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Chicago Cubs Recall Of Former First Round Pick May Foreshadow Trades

Pete Crow-Armstrong’s recall from Triple-A may foreshadow trade season moves for the Chicago Cubs. With two months left before the trade deadline, Chicago will likely seek support from its beleaguered bullpen. The former first-round pick is already a defensive star and has lately been finding his way with the bat. His return to a crowded outfield signals that the Cubs may want to make a deal. How they move will reveal whether the front office is building for the present or the future.

Chicago Cubs Recall Of Former First-Round Pick May Foreshadow Trades

A Team Working Through A Rebuild

The Cubs find themselves in the hunt for the National League Central despite playing under .500 baseball in May. Chicago’s Northsiders are still clearly working through a rebuild on the fly this season as they search for answers in several key areas. The most severe need appears in the bullpen, where late-inning support is most important.

Two of the Cubs’ best late-inning pitchers from last season, Julian Merryweather and Adbert Alzolay, are out until after the All-Star Break. Alzolay struggled with his control before going on the IL, and Merryweather has yet to see any action this season. Young talents like Porter Hodge, Daniel Palencia, and Keegan Thompson have ups and downs.

The Cubs’ uncharacteristic below-average defense puts increased pressure on the starting pitching staff and the lineup. Adding one or two reliable arms might help bolster the team’s spirits going into the second half of the season.

Cashing In On A Talented Outfield Core

Talent is abundant in the outfield. Ian Happ has solidified his place in left field, and Seiya Suzuki has solidified his place on the right. PCA’s recent recall gives the Cubs three centerfielders: Cody Bellinger and Mike Tauchman. This gives the Cubs front office some options in negotiating deals for bullpen support.

Bellinger is the most obvious choice if the Cubs want to trade for a high-profile arm. The former Major League Most Valuable Player is performing well enough to be of interest to a team needing a versatile veteran fielder with a high baseball IQ. Bellinger, 28, is relatively young and in the first year of a three-year contract from which he is free to opt-out at season’s end. Given this, Cubs brass might decide to deal with him if an excellent offer comes.

Tauchman has been the Cubs most consistent player all season. But at age 33, the journeyman outfielder won’t generate the kind of offer the Cubs desperately need.

Trade Season Options For The Cubs

PCA, 22, is being given a longer look, which may foreshadow a trade involving Bellinger if the Cubs can secure a marquee arm for him. With Tauchman available, the Cubs would still have a sure hand and steady presence to help bring their young talent along.

If management feels there’s still enough talent to build on, a multiplayer trade may also be in the offing. That trade could involve any number of pitchers and position players, including Tauchman and farm system talent. For now, though, PCA is a key factor in the team’s future. The Cubs must be wary of selling too low or buying too high, a gamble that could rob them of that future.

Main Photo Credits: Melissa Tamez-USA TODAY Sports


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