Riding the waves of championship success, the Chicago Cubs have never felt better. However, the latest Chicago Cubs rumors seems to indicate an easy decision.
Recent Chicago Cubs rumors have surfaced that the Atlanta Braves are interested in bringing in Cubs outfielder Matt Szczur. Per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Atlanta Braves showed interest in bringing in the outfielder to play a significant role in the organization. The Cubs seem to have cold feet regarding dealing Szczur and would prefer to keep him around, but quite frankly, this may not be the smartest move.
First of all, Theo Epstein is a genius. Most moves he makes are well-calculated and obviously lead to World Series rings. However, that is not to say that every move Theo Epstein makes is a great one, and not capitalizing on this newfound interest in Szczur is a tad bit absurd.
I understand the desire to keep Szczur around for additional depth, especially on a Cubs team that lacks a whole lot of depth in the outfield. I understand that he is young and his ability to play all three outfield spots is extremely valuable. However, I do think that both the Cubs and Braves are overvaluing Szczur, which should lead to a win for the Chicago Cubs.
While he has had a solid spring, that is only more reason for the Cubs to cash out on his value now. On the surface, Szczur may seem like a very solid player, but looking into it, he does not seem to fit in talent-wise with these Chicago Cubs. Szczur is a career .245 batter, striking out 65 times in 319 career at bats. This 20 percent strikeout rate is not awful, but certainly isn’t the hallmark of a fantastic player.
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Nothing seems to stand out about Szczur as well. Although he is a good addition in terms of depth and to play a utility role, considering what the Braves are likely to offer, his greatest worth is likely his trade value.
Long story short, the Atlanta Braves farm system is absolutely stacked. With arguably the top system in all of baseball, the team could afford giving away their sixth or seventh best prospect, who happens to be in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100.
Heck, let’s say the Braves were willing to do a straight swap between Szczur and the Braves’ sixth best prospect, Sean Newcomb. Newcomb is ranked as the 80th best prospect, and is a dynamic left-handed pitching option that would be a great supplement if the Cubs rotation finds itself in dire straits. Plus, the Cubs could then utilize Newcomb out of the bullpen similar to Mike Montgomery, easing him into big league starts.
Worst case scenario for the Cubs would be that they rush top prospects Eloy Jimenez or Ian Happ into the outfield later in the season. While baseball traditionalists may not agree with this move, bringing up guys at a very young age has been working for the Cubs thus far, so who is to say 22-year-old Ian Happ isn’t ready for a supplemental role?
At the end of the day, I think it would be in the Cubs’ best interest if they followed through on these rumors. If the Braves are willing to over-evaluate Matt Szczur, well then, he should be an Atlanta Brave this season.