Yesterday, the Cubs completed a trade for Aroldis Chapman.  The Cubs' bullpen has been the weak spot for an otherwise excellent ball club.  The Cubs' bullpen ranks 20th in the majors in FIP and 14th in ERA.  There's no question that Chapman immediately makes the Cubs bullpen better.  Chapman has a career ERA of 2.12 and a career FIP of 1.96.  He's struck out over 15 betters per 9 innings in his career.  He throws the ball really fast, so much so that when MLB introduced Statcast to the masses last season, they had to include a Chapman Filter on the leaderboard of fastest pitches thrown, because otherwise the leaderboard would just be tracking every fastball Chapman pitched.  He also features a devastating slider.  Suffice it to say, Chapman is one of the most-dominant, most-feared closers baseball has ever seen.

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If you've been paying attention, you've probably seen Kyle Schwarber's name come up a lot recently.  It's that time of the year; the trade deadline is near.  The Cubs would like to strengthen their bullpen.  The Yankees are overflowing with excellent pitchers in their bullpen.  It seems like a logical fit as far as trade partners go.  We've also found out that Brian Cashman is infatuated with Schwarber.  He apparently thinks Schwarber can hit 50 home runs in Yankee Stadium.  He thinks it's only fair to have Schwarber included in any deal involving the two teams.  This might help explain why Brian Cashman is in a position where he is contemplating selling off some of his superfluous, elite relief pitching.  He believes the going rate for a relief pitcher with two more years of control is a player that can hit 50 home runs and has five more years of control.

You have to give Cashman credit for one thing.  He's built a hell of a bullpen.  But, in his haste to keep the Yankees competitive, he's been late to adjust to this era where teams covet young players and understand concepts like years of control and surplus value in pre-free agency years.  In this post-PED era, players are better at a young age and decline earlier.  As such, young players are becoming more valuable.  Cashman's team is filled with old and deteriorating players and Theo Epstein's team is filled with young, blossoming players.  I'm sure Cashman would love to skim one of those players off the Cubs' roster.

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In the first two installments, I looked at what the Cubs could use to strengthen the team. The short answer is: a reliever for sure and a starter would be really good. Under perfect circumstances, a hitter could be added, too.

In this article, we'll look at the AL team by team to see how likely they are to sell and what players they may put on the market that could help the Cubs. 

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I have to confess, I was pessimistic on Ian Happ entering this season.  At the time he was drafted I liked the pick, I'm a big fan of polished bats in the first round, and who could argue the Front Office's process after the immediate success of Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber.  Still, Happ underwhelmed me in his first exposure to pro ball.  You hope for better than a .348 wOBA and 23.6% K% from your Top 10 college bat in Low A.  Especially one like Happ who has questions about his future position and if he'll provide any defensive value. Visions of Eric Patterson danced in my head.  With that in mind I didn't consider Happ in the top tier of Cubs prospects, and slotted him #9 when I put together a list to start the year.

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With 22 days remaining until the deadline, trades are beginning to happen around major league baseball. Yesterday, the Red Sox made a move for reliever Brad Ziegler from Arizona to bolster their pen in the wake of the injury to closer Craig Kimbrel. This series of articles is going to look at the Cubs to see what pieces could help the team and then look at the American and National League teams to see what pieces are out there that would fit those needs.

Coming into play today, the Cubs still maintain a large eight game lead in the division and are one game back for home field advantage for the NL playoffs. The offense has scored the second most runs in baseball and the pitching staff has allowed the fewest runs. Breaking that down a bit further, the starters have easily allowed the fewest runs in baseball, but the bullpen comes in 12th in preventing runs. So, at a high level, the pen would be the first area that needs some reinforcements. But we can take a deeper look than that.

Starting with the offense, let's go position by position. We'll see how the position ranks by both WAR and by wOBA.

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With 22 days remaining until the deadline, trades are beginning to happen around major league baseball. Yesterday, the Red Sox made a move for reliever Brad Ziegler from Arizona to bolster their pen in the wake of the injury to closer Craig Kimbrel. This series of articles is going to look at the Cubs to see what pieces could help the team and then look at the American and National League teams to see what pieces are out there that would fit those needs.

Coming into play today, the Cubs still maintain a large eight game lead in the division and are one game back for home field advantage for the NL playoffs. The offense has scored the second most runs in baseball and the pitching staff has allowed the fewest runs. Breaking that down a bit further, the starters have easily allowed the fewest runs in baseball, but the bullpen comes in 12th in preventing runs. So, at a high level, the pen would be the first area that needs some reinforcements. But we can take a deeper look than that.

In the first article, I looked at the position players to see what was needed there

This time we will take a look at the pitching and we'll find there are a lot more needs to address.

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Jake Arrieta gave up 6 earned runs last night, the most he's given up in a game since 2014.  That's a lot of runs to give up in one game.  Arrieta only gave up 6 earned runs total in a span of 15 regular season stats, stretching from the middle of August last year into May this year.  Giving up runs isn't such a foreign concept to Jake Arrieta anymore, though.  He's given up 15 in his last three starts.  Despite his best efforts, his accustomed efficacy isn't there.  This is his nadir -- hopefully.  Frustrations certainly are at an all-time high.

This is happening at an inopportune time, as well.  The Cubs are in a death spiral, losing 8 of their last 9, and 14 of their last 19.  When we need our stopper the most, he can't seem to stop the bleeding.  If anything, he's exacerbated it.  Jake knows that.  He's an intense competitor.  There is no one hurting more than him.  Getting out of this rut must seem like a Sisyphean task.  If this all sounds too depressing, then I have good news for you:  Last night wasn't so bad for Jake.  He did get shelled, but he got shelled... differently.  More importantly, he changed his approach in order to correct some issues he's been having.

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