The top 5 trades of the last decade have different impacts. Some short-term fixes and others helped shape the team and the future. Many fans don’t see the Cubs as a team that’s particularly good at trading. However, after over a century, some moves had to be made to bring the elusive World Series Championship back to the windy city.
July 25th, 2016 With the New York Yankees
On July 25th, 2016 the Cubs delivered a blockbuster trade while in the hunt for their 1st World Series win in 108 years. The Cubs managed to get their hands on arguably the best closing pitcher in baseball at the time in Aroldis Chapman. Although Chapman came at a steep price, he came to Chicago and did his job. The Cubs gave up outfielder Billy McKinney, pitcher Adam Warren, outfielder Rashad Crawford, and top prospect Gleyber Torres. Now Cubs fans still have a sour taste in their mouths, for many reasons. They gave up Torres for a rental. Chapman openly complained about his workload during the Championship run and Chapman left that summer to go back to New York. However, he did play a role in winning the World Series.
July 4th, 2014 With the Oakland A’s
July 4th, 2014 the Cubs said goodbye to long-time pitcher Jeff Samardzija and freshly acquired pitcher Jason Hammel. At the time, the Cubs were in a full rebuild hoping to build a championship contender. On July 4th, the Cubs brought in prospects Addison Russell and Bill McKinney, as well as a young Dan Straily. McKinney was used as a piece for Chapman, while Straily was traded the following season to Houston. The major piece to this deal was, in fact, shortstop Addison Russell. Although Russell had some on and off-field struggles ultimately ending his tenure with the Cubs, he, like Chapman, played a pivotal role in winning the World Series in 2016.
July 23rd, 2012 With the Texas Rangers
On July 23rd, 2012 the Chicago Cubs struck a deal with the Texas Rangers, sending veteran right-hander Ryan Dempster to Texas in exchange for prospects Kyle Hendricks and Christian Villanueva. This trade has turned out well for the Cubs, even though Villanueva never suited up for Chicago and since went on to find success in San Diego, Kyle Hendricks has lived up to expectations up to this point. Hendricks is regarded as a top-two pitcher in the current rotation. He’s under contract until 2024. However, some might remember this trade wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Dempster’s 10/5 option giving him the ability to veto a trade earlier that would have seen him go to Atlanta for what was reported to be Randall Delgado.
July 3rd, 2013 With the Baltimore Orioles
On July 3rd, 2013, the Cubs made what fans didn’t know at the time was a huge splash. The Cubs gave up Scott Feldman and prospect Steve Clevenger, plus international signing money, in exchange for relief pitcher Pedro Strop and future Cubs ace Jake Arrieta. Arrieta had a rough start to his career in Baltimore, playing 69 games and posting a 5.46 earned run average over 4 seasons. After being traded to the Cubs, he posted a 2.73 earned run average in 128 games. His time in Chicago included a 2015 Cy Young award, a 2016 All-Star appearance and a 2016 World Series victory. Strop played a key role for the Cubs bullpen. During the 2016 World Series 7-game series against Cleveland, he made 3 appearances, pitching in 2.0 innings and striking out 2 batters. Strop spent 7 seasons with the Cubs before departing to Cincinnati this past offseason.
January 6th, 2012 With the San Diego Padres
On January 6th, 2012, the Cubs acquired first baseman and future face of the franchise Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs also received pitcher Zach Cates in exchange for Andrew Cashner and Kyung-min Na. Rizzo has gone on to become the love of Cubs fans. From signing a team-friendly deal in 2013 to winning the World Series in 2016. Rizzo has made 3 All-Star game appearances, won 3 Gold Gloves, and has been top-5 in MVP voting twice.
Each trade the Cubs made played a different role in them winning the World Series in 2016. Although Chapman, Russell, and Arrieta are gone, the Cubs still have Rizzo and Hendricks and, hopefully, many more years of them in blue. The Cubs can still make five trades in the next decade to get back to their 2016 state.
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