I had mentioned in a recent post that the Cubs were said to have engaged the Indians in talks centered around either Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar, but had dismissed the latter as being too expensive. That’s not in terms of salary, but in human capital. Because he’s still on a minimum deal and won’t be eligible for free agency until 2021, Salazar is an incredibly valuable commodity. But some information I received on Saturday might contradict my assumptions.
Let me make clear the fact that I’m not much of a “source” guy, but I’ve made my share of friends over the past couple years. As such, I hear things now and then. And what I heard earlier is that it might not take as much as I had thought to land Salazar. What I was told is that the conversations between the two teams involved something along the lines of the Tampa/Seattle trade from the other day. Then again, I also heard that Javy Baez and Jorge Soler may have been discussed, as well as Cleveland prospect Tyler Naquin (think a lefty Almora with more walks and maybe a tick more speed).
I know it’s alarming to a lot of people to hear either Soler or Baez mentioned, let alone both of them together. But it’s almost a given that any trade the Cubs make for young, cost-controlled pitching is going to have to involve young, cost-controlled hitting. In some cases — a deal with San Diego for Tyson Ross, perhaps — that could also mean Starlin Castro, but the Indians are pretty well set in terms of the middle infield. Baez could play third or maybe OF, and could DH as well. Soler could certainly handle those latter two slots as well.
This isn’t to say that a deal is in the offing, nor am I advocating a trade of either young slugger. And I certainly don’t envision a scenario in which the Cubs would part with both. But…I also wouldn’t put anything past the Cubs’ front office, and I think they’ll do just about anything if they feel it makes the team better. It’s hard to think they’d pull the trigger on a deal like this before figuring out what they’re going to do in free agency though. Spending big on Jason Heyward would perhaps lead them to trade Soler for a cheap SP. Breaking the bank for David Price could mean standing pat with the young Cuban in right.
Or they could try to go Price and Ben Zobrist and still move Soler or Baez for someone like Salazar, thus pushing the rotation to 6 men and forcing Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks to battle for the 5th spot. That, my friends, is a good problem to have. But until such time as hands are shaken and contracts signed, this is little more than a flight of fancy. Sometimes when you’re in the doldrums, even the softest trade winds are enough to fill your sails.
To gauge how other Cubs fans felt about the possibility of a Soler-for-Salazar swap, I tossed out a simple Twitter poll, the results of which were pretty interesting. As of press time, 67% were in the No camp, but the written responses were quite varied. Many of the Yes responses were reluctant, voting as they did out of an understanding that the Cubs will likely have to spend from their surplus of bats sooner or later. My favorite was the guy who asked if I was crazy, though I never got clarification on what exactly made him question my sanity. Probably fair to ask though.
So what do you think? Not about me being crazy, but about a trade?