jed hoyer

Getty Luis Robert Jr. is an intriguing trade candidate in 2024. Would Jed Hoyer make a player to bring him to the Chicago Cubs?

The Chicago White Sox are set to be trade deadline sellers thanks to their 21-60 record. Center fielder Luis Robert Jr. has seen his name churning through the rumor mill for most of this season. Could he be headed for a cross-town move to the Chicago Cubs before July 30?’s Mike Petriello discussed 10 teams that could target Robert as the deadline creeps closer. He ranked the Cubs fourth on his list.

“Why it should be them: Because a sputtering offense needs to find some spark for an impatient fanbase, and fast. Only three teams have scored fewer runs since May 1 than the Cubs, who are wasting some quality starting pitching, and Pete Crow-Armstrong’s elite defense isn’t enough to carry his 53 OPS+ bat,” he said. “Robert would not only invigorate the Wrigley faithful, he’d allow Cody Bellinger to move to first, push Michael Busch to designated hitter and improve the club on both sides of the ball.”

While Robert has struggled to a .198/.280/.469 line with seven home runs and 11 RBI through 107 plate appearances, he’s coming off a tremendous year. He posted a .857 OPS with career-high marks in homers (38) and RBI (80) during an All-Star campaign.

Robert Would Give the Cubs Some Long-Term Stability

The Cubs’ primary outfield mix consists of Ian Happ, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Cody Bellinger (Mike Tauchman is on the injured list). Although Crow-Armstrong is a rookie and Happ is under contract through 2026, Bellinger could again be a free agent this winter by opting out of his three-year deal.

Part of what makes Robert an attractive target is his contract status. The 26-year-old is in the middle of a six-year, $50 million deal he signed with the White Sox ahead of 2020. According to Spotrac, he’s earning $12.5 million in 2024 and $15 million in 2025. There is also a pair of $20 million club options for 2026 and 2027. Robert could be under contract through his age-29 campaign if both options are exercised.

There might be some concern regarding his injury history. But given his 2023 performance, age and favorable contract status, the price to acquire him will surely be high.

A Cubs-White Sox Trade Probably Isn’t Going to Happen

For each potential Robert suitor listed, Petriello gave reasons why that team should land the outfielder and why it won’t happen.

“Because cross-town trades like this are rare, though not exactly impossible,” he said. “The two teams have linked up recently on the 2021 trade that sent Nick Madrigal south and Craig Kimbrel north, as well as the 2017 deal that allowed the White Sox to get Dylan Cease and Eloy Jiménez (plus two others) for José Quintana. The Cubs may have bigger bullpen problems, anyway, as their hopes for 2024 success slip away.”

The Cubs have continued to see themselves drop in the standings. They’re 37-43 as of June 26, which has them 10 games out of first place in the National League Central and four games behind the final NL Wild Card spot. Unless they turn things around, it’s hard to see them making a huge splash for Robert.

The deadline intention for the White Sox also needs to be considered. According to The Athletic, rival executives believe Chicago is in “no rush” to trade Robert. They could easily hold onto him until the winter while waiting for someone to meet whatever their asking price is.

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