MLB

Five young prospects the Cubs could target on the trade market

If the Chicago Cubs are looking to reset their roster this offseason on the trade market, these five prospects should be on their radar.

The Chicago Cubs may be hitting the pause button on the dynasty that was supposed to be built around Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber and Javy Baez. After a third straight year without a return trip to the World Series, Theo Epstein and his front office are taking a long, hard look at their roster this winter and mulling over the possibility that it’s time to shake things up — even more than changing managers.

The Cubs core is nearing the end of its cost-controlled years, and there is little that can be done to keep everyone under contract. Free agency looms large for the core group that delivered the 2016 World Series title for the Cubs.

With the knowledge that he will not be able to re-sign everyone, it makes sense that Epstein is considering making one or two shrewd trades this year. Doing so would allow the Cubs to breathe life into their depleted farm system, bring payroll down to a manageable level and look to the future on the fly without a break in the winning ways the fans have come to expect.

This is a critical moment for the Cubs if they want to remain a contender in the National League. It is possible to field a winner year in and year out, but not if the team is continuously in win-now mode and neglecting its farm system. For all of his many talents as a general manager, this is what Epstein has struggled with. He excels at building a farm system from scratch and makes the right moves to add to his MLB roster, but has not shown an ability to do both at the same time.

If the Cubs are smart, they’ll trade one of their core stars this winter for a huge package of prospects. It’s going to be a tricky year for teams looking to trade because All-Stars Francisco Lindor and Mookie Betts are also likely to be made available. If the Cubs can jump the market and make a quick deal, they may be able to net one of these five impact prospects.

TOKYO, JAPAN – NOVEMBER 11: Infielder Alec Bohm #23 of the United States throws to the first base in the bottom of 7th inning during the WBSC Premier 12 Super Round game between South Korea and USA at the Tokyo Dome on November 11, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

5. Alec Bohm

The Philadelphia Phillies made what they believed were the final big moves they would need to push themselves back into contention last winter. They guaranteed $330 million to Bryce Harper and traded for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto. After a strong start to the season, the Phillies collapsed down the stretch just like they did in 2018. The 81-81 finish cost manager Gabe Kapler his job.

Philadelphia’s entire rebuilding process hinged on their ability to develop a handful of prospects and then spend like crazy in free agency. The results have been mixed on both fronts and the team looks no closer to being ready to contend for a World Series than it did two years ago. It will take another aggressive winter to push the Phillies over the hump in one of the toughest divisions in baseball.

Third baseman Alec Bohm is the top prospect in a Phillies organization that has been thinned out by trades. The 23-year-old is the number one prospect in baseball at his position and is a polished hitter. He hit .305/.378/.518 with 21 home runs and 80 RBI in 125 games in the minor leagues last year. Bohm also drew 57 walks and struck out only 73 times.

If the Phillies are unable to convince Anthony Rendon to come join Harper, they may look to the trade market to add the final piece they need to complete their lineup.

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