With the amateur draft completed, Cubs officials can focus on which prospects they would be willing to part with to land young, major-league-ready starting pitching.
There remains a reservoir of talent to deal despite the trade of Gleyber Torres last summer. At the major-league level, Javier Baez remains too valuable to deal, at least until Major League Baseball‘s probe into domestic-abuse allegations against Addison Russell are resolved.
One interesting development at Triple-A Iowa could benefit the Cubs and other teams willing to trade young pitching.
Victor Caratini lends value, and not just because of his .341 batting average and 48 RBIs. Caratini is a switch-hitting catcher who also can play first base. He was one of several minor-league players who impressed manager Joe Maddon in spring training.
But there might not be a spot for Caratini with the Cubs in 2018. They are committed to Willson Contreras, 25, as their catcher of the future. It’s not certain whether Miguel Montero, 33, will return in the same backup role as this season. And Kyle Schwarber’s left knee might return to full strength by 2018 to the point he could catch more frequently.
Caratini is only 23, so having him serve as a major-league backup in 2018 could stunt his development as a potential everyday player.
Jacob Hannemann, OF, Triple-A Iowa: A change of scenery has done wonders for Hannemann, who moved up to Iowa despite batting only .180 in 122 at-bats at Double-A Tennessee. He has taken advantage of his opportunity by batting .333 with seven stolen bases in 14 games.
Eloy Jimenez, OF, Class A Myrtle Beach: The Cubs’ top prospect homered Sunday against Down East to extend his hitting streak to five games. Jimenez, who missed the first six weeks because of a right shoulder injury, is batting .278 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs.
James Pugliese, RHP, Double-A Tennessee: Pugliese was added to the North Division roster…