The Chicago Cubs are currently 43-48 and seven games back of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. With the MLB trade deadline just a couple weeks away the question is will the Cubs be buyers, or will they be sellers?
Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman pitched a gem on Saturday versus the Red Sox, allowing just three hits and one earned run in six innings in the Cubs’ 10-4 win.
After the game, Stroman was asked about trade rumors, and his response was candid. Stroman doesn’t believe there should be such a short-term focus on the team being buyers or sellers and the front office should strive to keep top talent and be consistently competitive.
“Everyone’s always putting this emphasis on, ‘We need to play good in seven days, 10 days and then we could be buyers,'” Stroman said, per The Daily Herald. “But I actually don’t believe in that. This division’s wide open and then if you even look deeper than that, as an organization, why wouldn’t you want to be competitive for multiple years, year after year after year?”
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said in late June that he considered the team “buyers right now,” but whether he still feels that way remains to be seen. It feels as if the Cubs are on the cusp of being a playoff contender, and if anything, they need to add a couple more pieces and not dismantle the best elements they currently have.
“I think what we have is a core that can compete for the division and compete for the playoffs,” Ricketts said in June. “And now it’s finding the missing parts to add to it.”
If Ricketts is true to that train of thought it would be easy to assume that the Cubs would keep Stroman and players like center fielder Cody Bellinger. In fact, Stroman’s rationale isn’t just about himself, he talked about why the Cubs would be better off keeping Bellinger around.
“Belli’s a guy who changes your lineup. Why would you want him to get away?” Stroman said. “Why would you want a guy like myself, who goes out there and gives you quality starts?”
Bellinger’s been a force in the Cubs lineup this season when healthy and is currently surging, hitting five home runs in his last six games. On the year, Bellinger is batting .305 with 12 home runs and 35 RBIs in 60 games.
Not only are Stroman and Bellinger great players, but they’re also two men who have really embraced being with the Cubs. These variables should have Chicago’s front office wanting to keep these two around for the foreseeable future.
“I know Belli wants to stay,” Stroman said. “I know I would love to stay here, but a lot of that’s out of our control. So at the end of the day, it’s a business and we have to treat it as such, even though we have this love for this fan base and this organization.”
Being seven games back in the NL Central in mid-July isn’t an insurmountable deficit to overcome, and if the Cubs are serious about winning they shouldn’t even consider trading Stroman and Bellinger.