After a miserable first half, the Chicago Cubs have set their eyes on a turnaround in the second half. No matter how much of a pipe dream that may be, there are still plenty of headlines to watch for in the second half.
July 31st Trade Deadline
The trading deadline is fast approaching, and it is just two weeks away. At this point, the Cubs are still considered to be sellers. Among players that are possibly on the trading block include Ted Lilly, Kosuke Fukudome, Xavier Nady, Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker, and Tom Gorzelanny.The Cubs are going into this deadline with the idea of creating more flexibility in the off-season by moving some of their “cumbersome” contracts at the trade deadline. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of team that are willing to take on some of the hefty Cubs contracts.
Ted Lilly is the Cubs best trading chip, but they are going to have to hope that he pitches well over his next two starts, to make up for the past two starts in which he was roughed up. Lilly will not get the Cubs a grand package of prospects, but it is likely that he would give the Cubs a decent return of prospects. One player that the Cubs may have targeted in a Lilly trade is Mets young catcher Josh Thole.
The Bright Future For The Cubs
Believe it or not, the Cubs actually do have a very bright future. It is likely that we will see some of those prospects make their way up to Wrigley after the trade deadline. Tripe A-Iowa infielder Darwin Barney will probably be the first player to be brought up. If the Cubs can move Theriot, Fontenot, or Baker they would like to bring up Barney to see how he can produce on the major league level. Barney, who made the Triple A all star game this year, is hitting .297/.328/.381 this year with the I-Cubs. To be honest, he compares similarly to Ryan Theriot.
Also, Cubs 2009 first round pick Outfielder Brett Jackson is on the fast track to the Majors. Which is why the Cubs are trying to trade Kosuke Fukudome either now or in the off-season, to make Tyler Colvin the starter and help pave way for Brett Jackson. Jackson in all likelihood will not be up this year, unless it is in September when the Rosters expand. Jackson, who was featured in the MLB futures game, is hitting .327/.435/.519 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI’s after being called up to Double A-Tennessee two weeks ago.
Lou Piniella’s Future
Whether it is Joe Girardi, Ryne Sandberg, Bob Brenly or anyone else that is interested for the Cubs managerial spot in 2011, the bottomline is that it will not be Lou Piniella. Which is essentially a very good thing for the Cubs organization. I strongly doubt, though, that Lou Piniella will be fired before the season is over. But if the Cubs do intend to hire Sandberg as their next manager, the best thing to do would be to let go of Lou, and either make Sandberg the manager or bench coach for the remainder of the year. That way, Sandberg would be getting accustomed to coaching in the majors.