Pete Crow-Armstrong – Picture by Todd Johnson
With Dansby Swanson now officially a Cub, there are only a few free agent moves left for the Cubs to make. Whether they can make more signings over the next two months is another story, but now trades become a viable option for the Cubs to acquire talent for the major league club. They could do that by trading major league talent for major league talent or they could use prospects to make trades. The Cubs have plenty of depth in the outfield and with starting pitchers up and down the minors.
But do the Cubs have any prospects that “they” might consider to be untouchable in a deal?
The politically correct answer for Jed and Carter to say would be. “No, there are no untouchables.” Behind the scenes, that’s likely a different story.
After getting to see Pete Crow-Armstrong play most every day in June, July, and August, I would attest that he’s the guy who’s not going anywhere and it is easy to see why. Defensively, he’s ready right now to play in the major leagues. That is actually not that far off. He’s been showing videos of himself working out on Instagram every day this off-season and looks like he is getting his whole body ready for another full grind. In addition, that buildup could result in some more power for him next year. With him starting the year at Tennessee, he’s within reach of Chicago at a moment’s notice. Some people don’t like when I say that, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is close. If the Cubs are in a playoff race at the end of the year, I am not gonna be surprised in the slightest to see him out in the grass in Chicago.
My second pick as an untouchable would be Kevin Alcantara. This dude just oozes talent and I am so excited to see him on opening day next year for South Bend. It might be cold on opening night in Davenport, but over those first three months of the season I’m going to be having a front row seat to his talents. Now that he’s out of the Carolina League, he should be hitting a few more bombs than he hit last year. 20 home runs this year for him is not out of the question, especially if he added some weight in his top half. In 2022, the Cubs let him marinate all last summer in Myrtle Beach, which was probably a good thing. How fast he moves in 2023 is going to be the big question. Do the Cubs keep him at Tennessee all for his 20-year-old season. As for my expectations of him in 2023, I am just looking for dominant games this year. And how much domination will be up to him.
The Close to 100 Percenters
There are only three other guys, possibly four, who I could see the Cubs not wanting to part with.
To begin, Hayden Wesneski and Ben Brown were both acquired last summer, and it is highly doubtful the Cubs would already flip them for somebody else.
That leaves me with two other prospects that the Cubs might be silly to trade. And the reason I say that is that they really haven’t played much as Cubs except in instructs.
When the season begins, first round, pick Cade Horton and second round pick Jackson Ferris will both make their full season debuts. We’ll see just how good they are and how good they can be over the course of the summer. Technically, both were first round talents and both got first round money. Last year, the Cubs were able to work out a financial deal that allowed them to draft and sign both of them. Both of them could technically be 1–2 in the rotation within 4 years. That’s not something you really want to trade away before they even throw one pitch.
While the Cubs may make a move or two this winter, the bigger moves will probably come at the trade deadline in the summer If the Cubs are in contention for a playoff spot. Depending on the MLB player, the Cubs could go all in by using their prospect capital or they could also just acquire ancillary pieces to improve the ball club, depending on how well the ball club is playing at the time. They may even want to use their prospects in the majors to help the ball club. Maybe we could see Brennen Davis, Jordan Wicks, Ben Brown, Ryan Jensen, or Miguel Amaya in Chicago this summer. Who knows who will be ready and who will be available to trade.
What all this prospect capital gives the Cubs is plenty of flexibility to make deals now and in the future. With only a few players they consider to be untouchable, that might be the best thing for them in the long run.