Cubs outfielder Ian Happ is likely to be traded before the trade deadline and there are four main teams that seem to be interested.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post is reporting that the Chicago Cubs are getting “huge interest” in outfielder Ian Happ. Heyman cites the Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, and Milwaukee Brewers as fits for Happ. It’s easy to see why the Cubs are getting so much interest: he’s one of the best outfielders on the market.
Happ was an All-Star this season and entering Sunday, he had played in 98 games and he was hitting .280/.361/.438 with an OPS+ of 124. That .361 on-base percentage is ninth in the National League. He also has nine home runs, 46 RBI, and 25 doubles, the latter of which is seventh in the National League.
Happ also has some control as he is under team control through the 2023 season. For the four teams that Heyman listed, let’s rank them on their need for Happ and their chance to get him.
Ian Happ trade rumors: Ranking 4 reported teams interested in Cubs star
4. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers are leading the NL Central as they have a record of 57-45 entering the month of August. They have some areas that they want to upgrade but the outfield might not be one of them.
Christian Yelich isn’t playing as well as he once was (especially with power) but in his last 30 games (entering Sunday), he was hitting .318/.451/.458. You aren’t going to replace that production in left field. In center field, Tyrone Taylor has been hitting for a lot of power recently. In his last 25 games entering Sunday, he was hitting .253/.310/.519 with five home runs and 11 RBI.
Right fielder Hunter Renfroe just returned from the injured list just over two weeks ago and he’s hitting for a lot of power too. Entering Sunday, he had played in 13 games since returning and he was hitting .222/.276/.556 with five home runs and 14 RBI. Their primary DH Andrew McCutchen (who is also an outfielder) is also hitting .294/.378/.490 with six home runs and 22 RBI in his last 36 games.
So there’s no obvious spot for Happ and that’s not even the biggest issue. The biggest issue is that the Cubs probably don’t want to face Happ in a dozen or more games (depending on how the new “balanced schedule” is) next season. The Brewers also probably don’t want to trade their prospects to the Cubs and have them be in their division facing them for the next half a decade or more.
It’s a good thought but the Brewers should be fourth among the teams … and a distant fourth at that.