Brewers: Could Crew Make Deadline Trade for Cubs OF Ian Happ?

Matt Carroll
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 22: Ian Happ #8 of the Chicago Cubs in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on July 22, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 22: Ian Happ #8 of the Chicago Cubs in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on July 22, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Well, the Milwaukee Brewers have made their first big trade of the 2022 MLB trade deadline. But it wasn’t one that anyone expected, and it wasn’t one that addressed the offense like some fans would have liked.

On Monday, just over 24 hours from the deadline, the Brewers traded away star closer Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres in a move that had been rumored to happen for years. The return was two major league pitchers, a minor league pitcher, and a minor league outfielder.

That outfield prospect is Esteury Ruiz, now the team’s No. 9 prospect per MLB Pipeline. While the 23-year-old has torn up Double-A and Triple-A hitting this season (and has 65 steals to boot!), he only has 14 games of major league experience in his young career.

That’s probably not enough to satisfy fans who have been hoping that the Crew would upgrade the center field position at the trade deadline. Milwaukee likely isn’t done making moves, though, and if they’re still looking at the position, an answer might be available from within the division.

Could the Brewers consider a last second deadline trade for Cubs outfielder Ian Happ?

This isn’t the first center fielder we’ve looked at for Milwaukee to target. Previously we’ve considered whether the team might look into a move for Ramon Laureano from the A’s or even Michael A. Taylor from the Royals, both of whom are still available.

We’ve even looked at other players from the Cubs’ own roster, having previously considered a move for third baseman Patrick Wisdom or whether a pair of Chicago relief pitchers might be worth an inquiry.

Ian Happ would represent the best of both worlds. Though he has primarily played left field this season, he has 240 games of experience in center field for his career and would be more than capable of playing there for the Brewers. Most importantly, he would help the offense.

Happ is hitting a career high .279 in 99 games so far this season with a .796 OPS to go along with it. His 123 OPS+ has him on track to finish with an OPS+ over 100 for the sixth time in six seasons and is part of why he made the first All-Star game of his career last July.

Perhaps the biggest downside is that he would be extremely pricey. The switch hitter is only 27 years old, has one more year of control left so he’s not a rental, and is coming from a divisional opponent, which always comes with a higher price tag. Suffice it to say, the Brewers would have to pony up.

But he would certainly represent a big upgrade in offensive production for a position that has gotten the opposite of that so far in 2022. And a trade for a player like Happ would be one step toward showing that the team is serious about making a big playoff run this season and possibly the next one too.

dark. Next. Grading the Josh Hader Trade

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Who knows if the rebuilding Cubs would actually play ball on a trade for Happ. But with the additional assets the Brewers now have, maybe they’d have just enough to get the deal done.

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