Trade Candidate Rankings - Lotta Cubs Up Top

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Trade Candidate Rankings – Lotta Cubs Up Top

Chicago Cubs

If you were curious to see some third party thoughts on what the trade market looks like this year, MLB Trade Rumors wrote up its top 50 trade candidates list. It’s a blend of the quality of the player and the likelihood that he’s traded, so it makes for kind of a unique list.

At the very top – the number one trade candidate by the August 2 deadline – is Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. No huge surprise there, since he’s a virtual lock to be traded and is a truly impactful bat at a position of offensive scarcity.

More interesting to me are the two guys who show up just behind Contreras, in spots two and three: outfielder Andrew Benintendi and first baseman Josh Bell. Both are useful rentals on losing teams, so I get why they are there, but man, doesn’t that underscore just how thin the rental position player market might be? Don’t get me wrong, Benintendi is playing well and Bell is raking this year, but there are some limitations there on defense, and red flags on track record.

All I’m saying: as I review this list, I am all the more convinced that Contreras’s value on this year’s market might be higher than you would otherwise expect for an in-season catcher trade.

We’ve talked about it before, but right now, this is CLEARLY a seller’s market. That can change in two weeks, though.

David Robertson shows up 8th on the list, the highest-ranked reliever. Again, we know he’s going to be traded, absent an injury, so that’s part of why he’s so high. There is also his performance now that he’s fully healthy again, and his track record of success in major markets and in the postseason. That means a lot to teams acquiring relievers for the stretch run and the playoffs.

The next Cub is Mychal Givens at 15, which is the 5th highest reliever. Again, to me it says as much about the thin market as it does about Givens’ value on a contender (which is not zero, of course, but he’s not necessarily a huge impact guy).

(I would include Chris Martin in this same range, by the way, though for some reason he doesn’t show up on the list at all – including the “others” list of all plausibly-traded Cubs, so I’m thinking it was an oversight. He has had the same or better success as Givens in recent years, including this year, and he’s pitching quite well.)

Ian Happ is 23rd, which tells you a lot about how much “likelihood of being traded” is informing the list. Of course, the crazy thing is, he’s only the third highest true outfielder on the list (Benintendi at 2; David Peralta is 16, thanks in large part to his impending free agency and the young players ready to go on the DBacks). You could definitely argue that Happ is the single best outfielder realistically available this year.

(Rafael Ortega, like Martin, does not show up anywhere. I don’t quite see why he would intentionally be omitted from the “others” group of Cubs that includes Andrelton Simmons, Marcus Stroman, Kyle Hendricks, Daniel Norris, Drew Smyly, and Wade Miley. So I can only conclude that it was inadvertent, or the team-control aspect made him seem like he’d be less interesting for the Cubs to trade. If it’s that one, well, given his age and the Cubs’ outfield depth among complementary types, I’d say he’s very available.)

Ultimately, you shouldn’t take too much away from the list, other than perhaps a general sense of what the market could look like, in terms of pieces that’ll be competing with the Cubs. So far, the situation looks pretty good for the Cubs to come away from trade season having picked up a handful of quality prospects. It won’t be like last year, especially given the injuries in the rotation, but it should be solid.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.