behind the pitching revolution in...

Cubs Farm Report | June 24, 2024: Shaw Blasts Two, Scary Collision, Just Missing Out, More

CUBS PROSPECTS — Matt Shaw blasted a pair of home runs, but a scary collision stole the show in a Tennessee loss that allowed Birmingham to take the first-half division title. Cubs Prospects Report | June 24, 2024 Triple-A Iowa...

He Has Work to Do For Sure, But Making Declarations About Pete Crow-Armstrong’s Offensive Future is Silly

I got pretty annoyed this weekend when I saw a bit from Bob Nightengale's latest: "MLB scouts have insisted all season that Chicago Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong may not be the impact bat that’s been hyped, and so far they’ve...

This Next Stretch Will Define the Cubs Season – And it’s Arguably Their Toughest of the Year

The Chicago Cubs are four games under .500, eight games out of first place, and nothing seems to be going right for them. So naturally, the universe is delivering one its toughest stretches of the season. And for the Cubs,...

Latest News

Cubs vs. Giants: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Chicago Cubs (37-42), led by Christopher Morel, visit Matt Chapman and the San Francisco Giants (37-42) on Tuesday at 9:45 PM ET.Keep reading to see how to watch the Chicago-San Francisco matchup below.When is Cubs vs. Giants and when...

How to Watch 2024 Copa America Today TV Channel and Live Stream | Tuesday, June 25

Looking to watch the 2024 Copa America matches on Tuesday? You're in the luck. Below, we've listed the start times and TV channels for every match.There is coverage available for all the action in the Copa America today, and we...

Yankees vs. Mets: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 25

On Tuesday, a series opener is on the schedule, with the New York Mets (37-39) hosting the New York Yankees (52-28) at 7:10 PM ET.Curious about who's playing for the Yankees and the Mets? Keep scrolling to see complete injury...

Phillies vs. Tigers: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 25

The Detroit Tigers (36-42) take on the Philadelphia Phillies (52-26), who will be attempting to extend a three-game winning streak, Tuesday at 6:40 PM ET, at Comerica Park.Looking to see who's available to play for the Phillies and the Tigers?...

Braves vs. Cardinals: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 25

The St. Louis Cardinals (40-37) will attempt to build on a four-game winning run on Tuesday versus the Atlanta Braves (43-33), with first pitch at 7:45 PM ET at Busch Stadium.Want to see who's in and who's out for the...

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 25

At Fenway Park on Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox (three consecutive wins) play the Toronto Blue Jays at 7:10 PM ET.Looking to see who's in and who's out for the Red Sox and the Blue Jays? Keep scrolling for full...

Orioles vs. Guardians: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 25

At Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Tuesday, the Baltimore Orioles (four consecutive losses) meet the Cleveland Guardians at 6:35 PM ET.Looking to see who's available to play for the Orioles and the Guardians? Continue reading to get full injury...

Mariners vs. Rays: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 25

The Tampa Bay Rays (39-40) will host the Seattle Mariners (45-36), in the second game of a three-game series, Tuesday at 6:50 PM ET.Want to see who's available to play for the Mariners and the Rays? Keep scrolling to get...

Reds vs. Pirates: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 25

On Tuesday, the Cincinnati Reds (37-41) are hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates (37-41), at 7:10 PM ET, in the second game of a three-game set.Hoping to find out who's playing for the Reds and the Pirates? Read on to get complete...

New York Liberty vs. Minnesota Lynx: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The New York Liberty and the Minnesota Lynx take the court for the WNBA Commissioner's Cup Championship match on Tuesday, June 25, 2024 at 8:00 PM ET. The matchup will air on Prime Video.Watch the WNBA all season long on...

more cubs news