June 18, 2024

The Chicago Cubs are in a close divisional competition with the Milwaukee Brewers, and there appears to be at least one roster need that, if addressed, might offer them a competitive advantage: offensive power.

The Cubs are among the bottom of the MLB in slugging percentage, total home runs, and OPS, and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer may choose to rectify that deficit through trade by acquiring Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. before the deadline.

“The Cubs desperately need power, and that should be the top area Hoyer will target around the deadline,” MLB columnist Deesha Thosar said for Fox Sports. “The Blue Jays are sliding into last place in a stacked AL East, and the longer their slump continues, the more it appears like they should move Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and start retooling for next year. Guerrero might rediscover his MVP form with a change of scenery in Chicago.”

The Chicago Cubs Could Make Vladimir Guerrero Jr. the Everyday DH

Guerrero Jr. has emerged as a tempting trade option as the Blue Jays have struggled to begin the season. In six major-league seasons, the 25-year-old slugger has a career.279/.346/.484 slash line, three All-Star appearances, a Gold Glove, and a Silver Slugger. However, his bat hasn’t had as much pop this season, with a.404 slugging percentage and only five home runs.

He is on a one-year, $19.9 million contract with another year of arbitration remaining, so there is no real need to deal him in free agency. However, if the Blue Jays decide to rebuild with a new core of players, Guerrero Jr. may provide a large return before making a long-term commitment.

“Guerrero will be a free agent after the 2025 season, and the Blue Jays have yet to sign him to a long-term deal,” Jim Bowden wrote for The Athletic. “They’d get a much better return in a trade now than they would in the offseason or in the leadup to next year’s trade deadline; therefore, they’ll need to seriously consider dealing him this July if they fall out of the race.”

If the Cubs believe Guerrero Jr. can regain his power-hitting form and are forced to acquire him in a trade, he could become the team’s everyday designated hitter while Michael Busch remains first base. The Cubs have decided to use a designated hitter rotation that includes Christopher Morel, who can play third base, Patrick Wisdom, who can play outfield, and Ian Happ, who can also play outfield.

“The Cubs absolutely have the prospect Base to go after Guerrero, and he would stabilize the revolving door they’ve had at the DH spot,” Zachary Rymer wrote in Bleacher Report.

 

Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Is Hitting More by Thinking Less - Sports  Illustrated

The Chicago Cubs Might Opt to Trade for a Reliever Rather Than Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

However, certain questions remain regarding a potential blockbuster deal to bring Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Chicago. Though MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported that the Blue Jays are shopping their young slugger, an anonymous executive informed him that the current asking price is “ridiculous.”

Hoyer may be unwilling to pay that price or may want to trade the team’s prospects to address other concerns, such as the bullpen.

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