A Phillies-Cubs trade to land a former MVP that shouldn't happen

The Phillies could be one of the top trade deadline landing spots for former MVP Cody Bellinger. Should they consider adding him?
Philadelphia Phillies have been suggested as a top suitor for Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger
Philadelphia Phillies have been suggested as a top suitor for Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

The MLB trade deadline is July 30, less than four weeks away. The Philadelphia Phillies have been mentioned in trade rumors to acquire an outfielder and another reliever. Should a long-term injury arise leading up to the deadline, this will remain the club's area of focus to upgrade the roster.

Bleacher Report's Zachary D. Rymer wrote an article about teams that fit as possible suitors for Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger. Chicago is 42-49 and in last place in the NL Central. They are 11.0 games back of the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers and 5.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the third NL Wild Card spot. The Cubs are on track to be sellers leading up to the deadline.

Let's look at the proposed Phillies-Cubs trade to land Bellinger and why Philly should avoid trading for the former NL MVP.

A Phillies-Cubs trade to land a former MVP that shouldn't happen

The proposed trade involves the Phillies trading No. 8 prospect, catcher Eduardo Tait, to the Cubs for the two-time Silver Slugger Award-winning outfielder/first baseman. While Philadelphia would receive a short-term upgrade for the outfield, the deal doesn't make sense for either team in the long term.

Bellinger's current deal includes a player opt-out in the offseason in which he can pursue a bigger contract with the Cubs or another team. If the Phillies acquire him, he can leave after the 2024 season. He continues to show his rebound from his struggles with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2020 through 2022, with a .270/.330/.417 slash line and a .747 OPS in 76 games heading into Sunday's action.

Eduardo Tait might be the Phillies catcher of the future

Considering the core the Phillies already have under contract for 2025, there's a high possibility they wouldn't re-sign Bellinger and would have lost a young, budding talent in Tait, who could end up being their future catcher within four to five years.

Tait excelled with the Dominican Summer League Phillies in 2023. He's playing in the Florida Complex League with the FCL Phillies this year, and the 17-year-old continues to impress. The Panama City native has slashed his way to a .301/.368/.493 line with five home runs, 11 doubles and three steals in 40 games.

According to Rymer, Tait projects to be a bat-first catcher with a good arm. Philadelphia has two other catchers in its Top 30 prospects rankings — No. 20 Caleb Ricketts and No. 21 Kehden Hettiger, but the Tait is ranked higher and could be better than both of those two.

Preston Mattingly, Phillies assistant general manager of player development, commented on Tait before the Spring Breakout exhibition game in March.

"He’s somebody I think every Phillies fan should know about," Mattingly said, per MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. "Just start with his work ethic. He’s an extremely intelligent kid. I’m calling him a kid because he still is. He has a chance to have a hit-power combo. And obviously the catching position is a very difficult place to find offense. So a guy like that who works very hard, who’s very smart and who has a chance to hit and hit for power is why we like him so much.”

The Cubs already have a catcher-in-waiting of their own, No. 5 prospect Moises Ballesteros, who's estimated to arrive in the majors in 2026. He has already received a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A this season.

The Phillies don't need to acquire another outfielder if it means parting with one of their top prospects. The major league roster is talented enough, and they should consider adding an outfielder who won't weaken their farm system in the process.