For quite some time there have been rumors swirling about a potential trade between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres. The Cubs are looking for some starting pitching and have interest in Tyson Ross, James Shields and Andrew Cashner to some degree.
The San Diego Padres on the other hand would likely covet Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, or Jorge Soler. This week it was reported by CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine that the Padres have indeed talked to the Cubs about Soler this winter. Not exactly breaking news, but it does confirm that the two teams have at least had some dialogue with each other about the Cuban outfielder. Baez, Soler and Schwarber are all expendable to a certain degree, but each would not be easily attained from the Cubs.
With the re-signing of Dexter Fowler, the Cubs solidified their defense. Jason Heyward was to play center field, but most of his playing time has been in right field and that is where he has won his Gold Gloves. Fowler will play center, Heyward will be in right and the Cubs have a platoon of Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber set up to play left.
The left-handed hitting Schwarber can also do some catching, and there are reports he will indeed catch some games for the Cubs this year. He is not a great defender behind the plate and most around baseball believe his future is as a first baseman or a designated hitter. The Cubs have Anthony Rizzo locked at the first base position for the long-term and obviously Schwarber will either have to spot start at catcher, or play some left field. He is not a great outfielder and reminds me of Ryan Klesko in the outfield. All though Klesko was Jesse Owens compared to the slow-footed Schwarber.
Soler would probably be the player with the most value for the Cubs. He gives them a long-term answer in the outfield and is more of a “fit” for the team. Schwarber needs to either go to an American League team where he can DH or he needs to be on a team where he can play first base solely.
That brings us to Javier Baez who has unreal power. He also swings and misses at an unbelievable rate and has some question marks about his defense. Some reports are that he could be an above-average defender at shortstop while other reports indicate he is more of a second baseman or third baseman. Either way it is obvious that this young man can hit. The ball just jumps off his bat and there are no doubts he is nearly major-league ready.
The Cubs have Addison Russell as their shortstop and have no need for Baez to play the position. The Cubs also signed Ben Zobrist this winter and he could play left field or shortstop if needed. Zobrist is currently set to be the starting second baseman and Kris Bryant is obviously the starting third baseman so Baez has no place to play. He is very much expendable and there were reports he was close to being dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this offseason. The potential trade fell through, but it was reported that the Cubs were seeking pitching from the Rays. The Padres’ starting staff is a strength and each could be attained for the right price.