So far, the 2023 MLB season for Chicago baseball fans has been full of the unexpected. After an abysmal April where the team went 7-20, the White Sox bounced back in May with a winning month. Meanwhile, the Cubs got off to a surprisingly hot start to their year but cooled off significantly in May. The White Sox currently sit at 26-35 while the Cubs hold a 26-32 record.
Both teams find themselves in the middle of the standings in their divisions, with the White Sox currently in 4th and the Cubs in 3rd.
The next two months are crucial for both organizations as the MLB trade deadline inches closer and closer. With the deadline set for Tuesday, August 1, both front offices will have one big question to answer: Is now the time to buy, or to sell?
There’s plenty of baseball left to play until we can find out, but while we’re here, let’s see how things are going for our very own, Chicago Cubs!
A Brief Recap
Like we said, the Cubs started the year off on a pretty good note after going 12-8 in their first 20 games. However, since then, the team has played 38 more baseball games, with only 14 more wins to show for it.
Despite that, there’s still one glimmer of hope the team, and its fans, can cling on to. They’re only 5.5 games back from the top of the NL Central.
Yes, it’s true, and it’s a fact that’s got us all antsy to see how these next couple months go. The Cubs hot-start at the beginning of the season could be attributed to an offense that was firing on all cylinders. By the time the last week of April rolled around, the Cubs offense led the National League and was third in all of baseball after averaging 5.76 runs per game.Guys like Dansby Swanson, Justin Steele, and Patrick Wisdom all played some great ball to start the year. Swanson and Wisdom made their mark behind the plate with OPSes of .751 and .989 respectively, and Steele dominated on top of the mound.
May saw things turn for the worst, unfortunately, as the offense regressed back towards the mean and well, the inevitable bumps and bruises made their rounds. Cody Bellinger, who was starting to look like his old self, injured his knee on May 15, and both Justin Steele and Nico Hoerner found themselves on an injured list. For Bellinger, we aren’t quite sure what the timeline looks for his return, but it sounds like it could be soon if he continues to rehab well. Odds are he won’t be ready to come back during the Cubs current 10-game road trip though.
What About The Trade Deadline?
It might seem early to start discussing this now, but the MLB trade deadline will be here before we know it in early August.
As far as turning into buyers or sellers go, we’ll know more on the direction the Cubs front office should lean as June and July roll on. It’s a bit of a coin-flip for the time being though, but we’ll explore a couple seller scenarios for the Cubs as it’s been a trend the past few seasons.
Our first trade involves dealing pitcher Marcus Stroman, who’s had one of the best arms in the MLB thus far. With a 2.39 ERA, Stroman looks to be one of the top pitching assets on the market this year. If he doesn’t fit into the teams long-term plans past 2024 and they don’t wish to extend him, now might be the time to sell given how high his value should be.
Another couple vets that could be on the move are Kyle Hendricks, or even Yan Gomes. Both players should offer plenty of value to a team looking to contend right now. And, more importantly, both could garner some solid, young prospects in return in a potential move.
All of this trade talk is pure speculation though, and no one can know for sure really until we see how the Cubs perform over June and July. If they can stay afloat and keep their playoff chances alive, we might even see them become buyers for the first time in awhile. Or, if the next two months continue like May did, some selling might end up taking place after all.
Odds are only a handful of people truly know the plans Jed Hoyer has for the organization and where he sees the next window opening. And all us fans can do is sit, wait, and watch some Cubs baseball while we hope for another championship roster sometime here soon!
Featured Image Credit: Chicago Cubs on Instagram
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