If Soto Isn't Dealt, Stroman in the WBC, McKinstry's Value, and Other Cubs Bullets

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If Soto Isn’t Dealt, Stroman in the WBC, McKinstry’s Value, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Bit of a conundrum here, as I want to go ahead and get the morning Bullets out the door now before things get sizzling again. But doing it now means there’s not really much space between when I was finally able to get to yesterday’s Bullets and today’s.

I’ll make it work, though …

  • Since Juan Soto remains the central log blocking the flume right now, it’s interesting that I missed this from two days ago when I was clearing out my tabs just now:
  • That it was known locally in Washington back on the 31st that a deal may not happen for Soto is all the more reason to believe teams like the Cubs – who are ostensibly waiting on a Soto resolution before they can pull the trigger on their major moves – have tracks laid already. If it was known that a Soto deal might not happen, then the Cubs and their possible partners were absolutely going to have alternative arrangements figured out – i.e., something like, “Hey, so assuming Soto doesn’t happen for you, would you do X for Y? Yes? OK, cool, so as soon as you know Soto isn’t happening, we pull that trigger.” Otherwise, there would just be too much extra risk in waiting up to the deadline, totally blind.
  • So, if Soto gets dealt sometime today, the Cubs should have already put themselves in a position to move (or to get the best offer thereafter, if there’s time). Ditto if he’s not. The only difference is, if it’s the latter, then the Cubs will have to have done that final bit of negotiating in a proactive, hypothetical way. Can’t be easy when there are multiple players involved, with multiple teams, in multiple possible combination deals. But that’s the job! Soto is a considerable wrench, but last year’s Deadline execution gives me optimism for today.
  • With the WBC coming back next year, Marcus Stroman will be pitching again, but this time for Team Puerto Rico:
  • Stroman’s mother is Puerto Rican, which makes him eligible to pitch for the team. Nice to be able to connect with your family’s heritage in different ways.

To get Martin, the Dodgers gave up utilityman Zach McKinstry, a strong upper-level performer who would be a key multi-positional piece for most big league teams, but who has struggled to find playing time with the loaded Dodgers, blocked by the combination of The Turners, Gavin Lux, and Max Muncy. McKinstry (who was a 45 FV prospect and projected as a super utility type) has spent parts of the last three minor league seasons at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he has slashed a combined .323/.401/.550 while playing all over the field. Some of that offensive output is inflated by the hitter-friendly nature of many Pacific Coast League ballparks, as McKinstry has below-average bat speed and power. He can ambush the occasional inner-third pitch and yank out a homer to his pull-side, but mostly he moves the barrel around the zone and makes softer, opposite-field contact that results in doubles and triples when the baseball finds the gap. It’s a contact-driven, low-impact offensive profile.

Most of McKinstry’s impact will come from his defensive versatility. He’s quite good at second base and in the outfield corners, but he can also play a serviceable third base and even shortstop in a pinch. A lefty-hitting Swiss Army knife like McKinstry fits beautifully with the spirited, righty-hitting Christopher Morel, as those two will enable the Cubs to play seamless in-game matchups all over the diamond.

  • This 22-year-old is destroying the NPB:
  • A good general point about how sell trades don’t necessarily mean you suddenly can’t contend:
  • If Tarik Skubal was actually on the market to begin with, I think he isn’t anymore:

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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.