The Chicago Cubs are within striking distance of the NL Central lead. With some holes to fill, these are the players the team can look into trading for.
Over the first 14 games of the season, the Chicago Cubs were 5-9 and 4.5 games back in the National League Central division. The starters were ineffective and had a collective ERA of 5.00 and the bullpen was a whole run worse, with a 6.00 ERA.
Since April 15, Joe Maddon and his club have gone 32-19. Now 37-28 and a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs have righted the ship.
The pitching has been substantially better, as the team owns the third-best starter and reliever ERA since April 15. Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras have all played to an All-Star level and Craig Kimbrel is coming to town.
Signing Kimbrel is a big addition for a bullpen that has been good and one that needed an anchor at the back end of games. The All-Star closer signed a $43-million deal for three seasons.
Still, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer still have to address some areas on this ball club. Netting Kimbrel was a plus but filling in some other holes will be necessary for another deep October run.
Outside of Rizzo, Baez and Contreras, the lineup has been lackluster. Kris Bryant has been either hot or cold, and the second base position should be addressed.
Not that the Cubs need to trade the farm for a high-profile player. Rather, finding depth players and landing another bullpen arm may be all they need.