The Chicago Cubs have had one of the best offseasons this winter, signing the likes of Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, and John Lackey to be a part of the team next year. But the question is, are there any other moves that Theo Epstein can make in order to boost an already stacked lineup. The answer to that is yes, yes there is, and that would be to trade Jorge Soler in order to bring in more relief pitching for the club. But to the people that think the Cubs need to trade Javier Baez, you need to get a clue, because the team needs him more than you think right now!
Jorge Soler saw a huge rise in games played as he split his time in right field with Chris Coghlin. To start the season, he had a pretty decent .265 average, but suffered an injury that kept him out of action for basically all of June and the first four games of July. After this stretch though, he really began to show improvement as he became more patient, waited for better pitches, and even saw his strikeout totals drop. But, that improvement was sort of put on hold, as he suffered another injury that kept him out from late August to mid September. But, going into the playoffs, he continued showing this improvement and became a more reliable option when offense/baserunners were needed the most.
With the addition of Jason Heyward this offseason, the current plan for the outfield is to put Heyward in center and keep Soler and Schwarber in right and left respectively. Even though Jorge Soler showed some improvement last season, the addition of Jason Heyward really made him the odd man out when it comes to the outfield. So, with that being said, the Cubs would be smart to ship Soler out in order to bring in more help for the bullpen. Yes, I know that the Cubs bullpen had the 8th best ERA in the MLB at 3.38. But, if you were to watch a large portion of Cubs games, you would see that although the bullpen had a good ERA, it came at a very inconsistent price. You would see guys get into jams and either get themselves out by a “nut hair” with minimal damage, or would need assistance to help finish off the inning. So, with that being said, an extra middle reliever would be really helpful to the pen in order to set up their two big guns in Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon at the tail end of the game.
In addition to bullpen help, shipping Soler to another team would also allow Jason Heyward to move over to his normal spot in right field, and leave center field open for when the Cubs decide to bring up their #5 prospect Albert Almora at some point during this upcoming season.
Then, there is Javier Baez. Baez, for those who don’t know, is a quick infielder who has the ability to drive the ball deep, and has great potential to be a top tier middle infielder in this league. Last year for Baez however, he saw a bit of a decline in his numbers due to the time he took off for personal reasons, as well as rehabbing and healing a broken finger. But, he still managed to hit .289 in the 28 games he did play in for the Cubs.
Right now, with Castro being traded to the Yankees, the Cubs really do need depth at second and shortstop. Right now, with Ben Zobrist being acquired through free agency, the Cubs only have three quality players to fill those spots; Zobrist, Addison Russell, and Javier Baez. (Yes, I know they have Tommy La Stella as well, but he’s more of a late game/utility man). If the Cubs were to give up Baez right now, then they would be giving up more power that could come off the bench, and they would be giving up another proven body that they could put in for Russell when they give him a day off. Now, if you could promise me another “Zobrist” type of guy for Baez, then that would be fine. But for right now, Baez needs to STAY PUT!