Though this isn’t necessarily a new concept, a recent column from Jesse Rogers offers more insight into the possibility of a blockbuster trade between the Cubs and Mets centered around ace righty Jacob deGrom. Citing a survey of scouts, baseball execs (none of whom were from either team in question), and media members, Rogers named Ian Happ, Addison Russell, and Mike Montgomery as likely anchors of a deal.
That’s not to say that all three would have to be involved, since that would be too steep a price for the Cubs. But some combination of two of them would likely serve as an acceptable centerpiece. The Cubs would still probably need to add value in the form of prospects (David Bote?), but that seems like a price they’d be willing to pay for a pitcher who’d immediately assume the top spot in their rotation for the next two-plus seasons.
“You can’t let the path you took to get to a certain point hinder your ability to take a calm, rational look at where you are and what you might need, even if it’s in the short-term,” Theo Epstein said on 670 The Score’s Mully and Hanley on Wednesday.
In other words, you’ve got to be willing to part with some of the players from the major league roster if doing so makes your team appreciably better. This isn’t the first time Epstein has addressed the possibility of dealing from positional depth to augment the rotation, either.
“So at some point, we’re going to be able to pull off a deal where we trade some position player resources, probably in the form of prospects, for starting pitching to help our big league club, either in the present, the future, or probably both,” he said last May on the same aforementioned radio show.
You no doubt noticed the part about “probably in the form of prospects,” but the calculus has changed quite a bit since Epstein said that. The Cubs did end up moving several minor leaguers to acquire Jose Quintana and Justin Wilson, thus leaving the cupboard pretty much bare when it comes to top talent. As such, any really significant move is going to require something more than just prospects.
As Rogers notes, the most likely scenario would involve one of either Happ or Russell being paired with Montgomery. Including Montgomery only makes sense because you figure the Mets would want pitching in return and he’d be the first person displaced by the addition of a new pitcher. Given his oft-stated desire to start and his years of control, the dots are easy to connect.
And we’d already heard from Bruce Levine that Happ and Russell ‘would both be in play’ in a deGrom scenario, so pick one. The Mets are pretty well set at short, which means Happ is probably the more attractive option given his versatility and high offensive upside.
I’m still very skeptical that anything this big gets done, but my assessment of it has shifted much closer toward reality than it was just a week ago. There’s certainly a lot more to chew on with this particular bone, but let’s leave that for another time. Or the comments.