I’ve said several times how it’s impossible to come up with trade ideas because as much as you try to compare previous deals and attempt to match what a team is supposedly looking for, you then get the Oakland A’s trading Sean Murphy to the Atlanta Braves and everyone is left dumbfounded. So, what the hell, let’s get crazy and try to come up with a Cubs trade for Miami Marlins starting pitcher Pablo López.
You’re probably wondering why the Cubs would even want to trade for another pitcher, considering they do have a lot of depth in that area, but you can’t just think about 2023. After next season Marcus Stroman has the chance to opt out of his deal and go into free agency again, while Kyle Hendricks will most likely have his option declined by the team. Recently signed Drew Smyly also has an opt out in his contract after the 2023 season.
So yeah, the Cubs may have a solid group now, but it can get better and trading for López will also give them another starter under team control through 2024.
Last week a group of MLB writers and reporters came up with five big trades that included some of the most rumored players on the trade block. This one in particular was intriguing because the price seems very doable for the Cubs. Of course, this is just speculation on their part, but if it’s something like this, do it as soon as possible, Jed!
Rangers get: RHP Pablo López
Marlins get: RHP Dane Dunning, OF Anthony Gutierrez (Rangers’ No. 12 prospect)
The Rangers made a splash with the addition of Jacob deGrom this offseason, a year after the Marcus Semien and Corey Seager signings. They added Andrew Heaney and Jake Odorizzi, too, but competing in the AL West and beyond will take all the pitching Texas can get. López would be another reliable arm behind deGrom, and he’s under team control through 2024, so this isn’t a move that piles on the immediate pressure. On the Marlins’ side, they’d get a 2016 first-rounder in Dunning – and he’s under contract two years past when López is. He was drafted by the Nationals, traded to the White Sox in the Adam Eaton deal later in ’16, then traded to the Rangers in ’20 for Lance Lynn. Dunning has not reached his full potential yet, but the Marlins’ track record with young pitchers lately speaks for itself. Gutierrez provides another outfield option down the line.
Who says no? Likely the Marlins, but maybe just for now. López’s name seems likely to come up frequently in the trade rumor mill moving forward, with the biggest free-agent pitchers all signed. Miami may look to wait out the market until the Trade Deadline or next winter, but if the Rangers are competing, the landing spot certainly may come up.
— Sarah Langs
We know now that the Texas Rangers signed right-handed starter Nathan Eovaldi, so they’re most likely out on López, but let’s try to match up a few Cubs players to that trade proposal.
Cubs get: Pablo López
Marlins get: Keegan Thompson, Alexander Canario
Obviously the big issue here is that Alexander Canario suffered a terrible injury playing in the Dominican Winter League at the end of October. He fractured an ankle and had a dislocated shoulder, requiring two surgeries this offseason. The 22-year-old outfielder will not be ready for the start of the 2023 season after hitting 37 home runs and stealing 23 bases in the minors in 2022. So yeah, the Marlins would hang up right away.
Another factor in potential trade talks is that the Marlins are apparently not asking for any prospects. They want MLB talent for any pitching they trade.
Well then, who exactly could that be on the Cubs going to the Marlins? And if that’s the asking price, would the Cubs even want to go in this direction?
Don’t get wrong, I would very much like López with the Cubs. The 26-year-old has been pretty good since the start of 2020, putting up a 3.52 ERA over 340 innings. He has struck out a little more than nine batters per nine innings and has a ground ball rate above 47% in his last 63 starts. In 2022, López started 32 games, had a 3.75 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 180 innings. And he’s under team control with two more years of arbitration.
So yeah, I want López, but maybe the Cubs should wait this out a bit until the Marlins lower the asking price. I mean, Keegan Thompson and Christopher Morel? Add in Nick Madrigal? Now, I’m doing the thing where you just keep adding players thinking it’s making a trade proposal better.
If the Marlins really are going for it right now and don’t want prospects, then the Cubs probably aren’t a good match. But if the Marlins change their focus, then yeah, maybe you can work a deal that includes an outfielder like Owen Caissie because at this point the Cubs can’t afford to trade away the impact bats in their lineup.
But remember, my original thought of the Cubs offering something to the Marlins was based on that proposal from MLB.com. Don’t yell at me too much.
Or maybe the Cubs can pivot to a different direction with the Marlins and instead target left-handed starter Trevor Rogers. The 25-year-old was fantastic in 2021, posting a 2.64 ERA in 25 starts, but then struggled in 2022, recording a 5.47 ERA in 23 starts.