Trade an all-star, not a question mark

My list of Cub untouchables would be the guys who could be crazy-great, you’re just not sure (and the GM on the other side knows it), and so you’re liable to sell a little low and conclude a trade that you will regret later on. Schwarber is in that category, partly because of the injury and also because of uncertainty over his position. Baez is another, since he is still being refurbished as a hitter. Happ is a third.

Happ swings as hard as Baez, and connects more frequently. His toolset features power from both sides, something that comes along once or twice a decade (and has never actually come along to the Cubs). Superior organizations like the Yankees and Cardinals are always on the lookout for switch hitters. The Cub organization is rising, so fittingly they have two switch hitters in the regular lineup plus a top prospect with that elite tool.

Schwarber also fits into one of baseball’s prized categories, the lefty slugger. Naturally Brian Cashman covets Schwarber; but no relief pitcher is worth a top lefty-hitting slugger. Schwarber cannot suit up and help the team right now, so many Cub fans feel like they would be getting something for nothing, which is obviously short-sighted.

I don’t know why you would trade Rizzo or Bryant but I wouldn’t call them untouchable. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to trade an MVP candidate. How does that make you better? But at least you would not be trading a question mark, and you would be assured of getting a boatload of talent back. Same (more or less) with Russell, Contreras, Almora, all of whom have gotten off on the right foot in the majors and shown that they can handle challenging defensive positions, as Bryant did last season when he demonstrated that he could play third.

This is not a recommendation, necessarily, but have they thought about trading Russell? He still has a high enough ceiling that we don’t really grasp how good he is going to be. Something about Russell’s body from the shoulders up (including his face) always reminds me of a certain all-time great. So, yes, I’m actually contemplating the trade of a 22-year-old all-star shortstop who reminds me of Willie Mays.

Russell would bring back players–pitchers, presumably–who would keep the turnstiles at Wrigley spinning into the last week of October. The day after the trade, Baez would take over at short, with Gleyber Torres next in line in case Maddon can’t resist utilizing Baez as a plug-and-play device. I just wonder if the Cubs couldn’t go forward confidently at shortstop with Baez and Torres, and never look back.

young Mays
Russell

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