Three Moves to make if Bellinger signs elsewhere

Three Options for the Cubs

As of Wednesday, December 12th, Jon Heyman reports that two teams are considered “In” the running for the Cody Bellinger sweepstakes. The Chicago Cubs are one, and the Toronto Blue Jays are the other. So we all would love to have Cody back in Wrigley next season, but what happens if Toronto throws stupid money at him after missing out on Shohei Ohtani? What do the Cubs do then? Below are three moves I think the Cubs should make that make the most sense for the club moving forward. The National League Central is wide open this year, and management has stated they are prepared to build a roster to compete for a deep postseason push.

1B – Rhys Hoskins

I mentioned Rhys before being a top target with Bellinger or without; that has not changed. The Right-handed bat has spent the past five years playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, missing all of last season with a knee injury tearing his ACL in Spring Training. In 2022, Rhys played in 156 games, scored 81 runs, had 33 doubles, two triples, 30 Home runs, 79 RBIs, and slashed .242/.353/.492 for the Phillies. Rhys Playing first or handling the DH spot when Mervis gets time at first is a nice addition to the Cubs lineup and would be a start when trying to replace Bellinger’s production.

3B – Matt Chapman

Before going on, I want to mention that I do not want this to happen, and if it does, I think there is a subsequent move to be made after the signing or before it. Chapman being added to the team would provide solid defense at Third base and provide the pitching staff with one of the best defensive infields in baseball, pairing him with Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner. Chapman Played the last few years with the Toronto Blue Jays and would bring the defense the team has been missing at the corner for some time now. Chapman, in 2023, played in 140 games, scored 66 runs, hit 39 doubles, two triples, 17 home runs, 54 RBIs, and slashed .240/.330/.424 for Toronto.

Trade With Cleveland for Shane Bieber and Josh Naylor

This move would be costly to get both, but adding another left bat to the lineup with Ian Happ is needed, especially without Bellinger in the mix. Shane Bieber, sitting at the top end of the rotation, would be a big addition and would be an upgrade over current free agent Marcus Stroman, who is set to leave in free agency. Christopher Morel would be moved as part of this deal in this move. If the team isn’t set on allowing him to control the hot corner for the season, they might as well trade him for a useful arm rather than move him around the field all season, blocking others from playing time. As much as I love watching Morel play and the energy he brings, this team needs help, and he is a valuable asset in trade. In 2023, Bieber started 21 games, went 6-6, pitched 128 innings, struck out 107, and had a 3.80 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP for the Guardians. In 2023, Naylor played in 121 games, scored 52 runs, had 31 doubles, 17 home runs, 97 RBIs, and slashed .308/.354/.489. In this case, the Matt Mervis experiment would be over, and the Cubs would see a huge production improvement from a left-handed 1B/DH.

Conclusion

No one wants Bellinger to play elsewhere, but the reality is that he will just be sporting a new logo this season, and if he does, the team needs to replace his offensive production. Hopefully, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Mike Tauchman will handle his game’s defensive side. The moves above would put the Cubs in a good position to compete for the NL Central title this upcoming season. They may not be popular with some of the fan base if Morel is moved or even looked over, but sometimes the hard decisions end up being the right ones.

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