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The "likely" Cubs to trade Ian Happ?

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Willson Contreras Producing the most common speculation among Cubs trade candidates, the deadline is a week away, but teammate outfielder Ian Happ ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it has emerged as one of the most sought after names on the summer market. This is especially noteworthy when combined with Happ’s recent approval that the team hasn’t approached him on contract extensions (link via Patrick Mooney from The Athletic).

Happ is “likely” to be traded during the next week, Passan said, and some stakeholders said that either Contreras or Happ would be traded with a rescuer such as: He added that he approached the Cubs. David Robertson Also Mychal givens.. (Passan does not specifically mention what is right Chris MartinHowever, as a pending free agent, he is certainly available. More interestingly, athletic Dennis Lynn wrote over the weekend that Padres was interested in adding both Contreras and Happ in the same deal, but the question about that is certainly huge.

MLBTR’s Anthony Franco surveyed Happ’s career-leading productions earlier this month, with significant improvements in Happ’s plate discipline profile to the strongest and most sustainable results of his six big league seasons. I observed what was created. Happ has always portrayed walks with high clips, but his preference for strikeouts often suppressed his overall value on the plate.

Most notably, as Anthony wrote at the time, Happ significantly improved his contact rate in 2022. His 62.6% contact rate on the pitch off the plate has increased by 10 percentage points since 2021, and the zone has increased from 79.9% a year ago. Happ’s overall contact rate is 75.9%, 1 percentage point below the league average. It may sound less impressive, but when you combine near-average contact skills with Happ’s high-end walking rate (10.9%), above-average power, and above-average speed, Happ becomes more and more balanced. Looks like a good player. Switch hitter Happ also posted significantly better numbers this season as a right-handed batter than in the last few years. Part of that is due to the height of .463 BABIP as a right-handed man, but he is also lowering his strikeout rate. He is left-handed this year with about 6 percentage points (up to 25.1%).

Defensively, opinions about Happ will be a little more complicated. After bouncing around diamonds earlier in his career, he settled down as a Chicago left fielder this season. This is his best position. He recorded 706 of the 718 defensive frames on the left side of the season, with the remaining 12 coming via a few short split screens in the center. He feels both his defensive points (+5) and ultimate zone rating (+3.9) are above average, but he was a scratch defender in 2022 with a above-average out of Statcast.

It’s easy to understand why Happ’s overall skill set makes him an attractive trade chip. He’s a solid defender, at least on the left side, and so far this season, a balanced switch hitter with .282 / .367 / .445 batting lines on 387 trips to the plate. .. His home run hasn’t reached his previous level — his nine long balls are shy at a pace comparable to last year’s career best of 25 — but Happ is already connected to his career’s 24 best doubles. And are working on some triples for good measurements. But what’s even more appealing is the fact that Happ is being managed for additional seasons beyond the current campaign.

Assuming the Happ is actually trading, no matter which club wins him, he can be penciled into the left field both in the current postseason push and throughout the 2023 season. He has earned $ 6.9 million this season and should not exceed $ 10 million in 2023. This makes it affordable for the majority of clubs in the league. Happ will not be 28 until next month. In short, the former 9th draft topic is a perfect fit for the typical prime of a batter’s career.

Of course, whether the Cubs ultimately pursue the package offer reported by Passan or instead try to design a standalone trade for all chips depends entirely on the strength of the offer it receives. However, it is natural to think that a team interested in Happ will take the approach of two birds and one stone, as virtually all candidates are trying to deepen the bullpen. Robertson, Givens and Martin each became free agents at the end of the season and each is in the middle of a great season.

Robertson received the most attention among Cubs rescuers in early speculation — as is often the case with people in closer roles of bragging — mainly thanks to the pristine 1.83 ERA and 14 saves of the season. .. He earns a base salary of $ 3.5 million, but is moving at a pace to reach all incentives (including a $ 100,000 trade bonus), which will bring his total salary up to $ 5.1 million. .. Still, for a pitcher with his track record and a 31.4% strikeout rate, it’s a reasonable price to pay — even if this year’s 11.9% pedestrian rate is a bit worrisome.

32-year-old Givens also earns $ 3.5 million, but his contract includes an incentive of $ 1.25 million and a $ 1.5 million buyout for next year’s mutual options, so his final Price tags range from $ 5.5 million to $ 6 million. He pitched 2.79 ERA with a 11.5% walk rate, which increased as well as a 29.1% strikeout rate. Like Robertson, Givens has a long track record as a solid late inning relief with roots in AL East (Orioles).

Martin, 36, has swelled to 4.50 in ERA after hitting five runs in the last 3 2/3 innings, but has touted a great K / BB ratio of 37 to 4 even after the recent slump. .. With 30 innings so far in 2022. With a salary of $ 2.5 million, he probably won’t get the 60 appearances needed to maximize the incentive, but unlocks either the $ 400,000 or $ 500,000 bonuses available for the incentive. May-Contract before becoming a free agent at the end of the season.