MLB rumors: Cubs linked to catcher trade amid Pete Alonso, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. rumblings

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The Chicago Cubs may be two games below .500 at the moment, but amid the morass of mediocrity that is the NL Wild Card race, they are firmly within striking distance of a playoff spot. They sit just a half game back of the San Francisco Giants for the third and final Wild Card spot, and with less than two months to go before the trade deadline, the Cubs appear to be positioning themselves as a buying team.

In fact, the Cubs may be big-game hunting, if the rumors are any indication. They are currently linked to New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso and Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but as per Jim Bowden of The Athletic, the Cubs are also setting their sights towards acquiring a catcher, particularly Elias Diaz from the Colorado Rockies.

At present, the Cubs are trotting out a duo of Miguel Amaya and Yan Gomes at the backstop. Suffice to say, the Cubs’ catcher duo has been one of the worst in the MLB thus far this season. Amaya and Gomes have combined for a -1.0 WAR, per Fangraphs, as they have provided absolutely nothing from the plate. The only saving grace is that Amaya is a better defender than Gomes is at this point of their careers, but that doesn’t matter too much when both are struggling so much at the plate.

Alas, the Rockies are a tough nut to crack when it comes to trade discussions. They have mostly stood pat, straying away from blockbuster deals that involve their best players. But the Cubs will benefit immensely from getting a positive contributor from the catcher position, as it has been a black hole for them throughout the season.

Elias Diaz will be a big help for the Cubs

Elias Diaz is currently in the final year of his contract, which makes it all the more logical for the Rockies, currently 23-43, to trade him away. Diaz should warrant strong consideration from teams in need of a catcher, and it will only help matters that he’s making just $6 million in the final year of his deal, as it will make it easier to finalize a deal.

Diaz does not have the most stellar of track records, but in 2024, he has been one of the few bright spots for a bad Rockies team. He is hitting over .300 for the first time in his career, at .303, and his OPS is at a career-high of .791 — all the while being a solid enough defender behind the dish. His WAR is at 1.4, and he would immediately come in and be one of the Cubs’ best all-around players. The current Cubs hitter leading the team in WAR is Mike Tauchman (with 1.4 as well).

The 33-year old catcher will represent such a huge upgrade over Miguel Amaya and Yan Gomes. Amaya is currently rocking an OPS of .552, while Gomes has looked like he’s one step closer to retirement with every passing at-bat. Gomes, who is 36, is slashing .155/.182/.250, currently has a strikeout rate of 38.6 percent, and his value at this point of his career stems mostly from his veteran presence.

It shouldn’t take too much to pry away Diaz from the Rockies, although, again, getting Colorado to agree to become a selling trade at the deadline is easier said than done.

Rockies to channel their aggressiveness from the 2023 trade deadline?

Rockies fans have been treated to plenty of inaction from the franchise even as they’ve fallen on hard times as of late. Last season, however, the Rockies franchise finally faced the music and become one of the most active teams at the trade deadline, dealing away their veteran players to help deepen a farm system that is among the best in the MLB today.

Last season, the Rockies dealt a trio of veterans to the Los Angeles Angels, dealing away Mike Moustakas, CJ Cron, and Randal Grichuk. Moreover, they sent Brad Hand and Pierce Johnson to the Atlanta Braves, helping two teams with contending aspirations in the process.

Alas, the Rockies still left something on the table; they kept Brent Suter even though he was on the last year of his deal, and as a lefty reliever, he would have drawn plenty of interest on the market.

For this year, Elias Diaz is as logical of a trade candidate as it gets, and as a veteran catcher who can contribute on the plate and on defense, he could very well decide to leave the Rockies via free agency in pursuit of a chance with a contending team should the team retain him past the deadline. Thus, the Rockies should become aggressive sellers in this year’s deadline, especially when they’re on pace for another season with 100-plus losses.

All stats were taken from Fangraphs unless otherwise noted.