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Most of the trade rumors surround their “Core 4”, but the Chicago Cubs should consider trading these three players instead.
As the Chicago Cubs have tried to reduce payroll, trade rumors/speculation has centered on their “Core 4” of third baseman Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Javier Baez and catcher Willson Contreras.
Of the four only Contreras is under team control beyond this season, with one year of arbitration eligibility left. So that makes it easy to outline more immediate scenarios for Baez, Bryant and Rizzo, as all three seem not to be much longer for a Cubs’ uniform.
The Cubs enter Friday as the last-place team in the NL Central, albeit only four games back of the division-leading Brewers. But if they don’t start to find some consistency and make some headway in the race, they will certainly be a seller as the trade deadline creeps closer.
Talk about what they’ll do with Bryant, Baez, Rizzo and Contreras isn’t going away. But beyond the “Core 4”, the Cubs should consider trading these three guys instead.
3 players the Cubs should trade instead of the “Core 4”
SP, Chicago Cubs
The Cubs brought Arrieta back on a one-year deal, and through five starts he has delivered beyond the most optimistic expectations (2.57 ERA, 8.4 K/9 over 28 innings). But below the surface, there is regression.
Entering his next start Friday night against the Reds, Arrieta’s FIP (3.45) is nearly a full run more than his raw ERA. According to Statcast, his hard hit rate is higher than last year with the Phillies, and his xERA is 4.10. He is throwing his curveball more (15.7 percent of the time), which is a good thing since the only Statcast metric he’s above average in so far this season is curveball spin (85th percentile).
Most of the data points to Arrieta’s fortunes evening out, and his ERA settling in north of 4.00 again. The Cubs, with a relative premium for pitching on the trade market, have a sell-high opportunity in front of them if he puts together a couple more good starts.