We turn our attention to the other team in Chicago and the Cubs are in a weird spot this season. They are playing in a bad NL Central division where they have the best run differential by a significant margin. However, they are also five games below .500 and seven games out of a playoff spot while the Reds have found life and the Brewers have started to play well.
If the Cubs decide to sell at the trade deadline. Marcus Stroman could be an interesting two-time former All-Star for the Giants to look into. Stroman is very good at keep the ball on the ground and while he doesn't miss a ton of bats, his current 2.88 ERA is the best of his career to date. ]
The biggest issue is cost. First, the Cubs will need to be convinced that the return for Stroman would help them compete again quickly even for a potential rental (Stroman as a player option for 2024). Also, Stroman is making real money in 2023 at $25 million with his player option for next year sitting at $21 million. Stroman has shown interest in an extension with Chicago, but there is no guarantee that he will feel the same way about San Francisco.
Finally, we come to another potential bat for the Giants in Cody Bellinger. Coming into the 2023 season, the former MVP faced a lot of questions about his hit tool. For three straight seasons, he hit .239 or worse and he wasn't coming close to his previous power production. He looked like a shadow of his former self.
However, after signing a one year deal with the Cubs with a mutual option for 2024, Bellinger has flourished this season. Through 270 plate appearances in 2023, he is slashing .311/.367/.527 with 12 homers and 12 stolen bases. He has put up more fWAR this season (2.5) than he did in the previous three seasons combined thanks to a truly atrocious 2021 season.
Chicago moving Bellinger is far from a sure thing, though. The Cubs have a lot of good things going for them in the near-term and given how up in the air the division feels like at the moment, Chicago could decide to keep him around to run it back next year. The Giants will also be very familiar with Bellinger and will know if Bellinger has truly regained his form or if his half is just a flash in the pan.