After inking John Lackey to a two-deal year last week, the Chicago Cubs have boosted their rotation but now they are looking to make an impact in the trade market. Young slugger Javier Baez has been rumored to be available in trade talks and there's a chance he could swap teams in the near future as the Cubs have been reportedly linked with the Tampa Bay Rays in possible trade talks.
Chicago has a plethora of middle infielder in their 40-man roster and with only a few positions to fill out they've been long rumored to be looking for a trade in order to fill other needs - most notably depth in the pitching staff. With Addison Russell at SS, Starlin Castro at 2B and Tommy LaStella as a utility-man, LH batter off the bench, the Cubs appear to be set in the infield for the foreseeable future.
Tampa Bay, on the other hand, have plenty of pitchers they could deal but they need power, stability in the middle infield and some defensive versatility as they prepare for another season in one of the toughest divisions of the American League.
It seems both teams would match up perfectly for a trade and according to several reports, both teams have held talks regarding a possible swap involving Baez.
The 23-year-old infielder was a Top 10 prospect prior to the 2014 season and while his ceiling is off the charts, he has never been able to live up to the hype in The Show as his contact issues have prevented him from making a bigger impact. While he did show signs of improvement as a September call-up this past season, Baez owns a .201/.252/.346 slash line and 10 homers in 309 career plate appearances, with a whopping 119 strikeouts.
The Cubs already have plenty of players who struck out a lot - they actually led the league in Ks by a wide margin in 2015 - so it seems Baez is the odd man out despite the fact that he could be a true superstar if things click for him.
As for the Rays, they already dealt Nathan Karns to the Seattle Mariners but they also have other pitching options that could entice the Cubs to make a deal. Names like Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore or Drew Smyly could all boost a rotation while the likes of Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger could boost a bullpen that lacks a reliable late-inning option aside of Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop.
There haven't been official confirmation of a trade going down but the rumor is out there and quite frankly both teams could match quite well to struck a deal during the Winter Meetings. With the Cubs looking for pitching and the Rays trying to add power, a trade would make sense for both sides.