With the recent trade of Jeff Samardzija that brought highly-prized prospect Addison Russell to the north side of Chicago, the Chicago Cubs now have one of if not the most impressive stable of positional prospects in all of baseball. Russell will join Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara as high-ceiling prospects for Chicago which has many long-suffering Cubs fans anxious for the near future.
One common thread among most of the Cubs’ prospects is that several are middle infielders. Baez, Alcantara and Russell all play either SS or 2B, although there’s been talk about moving Alcantara to center field. Couple that with starting shortstop Starlin Castro, who is still just 24 years old, and the Cubbies may have a bit of a logjam on their hands when their prospects are ready to hit the majors.
One thing that the Cubs lack, despite all of their positional talent, is a system rich in young pitching. Chicago traded their best young pitcher in Samardzija and don’t have much in the pipeline behind him, although Jake Arrieta is seemingly having a career renaissance at age 28. Enter the New York Mets and their glut of young pitching.
The Mets have a variation of young pitchers, some currently with the major league team and others on the cusp in triple-A. New York’s stable of pitching boasts Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob de Grom, with others potentially on the way. While it remains to be seen which of those pitchers the Mets would actually part with to acquire a long-term fit at shortstop, there are plenty of names to choose from.
Prospect for prospect trades in baseball tend to be tricky and, as a result, these deals rarely come to fruition. Teams are usually fiercely protective of their prospects and the in-house evaluation is almost always higher than what outsiders deem it to be.
Depending on who the odd man out is in Chicago, the Mets could put together a very intriguing package for one of Chicago’s young middle infielders, be it Castro, Baez or Russell. Of course, without knowing which players each side thinks highly of, any more isolated speculation is foolish, but these two teams do seem to match up very well from a needs perspective.
With both teams falling out of contention by the day, this is the kind of deal that could be tabled until the offseason. Each team may want a little longer to get a grasp on what they have, as well as to see how some of these players fare in late-season call-ups. In any event, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if one of the Mets’ young pitchers is eventually headed to the Windy City, while one of the Cubs’ shortstop prospects heads back to the Big Apple.