Thoughts on Trade Season, Production by Former Cubs (Bonus Feature: 1991 Daydream Cubs)

This segment is typically reserved for financial topics, but with the All-Star Game and non-waiver trade deadline approaching, I wanted to share few random thoughts on trade season.

I was puzzled by the rumor that the Cubs were looking to add a veteran outfielder, a strange addition to a team that already runs 10 position players deep and struggles to find playing time for Ben Zobrist, Ian Happ, and Kyle Schwarber. Then our own Evan Altman wrote about Happ (along with Addison Russell) being in play should a potential Jacob deGrom deal materialize. Suddenly the due diligence for an outfield bat makes sense.

[Internal monologue: Stop doubting Theo, Stop doubting Theo]

Yet still I sin, because the J.A. Happ rumors also confound me. Happ has a 4.44 ERA and is trending in the wrong direction. I’d rather roll the dice on Mike Montgomery or, if necessary, Duane Underwood Jr. (who looked good in his debut), than pay a hefty trade price for an innings-eating rental.

In related news, quite a number of traded-away Cubs are having great seasons. Newly minted All-Star second baseman Gleyber Torres is an obvious example, but not the only one. Starlin Castro (2B/SS) is on pace for a career  year and Jeimer Candelario (1B/3B) has looked solid for the Tigers.

If we include released 3B prospect Christian Villanueva (who has 19 homers for San Diego), you could field an infield of former Cubs with a combined 6.9 bWAR (as of July 12). By comparison, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, and Kris Bryant have combined for only 7.2 bWAR.

In the outfield, Jorge Soler was having a great season until he – surprise, surprise – got hurt. Eloy Jimenez (traded as part of the Quintana deal) is also having a nice season in the White Sox organization. He is currently putting up solid numbers for my (current) hometown Charlotte Knights and seems ready for a September call-up. I’m hoping to see him in person before that happens.

Of course, like the real Cubs, few previously traded former prospects are pitching in the majors. Even those who are, are having horrible seasons. Zach Godley has been worth negative bWAR for Arizona after a breakout 2017 (and raise your hand if you remembered he was part of the Miguel Montero trade). Chris Archer is barely pitching above replacement level. Former first-round picks Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn both finally got call-ups this season (with the Giants and A’s, respectively), but neither impressed or stuck around.

It’s almost as though talent and luck and timing all play a role in how individual players develop. We have eliminate as many of those variable as possible in the ongoing Daydream Cubs, who had an unimpressive draft heading into the 1991 season.

Yes it is time for the…

Bonus Feature – Daydream Cubs: 1991

In a parallel universe where Moshe was transported back as GM of the 1981 Cubs, we rejoin the Daydream Cubs. Click here for 1990, or check out all drafts & rosters to date.

1991 Draft: (#) Player’s real-life selection round, AS= All-Star; HoF = Hall of Famer; GG = Gold Glove

  • Round 1: Brad Radke (8) – SP: AS (x1)
  • Round 2: Jason Isringhausen (44) – RP: AS (x2)

The roster features only one change, as Jeff Bagwell replaces Fred McGriff at first base. Strong seasons from Sandberg, Bonds, and Clemens pace the Daydream Cubs to a new record-high WAR. The record will not last long; 1992 is bonkers.

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