Might the Chicago Cubs part with Ian Happ?
It’s not a well-kept secret that the Padres lack an established center fielder. After the departure of Manuel Margot, it looks to be a two-person competition between Trent Grisham and Franchy Cordero. The former was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 15th pick in the 2015 MLB Draft and made his Major League debut last August.
His most notable contribution to the Brewers was his error in the bottom of the eighth inning in the National League Wild Card game. The Brewers traded Grisham and Davies after the season for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer.
Cordero was signed by the Padres as an international free agent in November 2011. Neither player has yet to impress, although Grisham has had much less exposure to Major League pitching. Either way, it would be beneficial for the Padres to have a back-up plan.
Ian Happ is a player that could potentially use a change of scenery. He was demoted before the regular season last year due to his struggles with strikeouts. Happ was recalled to the big league roster at the end of July and slashed .264/.333/.564 (126 OPS+) while reducing his strikeout rate.
And at 25-years-old, Happ could thrive with regular playing time. He’s logged a .984 fielding percentage in center field for his career and has the potential to hit 25-to-30 home runs per year. He’s also under team control through the 2023 season.
The Cubs need pitching and, unlike the Padres, don’t have quality options for their fifth starter. Tyler Chatwood appears to be the front-runner for the job, but his time as a participant in the rotation during 2018 left a lot to be desired.