Cub On Man! 5 Deadline Additions That Could Snap The Cubs From Their Funk
Remember, the good ol' days when the Cubs were good?
That's right, I'm talking about the long forgotten days of…mid-June 2016.
In the wee hours of June 19, the Cubs had just completed a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 10-5 victory. C Wilson Contreras had hit a home on the very first pitch on his very first at-bat of his career, while Kyle Hendricks struck out 12 en route to victory. It also put the Cubs at 47-20 on the season, a season-high 27 games over .500. Not only were World Series tickets already being printed at 1060 West Addison Ave., but many wondered aloud whether this team could pull a Golden State Warriors and achieve the best regular season record in their long-standing league.
Call me crazy, but I'm not sure if the 1927 Yankees ever had a stretch where they were 5-14, much like the Cubs have been since that Sunday night triumph at Wrigley.
Since putting the finishing touches on that sweep, the Cubs have won just one series in the interim. Four of the five wins in that span have come against the Cincinnati Reds, who own a 32-55 record and trail the Cubs by 20.5 games for the NL Central lead. In this span also, the Cubs have faced three potential NLDS opponents in St. Louis, Miami, and the New York Mets, and picked up a mere single win.
Baseball, however, is a weird sport in that you can afford not-so-hot stretches like this and remain in contention. The Cubs' smoking hot start probably ensures that won't have to worry too much about actually making the playoffs, though, this time around it would appear other than ending their notoriously long World Series drought, currently at over a century and counting, would be a disappointment. With the MLB trading deadline approaching, here's five players the Cubs could bring in...
Despite what George Steinbrenner's offspring may have you believe, the Yankees are not a good team and should most certainly be sellers at the deadline. A rare silver lining for the Bronx Bombers has been the 39-year-old Beltran, who was named to his 9th All-Star Game earlier this week and has enjoyed a resurgence season, already matching his home run total from last year (19) and being the lone consistent bat in the Yankees lineup. Beltran's lack of a World Series ring has been long discussed, and it stinks to see him enjoy an awakening while part of the hopeless Yankees. Destined to be sellers, whether they like it or not, the Yankees should trade Beltran to a contender to let him have, perhaps one last shot at a ring. Chicago would be a great, welcome fit.
Their other lone bright spot, the back end of the Yankees bullpen has been subject to rumors for weeks now, although Dellin Betances was never going anywhere and Andrew Miller was recently told he's staying put. That leaves the newcomer Champman, who will be a free agent after this season. The domestic violence allegations still hover over Chapman, though it hasn't been brought up much in New York. Plus, the Cubs are in need of bullpen help, as relievers have earned just 14 saves as a unit this season, 28th in the MLB. Wouldn't hurt to have a guy who could throw 100+ MPH to try and get that number up, right?
Perhaps producing the most ooooo's and ahhhhhh's in the Cubs' glory days was their pitching. However, both Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester have both lost the touch of their early season dominance, and on Thursday night, Jason Hammel left his start when his hand cramped, and he's currently listed as day-to-day. It's been the opposite for Gray, the Oakland ace who began the year very poorly, but he has since somewhat begun to resemble his old self, having gone at least 6 innings in his past six starts, during which he's lowered his ERA from 6.19 to 5.16. If Gray could get a clean slate in Chicago, it would do wonder for his confidence, not to mention put him in the suddenly unfamiliar situation of throwing for a contender. Another Oakland pitcher to keep an eye for the Cubs is former comrade Rich Hill, who has been producing career high numbers this season,
The Cubs have eagerly awaited the debut of Contreras, who has burst onto the scene to produce great numbers at the MLB level in the early going. He currently bats .301, and has tallied four more home runs since his magical first pitch. To make sure he keeps going strong, the Cubs would be wise to add a trusty veteran who could guide him through the league, not to mention give the lineup a bit of a jolt. Enter Lucroy, who was recently named to his second All-Star Game. Wallowing away in the mess that is the Brewers, it may cost the Cubs a little extra to trade with a division rival, but Lucroy, who can also play third base, would be an invaluable addition for a potential title run.
Reddick is the type of the player that Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill would love in Moneyball. He makes pitchers sweat in long, intense at-bats, and knows how to get on base. Cubs GM Theo Epstein, who slightly adopted the famous Billy Beane strategy to end one long title drought over in Boston. To end this one, he'd love to add the dangerous Reddick, who would join an already impressive outfield. If they can work something out with the wily Beane...who no doubt will be selling...it could be like spreading gasoline on the fire that is the Cubs outfield and ignite them back up in time for the stretch run.
Who do you think the Cubs should add to get out of their funk? Keep the convo going on Twitter @GeoffMags5490.
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