Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are the Cubs Selling?

With about a month and a half until the July 31 MLB Trade Deadline, the question that all teams are asking themselves is Do we have a chance to win this year or are we better off building for the future? For some teams, the answer to this question comes easily, if you're in first place or less than 5 games out of first, you're buying. If you are in 4th/5th place or more than ten games out of first, get out the For Sale sign. However, for the clubs like the Cubs that are stuck in the middle, it will be interesting to see what they decide to do.

The Cubs have a record of 28-35 but they are in third place and just 7.5 back of first in the NL Central. The Wild Card will not help the Cubs this year, as they are in 9th place and eight games back.

So, the North Siders have three options-

A) Try to add some pieces that will help turn this thing around.
B) Dump some salary, add some prospects, and build for a brighter future.
C) Don't make any major moves and just finish out the season with the team we have.

Mostly likely, Hendry will wait and see what transpires on the field over the next two weeks. Then he will have a full month before the deadline to make some moves. Hopefully, no matter what happens, Jim will choose "C" because that will not help the Cubs this year or in the future.

Here are some names that could be on the market:
  • Xavier Nady: Today is June 15, the first day free agents signed last offseason are allowed to be traded. Nady could be one of the first guys to go since the Cubs have too many outfielders in need of playing time. The Angels were connected to Xavier a few weeks ago.
  • Ted Lilly: The Bulldog is a free agent at the end of the year, and in my opinion he should be re-signed. However, if the Cubs do not think Teddy fits into the team's plans beyond this season, it makes sense to try to get something in return. The Cubs do not want to let another pitcher leave for nothing when they could have had some value in a trade a few months prior like they did with Harden a year ago.
  • Bobby Howry/John Grabow: These guys are taking up spots in the pen that could be used to get some young arms adjusted to the big leagues. If the Cubs continue to lose, I'd expect one or both to be released or traded.
  • Soriano, Lee, Ramirez: The Cubs would love to trade all three of these guys, but the fact of the matter is that they all have big contracts and no-trade clauses. There is no doubt that Sori is untradeable, but there are some teams interested in D-Lee.
  • Ryan Theriot: With Starlin Castro taking over at short stop, it makes sense for the Cubs to try to move Theriot. He is one of only a handful of guys on this team that the Cubs can get a good package of prospects in return for.
  • Mike Fontenot: If they don't trade Theriot, either 'lil Mike or Jeff Baker has to go when Ramirez comes off the DL. There are a few teams that could be interested in Fontenot as a utility infielder.
  • Tom Gorzelanny: Gorzo has shown improvement this season, and needs to be in the starting rotation somewhere. He could be a solid back of the rotation start. Most likely, either Tom will take Wells' spot in the rotation or be traded. He does has value on the market.
  • Kosuke: The Cubs probably cannot get much in return, but it might be worth getting some younger outfielders more playing time. However, first they have to persuade Kosuke to waive his no-trade clause.
  • Carlos Silva: A lot of teams need starting pitching, and flopping this guy again could make sense if the Cubs are waiving the white flag. However, I think they'd be best hanging onto him since there is still another year left on his contract.
  • Randy Wells: Randy has lost much of his trade value with his poor performance on the hill this year. Trading Wells now would be like panicing and selling your stocks when their value is at the lowest instead of waiting until the stock market improves!

Will Jim Hendry overhaul this team, or will he stick with the same crew for the rest of the year???

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

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