The defending champion Chicago Cubs (boy does that feel odd to write) are on the verge of their first notable move of the offseason, and it’s a pretty big one.
On Tuesday night, the Cubs reportedly agreed to send young outfielder Jorge Soler to Kansas City in exchange for Royals closer Wade Davis.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 7, 2016
Source: While the Cubs/Royals' Wade Davis-for-Jorge Soler trade is "seriously down the road," it is not expected to be completed tonight.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2016
The Cubs have a hole at the back of their bullpen with the departure of Aroldis Chapman, and if this deal goes through, Davis will slot right in as closer. Davis is coming off a year in which he regressed slightly from his best-reliever-in-baseball form but still had a 1.87 ERA, so this is a big get for the champs. Chicago is trading from a position of depth, as Soler is part of an outfield group that includes Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist, Albert Almora Jr. and the newly acquired Jon Jay.
On very few teams would a 24-year-old power-hitting top prospect be superfluous, but that’s how deep the Cubs are. Soler hasn’t lived up to the expectations of his top-prospect status, batting .258/.328/.434 in 765 plate appearances over three years, but he’s still young and toolsy, with potential to break out at any time. Maybe he’ll never amount to much and the Cubs will look smart for offloading him, but he could put it together one day and make Chicago look silly.
For Kansas City, this could be the start of a minor rebuild. The Royals have been reportedly fielding offers on Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and Danny Duffy, and Davis could be the first domino. Soler is a good fit in KC, where he can plug the Royals’ longtime hole in right field while also getting some at-bats as designated hitter.
It’s not too often you see two Major Leaguers traded for each other straight up. Soler-for-Davis (assuming it is officially consummated Wednesday) is a fun baseball trade that could have major impacts for both of the past two World Series winners.