In 2016, the Chicago Cubs were legitimate contenders to win the World Series and had a need in their bullpen for a lockdown closer. That would be the prime reason why the team felt comfortable enough to send highly-touted shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres as part of a package to the New York Yankees for closer Aroldis Chapman.
Despite Chapman being burnt out during the final two games of the World Series, there is no question of his importance to the Cubs’ run in 2016.
Fast forward to the current year of 2023 and the Cubs have remained competitive through the first month and some change of games and there is a path to the team having an opportunity to win the National League Central.
The Cubs’ bullpen remains a weak spot and that has led to early speculation that the team will look to acquire veteran relievers at the Major League Baseball trade deadline this season including an outrageous trade suggestion from Mark Powell of FanSided.
“But what would that trade look like? I took a swing at that portion, though it’s important to note that the ebbs and flows of said negotiations aren’t my expertise.
RP, AROLDIS CHAPMAN
LHP, JORDAN WICKS
OF, ALEXANDER CANARIO
LHP, DREW GRAY
As I suggested a few days ago, Wicks is the Cubs No. 5 prospect, as the four in front of him are in MLB Pipeline’s top-100 prospect rankings. The only way Chicago would consider trading one of them would be a one-for-one swap, and the Royals likely want several prospects in return for Chapman. Wicks is capable and major-league ready. Canario isn’t far behind, and he’s stashed in Chicago’s system given their top-3 prospects are all outfielders.”
– Mark Powell via FanSided
There is no scenario under the sun where the Cubs make this trade.
Let’s first establish the fact that the Cubs are not World Series contenders this season. The Cubs certainly have an opportunity to win the National League Central division this season but any suggestion of them winning the World Series is unrealistic.
Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the team operates with the same sentiment in 2023 that they had in 2016 when they traded a top prospect for a rental reliever.
Jordan Wicks is the second-best pitching prospect in the Cubs’ farm system behind Cade Horton. Through 6 starts with Double-A Tennessee this season, Wicks has posted a 2.39 ERA while striking out 33 in 26.1 innings pitched. Given where the Cubs are and the need they will have in the rotation moving forward, Wicks being dealt for a rental reliever in a season where the team is a borderline postseason contender is not a reality.
As for Alexander Canario’s inclusion in this suggested trade, there is no doubt that he could have been a trade chip for the Cubs this past season but the outfield prospect remains a long way from determining his value moving forward. Canario underwent ankle and shoulder surgeries this past offseason and just recently resumed baseball activities. After the injury, there is no telling how close he is to being Major League ready until he actually returns to playing and his value will likely be based on the production he has at that point.
The trade that was suggested is the exact type of trade that the team must avoid at the trade deadline as they would find themselves on the opposite end of the successful deals that they have made in recent years.