We are just about a year removed from the Major League debut of Junior Lake, and with the way he took the league by storm, no one would have imagined his name would be in trade rumors this July. The goal of this season for Lake was for the front office of the Chicago Cubs to try and figure out if Lake was going to be part of the core moving forward. Lake finished last season very well and was almost destined to take his place as a member of the core. However, this year has been a completely different story for Lake.
After hitting .284 with an OPS of .760, Lake has regressed this season and has done so in a major way. This season lake is hitting .216 with an OPS of .620. What is even more concerning for Lake is the fact that he has been striking out at an alarming rate. Lake has already struck out 93 times this season in 268 plate appearances. This is already 25 more times than last year in just 14 more plate appearances.
Although Lake has had his share of struggles this season, he still shows flashes of the raw talent that he possesses. He has a great combination of power and speed and could very well develop into a very adequate outfielder given a bit more seasoning. Lake could be having a season similar to Starlin Castro last year in which he will need to make adjustments and improve, but the Cubs may be unwilling to wait on him to do so.
A possible destination for Lake could be with the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners have been looking to add outfield help, specifically a right-handed bat with power. Lake fits the bill and is also young enough that he could make sense for the future as well. A trade of lake could be similar to what the Cubs did with Tyler Colvin a couple years back in which they traded him to the Colorado Rockies to get a change of scenery because he just did not work out with the Cubs. A change of scenery could do Lake wonders as well as rejuvenate him as he would be playing in a pennant race. For the Mariners, they would get a right-handed bat with a power and speed combination that has yet to be harnessed.
The return for the Cubs may not be a very large or even significant return. The trade of Lake would perhaps just be a move to ensure that Lake gets an opportunity elsewhere as opposed to being sent down to Triple-A. A trade of Lake may be the best option for the Cubs at this point, as they have many other prospects coming through the system that are poised to take the place of Lake sometime in the future. At this point in his career, trading Lake may be the best option.