Will The Men In Blue Stand Still?

With the All-Star Game two weeks away the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets have switched places in terms of relevancy since opening day. The trade deadline is less than a month away. So, the next month is going to be filled with trade talk and rumors. Today’s article is going to be an prediction about whether the Cubs will be buyers or sellers.

Kyle Hendricks’ Resurgence

Until Sunday Kyle Hendricks made it look like he had rediscovered his confidence and was settling into a groove after struggling with injuries and inconsistency over the past few seasons. The veteran pitcher has adapted his approach, as a result of being older, which has been crucial in regaining his form. Due to injuries on the pitching staff and in to the Cubs’ rotation he made a quick return to the active roster after going on the Injured List in late April and made it back into the rotation in early June. Hendricks’ return to form is a significant positive for the Cubs as they navigate a season filled with ups and downs.

Justin Steele’s Evolution

Justin Steele reminds many fans of Jake Arrieta with a few differences and has evolved into the Cubs’ ace, continually improving his game.¬†Initially joining the team as a promising but unproven talent, Steele has evolved into the team’s ace through hard work and continuous improvement. His ability to adjust and refine his pitching has been instrumental in his success, particularly his command of the fastball and slider.

Steele’s performances have been consistently impressive and placed him in the conversation for the Cy Young Award last season. His emergence as a reliable ace provides a solid foundation for the Cubs’ rotation and represents a significant achievement for the team’s developmental system. Steele’s continued growth and performance are crucial for the Cubs as they look to build a competitive team for the future.

Bullpen Improvement

The Cubs’ bullpen has been a significant area of concern throughout the 2024 season, plagued by injuries and inconsistency. However, recent developments have brought a sense of optimism. Based on many reports relievers like Yency Almonte and Julian Merryweather are making significant progress in their rehabilitation processes, which is expected to bolster the bullpen’s performance. Additionally, other pitchers have stepped up, demonstrating resilience and effectiveness in high-pressure situations.

Despite the ongoing challenges, the bullpen’s ability to adapt and perform under difficult circumstances has been encouraging. The return of key players is anticipated to bring much-needed stability and depth, allowing the Cubs to manage games more effectively and support their starting pitchers.

Offensive Struggles

The Cubs’ offense has been inconsistent. Since the beginning of May the Cubs have won only one series, not including their two game sweep against the cross town Sox. That was against the San Francisco Giants. Their offense has consistently struggled to get hits especially with runners on base. Despite showing flashes of potential, the team has struggled to maintain offensive momentum. Dansby Swanson, Ian Happ, and Cody Bellinger have been unable to deliver consistently which has put additional pressure on the pitching staff. Addressing these offensive woes is crucial for the Cubs to turn their season around and without a star bat in the lineup it will be quite unlikely they are able to avoid missing the playoffs a single game for the second year in a row.

Jed Hoyer’s Decisions

Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer is taking too much pride in having a top tier minor league system. The team has shown potential, but inconsistency has plagued their performance. Hoyer’s decisions will be critical in determining whether the Cubs make a push for the postseason or consider rebuilding for the third time in six years. The upcoming trade deadline presents an opportunity for Hoyer to make impactful moves that could address the team’s needs and improve their chances to make the playoffs the way Theo Epstein did in 2015.

Cubs’ Franchise Value and Spending

The Cubs’ franchise value continues to rise, but there is frustration among fans regarding the perceived penny-pinching ways of owner Tom Ricketts. Despite the team’s financial strength, there is a belief that more investment in the roster could significantly improve the Cubs’ competitiveness. It is time for Tom to put Jed on the hotseat and tell him to trade top prospects away to give the organization¬† an honest chance at a deep playoff run for the first time in five seasons.

Trade Possibilities

Given the current state of the team, the Cubs could explore several trade options to bolster their roster. The glaring holes with the team include a solid catcher, a proven closer, and holes at first/third base. The problem Hoyer has is five Cubs have full no-trade clauses and two of those players are out fielders. Ian Happ, Seiya Susuki, Dansby Swanson, Shota Imanaga, and, thanks to his 10-and-5 rights, Kyle Hendricks. This is going to make it very tough for him to make moves without tearing apart the minor league system he has built or

Here’s the thing folks: I’ve been saying since December that this feels like 2014 to me. However, there is a big difference. This time Jed Hoyer is flying solo and most fans still have no clue who his right hand man Carter Hawkins is. At the end of the day it is likely this era’s version of Jim Hendry on Chicago’s North Side stands pat until winter to keep the minor league system he built in tact.

With that… it’s time for trading season to go into full force.

If you cannot play with them, then root for them!

Share This Article