Cubs Named No. 1 Landing Spot for MLB’s ‘Top Hurler’ With 4-Player Trade Pitch

The Chicago Cubs are locked in a battle to win the National League Central division and one of the most intriguing prospective commodities on the MLB trade market could be the kind of player that propels them well into the postseason.

“In just a few weeks, Mason Miller has managed to go from a relative unknown to potentially the hottest pitcher on MLB’s summer trade market,” Zachary Rymer wrote for Bleacher Report. “The first thing to know about Miller is that, at least on a pitch-to-pitch basis, he’s the top hurler in Major League Baseball right now.”

The young Oakland A’s closer leads all of MLB in expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA) and expected ERA (xERA), advanced measures of how effective he’s been with defense taken out of the equation. And, regularly topping 100 miles per hour on his pitches, he’s the kind of flamethrowing closer that is highly coveted by teams looking to shore up their chances heading into the playoffs.

Fitting the profile of such a team, Rymer ranked the Cubs as the number-one landing spot for Miller in a potential trade, proposing that the team could send prospects Kevin Alcántara, Owen Caissie and James Triantos to Oakland to secure Miller.

“As steep as it is, this deal would allow the Cubs to keep all three of their best prospects: right-hander Cade Horton, outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong and third baseman Matt Shaw,” Rymer detailed. “Not ideal for the A’s, perhaps, but they would still have plundered a more-than-fair haul from the best farm system in MLB. Everyone would win, in other words.”

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The Chicago Cubs Are Actively Seeking Relief Hep and a Trade for Mason Miller Could Be Next

Boosting the likelihood of such a deal is the fact that the Cubs are decidedly in the market for bullpen help. The team has had the seventh-worst relief corps in MLB as measured by ERA and it has given up the fourth-most hits.

“Obviously, we’ll be looking for external stuff,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said recently of potential bullpen help, per Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. “You know, we’re in touch, we’re on the phone with everybody.”

Based on the early returns so far this season, Miller is the kind of player who would go a long way in improving the Cubs’ main weak spot.

“Miller alone wouldn’t fix everything, but he’d bring a level of stability that the Cubs simply aren’t going to get with in-house options,” Rymer noted. “Or, for that matter, arguably any of the other relievers who could be had this summer.”

The Chicago Cubs Might Seek Other Bullpen Options Before Mason Miller

However, with a steep asking price, Miller might not end up being the Cubs external solution. The team might be hoping that a quieter addition could still offer the kind of improvement they need to win the division, as demonstrated by their recent acquisition of Tyson Miller from the Seattle Mariners.

“As for the Cubs, beggars can’t be choosers,” Brett Taylor wrote for Bleacher Nation. “They are desperate in the bullpen, and it’s fine to take a chance on (Tyson) Miller right now.”

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With a deep farm system and the clear need of a difference-making closer, though, the Cubs seem like a promising fit for the most ascendant pitcher in the big leagues.

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