As you probably already know, the Cubs and A’s pulled off a blockbuster trade that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland in return for a package of young players highlighted by shortstop Addison Russell.
Adding Russell to the fold has created a potential glut of infield prospects for Chicago to go with some impressive young players on the infield currently at the big league level. The Cubs stockpile of infield prospects now includes Russell, shortstop Javier Baez, third basemen Kris Bryant, second basemen Arismendy Alcantara, and the fourth overall pick in 2014 Kyle Schwarber who could end up at first basemen.
The easy assumption to make for the Cubs would be to trade off Starlin Castro, who has had an up and down tenure for the Cubs, and often comes under fire for lack of hustle. That’s an avenue the Mets could and should pursue as pointed out by our own Joe D., but as Tom Hardy told Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Inception: “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling”.
I think Sandy Alderson should dream bigger, something he’s been accused of failing to do in his time with the Mets.
Maybe the pitching hungry Cubs would be interested in swapping Baez for Noah Syndergaard. Perhaps Castro would cost less in terms of players heading to Chicago, but we sorta already know what he is, right? Plus we know how players who have a perceived lack of hustle usually work out in New York.
It’s no secret that things haven’t gone exactly as planned for Syndergaard in 2014. He’s struggled with injury, the PCL, and with his own development. In 72.2 innings for Las Vegas the 6’5 right-hander has a 5.70 ERA. However there are still positives. The stuff is still there. He’s striking out over a batter per inning and his 2.85 BB/9 is respectable. It appears that while Syndergaard hasn’t been great, he’s been a little unlucky. His .380 BABIP and 4.19 FIP would back that up. So maybe that’s enough to get the Cubs to part with Baez, who hasn’t been without his own struggles in 2014.
Coming off a 2013 that saw the stocky shortstop with a lightening-quick bat mash 37 homers, Baez came into 2014 as one of the top handful of prospects in all of baseball. However in 2014 some of the things that scouts questioned before 2013 came to fruition. Baez, who has a lot of swing and miss in his bat, was able to hit .294 in 2013 despite striking out in 28.8% of his at-bats. So far in 2014 in he’s struck out in 32.5% of his at-bats and it’s caused his batting average to plummet to .241. He’s still managed to slug 12 longballs and has shown signs of life lately, hitting .275 in June.
I think this is an interesting debate. Perhaps there would be additional pieces needed to make the deal work. But it’s a starting point.
Trade the potential stud pitcher for the potential stud hitter we so desperately need?
(Photo credits: Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun, Ken Inness/MiLB.com)