Heading into the All Star Break, the Chicago Cubs have a record of 47-40 and set 7.5 games behind the St Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central division. They currently own the second wild card spot with their division rivals Pittsburgh Pirates. With just a few moves the Cubs can easily lock up their first playoff berth since 2008.
Trade for Cole Hamels
Hamels would make be a perfect addition to the Cubs rotation. Imagine having to face Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Cole Hamels in a series. There is no reason for Hamels to stay in Philadelphia considering they are the worst team in baseball with a record of 29-62.
Even at 31 years old, the lefty is showing no signs of slowing down. This season he has a record of 5-6 with an earned run average of 3.02 and 119 strikeouts in 113.1 innings pitched. Hamels would contribute beyond this season since he is signed through the 2019 season.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reports that the Cubs are looking to add a pitcher that they can control beyond this year. There might not be a better time to get Hamels with Tsuyoshi Wada on the disabled list and Jason Hammel tweaking his hamstring during his last start against the Cardinals.
For the Cubs to even come close to landing Hamels they would have to put together a package deal of young prospects. The package would have to include a combination of players such as: Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara and possibly Albert Almora.
Call Up Kyle Schwarber
Schwarber, coming off being named MVP of the Futures Game, is currently ranked as the Cubs second best prospect according to the MLB Pipeline at MLB.com. This comes as no surprise as he has been hitting everything thrown his way since being drafted fourth overall in the 2014 MLB Draft. His minor league stats are impressive to say the least. He owns a batting average of .333 to go along with 34 home runs and a .429 on-base percentage.
The Indiana University product has already been called up to “The Show” last month for six games as the team’s designated hitter. Schwarber passed this test with flying colors as well. In those six games he managed to get eight hits in 22 at-bats (.364 BA). He also struck out eight times during that time, but that is expected as a rookie.
I do not expect Schwarber to keep this same pace once he is called up to the Cubs again. But, I do believe he would be more productive than current left fielder Chris Coghlan, who has a .245 batting average. Another advantage of having Schwarber is that he can play both catcher and outfield.
The Cubs can stick Schwarber in left field while Coghlan and Dexter Fowler can platoon center field depending on the pitching matchup. Fowler has not been hitting like the Cubs expected when they traded for him this past offseason. His current batting average of .232 is the lowest since his rookie year back in 2008.
By making both these moves the Cubs would become instant contenders and would be extremely tough to beat in a postseason series.
Follow Kyle on Twitter @kylewarner86.