3 trade deadline replacements for Chris Taylor following injury news
1. Ian Happ
It’ll take some serious trade packages to land outfielder Ian Happ, but the Chicago Cubs should (and likely will be) all ears over the next month.
Happ’s rebounded in a considerable way in 2022 and hasn’t been used in an aggressive utility role they way he’s been across his previous five MLB seasons. He’s mostly been in left field this year, which has yielded a .993 fielding percentage, 2 Defensive Runs Saved, and a 0.2 dWAR. Nothing spectacular, but pretty good!
His work at the plate is what separates him from the pack, though. Happ is in the midst of a career year, hitting .283 with an .842 OPS and 135 OPS+. He’s already registered a career high in doubles (21) and should be on pace to do the same with his single-season WAR (he’s at 2.7 at the moment). The switch-hitter is absolutely creaming lefty pitching from the right side of the plate (.371 average, .991 OPS in 40 games).
Like Benintendi, Happ is accomplishing this on an underperforming team. The Cubs are 33-48 and have failed to get in any sort of rhythm. They do have some fearsome sluggers, but the offense has yet to click on all cylinders, so much of the solid individual production elsewhere (Willson Contreras, Nico Hoerner, Patrick Wisdom, Seiya Suzuki) has been … exactly that: individual.
Happ comes with control for the 2023 season, too (his final year of arbitration, which will feature a big raise up from his $6.85 million salary in 2022). But club control always comes at a heftier trade price, so maybe the Dodgers can expand this deal to include someone like reliever David Robertson or perhaps Mychal Givens to boost the bullpen? Maybe they can offer to eat a struggling Kyle Hendricks’ remaining contract to lower the asset cost?
Worth a thought, but Happ in Dodger Blue would really change the game for both this year and next.