The Chicago Cubs are currently leaders in their division, but they have decisions to make regarding the future of several players with expiring contracts, such as Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo.
Theoretically, they could extend them, or at least one or two of them.
However, it remains to be seen which route they will elect regarding their situation.
The Cubs enter June with sole possession of first place.
If they keep playing above .500 baseball, the front office will have some tough decisions to make at the trade deadline with Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Zach Davies, & Joc Pederson all FA’s after this season.
— Kyle Malzhan (@KyleMalzhan) June 1, 2021
Should they go for it this season and keep all three, making one last run at the championship with their current core?
Should they trade them (or one or two of them) to get something in return?
Rizzo, in particular, is a desirable asset, with some power and known on-base ability.
He is currently hitting .264/.369/.436 with five home runs and 19 RBI.
Which teams are realistic trade partners with Rizzo in mind?
3. Milwaukee Brewers
It’s highly unlikely that the Cubs decide to trade Rizzo to a division rival, and if we consider that Chicago could be fighting with Milwaukee for a postseason spot, then the scenario is even more far-fetched.
However, if Chicago falls out of contention, they should look for the best deal available for Rizzo if they don’t have the intention of re-signing him.
If Milwaukee approaches the Cubs with a fair deal, with near MLB-ready prospects and other assets, then Chicago should at least listen.
And Milwaukee should have every motivation to find a suitable first baseman if they are serious about contending this year.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Cubs are in first place of the National League Central division with a 31-23 record, while the Brewers are third, 2.5 games behind Chicago.
Their first base production has been subpar this season, to say the least.
Milwaukee ranks 29th out of 30 teams in weighted Runs Created Plus, or wRC+, from the first base position, with 67 (100 is average).
Yes, they need a quality first baseman.
2. New York Yankees
Ever since Luke Voit got injured the first time (partial meniscus tear in March), the Yankees should have pursued a decent first baseman.
Voit returned, played a few games, and then injured his oblique.
As a result, the Yankees are back to the LeMahieu-Ford combination, with Miguel Andujar playing some first base, too.
It’s not the first base situation that a contending team should have.
Anthony Rizzo just feels like a yankee trade
— Coach Warzu (@Chef_Warzu) June 1, 2021
The Yankees’ first basemen have a 79 wRC+ for the year, 28th out of 30 teams.
1. Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have been surprisingly competitive this year, currently in second place of the American League East division with a 32-22 record.
It’s fair to say that first basemen haven’t been contributing a lot to the team’s success in 2021.
Red Sox’s first basemen have an 80 wRC+, 26th out of 30 teams in baseball.
Adding a piece like Rizzo could help an already excellent offense reach the next level.
The former has a .207/.260/.386 line, and the latter is rocking a .174/.269/.522 line.
Adding Rizzo to the mix would be a surprising, yet quality move.