Let's take a look at some of the possible trade partners that they could make deals with.
The Cubs have long been linked to second baseman Whit Merrifield in trade rumors. He would be an ideal piece for a Cubs team that's seen woeful production from the second base spot for most of the season, but Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore has no desire to part ways with Merrifield, according to sources.
The Cubs also need bullpen help, and the Royals are taking calls on closer Ian Kennedy (3.40 ERA) and lefty reliever Jake Diekman (4.75 ERA). However, other teams have shown more interest in those two than the Cubs have.
Blue Jays infielder Eric Sogard is a player whom the Cubs have previously scouted and who would represent a nice upgrade at the top of their lineup. He has a .363 on-base percentage and .843 OPS and could fill the hole at second base. The potential addition of Sogard would also allow the Cubs to move outfielder Kyle Schwarber down in the order, who he might be more valuable given his power and pedestrian .312 on-base percentage.
Blue Jays reliever Daniel Hudson could also be a fit for the Cubs. He has a 2.80 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 42 appearances.
Respected veteran outfielder Jon Jay is available, and he was a key member of the 2017 Cubs, for whom he hit .296 with a .374 on-base percentage. Jay has a career .352 on-base clip.
Jay doesn't hit for much power or run that well, but he's a quality clubhouse presence with a good baseball IQ who could help provide the Cubs with much-needed depth. He also wouldn't cost much.
Utilityman Leury Garcia is another player whom the White Sox will take offers on. He's hitting .286 with a .323 on-base percentage and .705 OPS.
Giants have two lefty relievers in Will Smith and Tony Watson who would fill a big need for the Cubs. The complicating factors are the Giants have been hot lately and may be buyers instead of sellers. Beyond that, if they are sellers, Smith and Watson will draw widespread interest across the league.
Smith has a 2.44 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. He has held lefties to a .208 batting average and .537 OPS.
Watson figures to cost a bit less. He has a 2.85 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. The worry is he has had troubles against lefties, who are hitting .348 with an .840 OPS against him.
The Cubs have inquired about Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos, but the sides aren't close on a deal at the moment, a source said Thursday. The Cubs have broached the idea of adding Castellanos and Tigers closer Shane Greene in a bigger deal.
Center fielder Ender Inciarte, a three-time Gold Glove winner, is available and could help the Cubs at the leadoff spot if he found any semblance of his old self. He has been dealing with some back issues and has an ugly .293 on-base percentage this season. He had a .351 on-base clip in 2016, a .350 mark in 2017 and a .325 figure in 2018. He's also owed $16.4 million across 2020 and 2021.
It's not known whether the Cubs have even inquired about Inciarte.