There has already been a lot of speculation thrown around about what the Cubs plan to do at the trading deadline. There is no question that the Cubs will be sellers at this year’s trade deadline. Especially with Brett Jackson and Trey McNutt inching towards the major leagues, the Cubs may want to trade a couple of their veteran players to make room for the Cubs prospects on the major league roster. The only problem is that the veterans the Cubs want to trade hold immovable contracts.
Or at lest, that is the picture painted by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times. Citing conversations with talent evaluators and executives from around the National League, Wittenmyer suggests that the Cubs will have a difficult time being sellers this season. The bloated contracts of Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, and Aramis Ramirez make them nearly impossible to trade. Those would be the three players the Cubs may want to trade the most considering their current contract situation. But that is the same reason why they can not be traded.
The talk about the Yankees being a possible suitor for Zambrano has circulated throughout all of Chicago this week. But Wittenmyer does his best to put out the fire. With the addition of pitching coach Larry Rothschild, many thought the Yankees would be an ideal suitor for Zambrano. However, Wittenmyer suggests that the arrival of Rothschild in New York may have lessen the chances of Zambrano being traded to the Yankees. I don’t see how that could be the case. Rothschild and Zambrano have always had a good relationship during their time together in Chicago. In fact, Rothschild was viewed as the coach that had the closest relationship with Zambrano. So for that reason, I find it hard to believe that the chances of the Yankees landing Zambrano decrease because Rothschild is the pitching coach in New York.
The Cubs will be able to make trades this season, though, they probably will not be able to trade the players they want to. The top trade candidates for the Cubs may be Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Pena, and Kerry Wood. Fukudome has been able to continue his early season success as he is currently hitting .309/.423/.407/.830. The Cubs would be wise to trade Fukudome while he is hot, instead of waiting and risking a drop in Fukudome’s production. The Washington Nationals have a need for an outfielder and a leadoff hitter, Fukudome fits the bill in both categories. The Nationals had interest in Marlon Byrd earlier this season, but that may have since gone down due to Byrd’s injury. As for Pena, he will first have to regain his power stroke before teams develop legitimate interest in him. Meanwhile, Wood’s desire to be a Cub for the rest of his life will probably keep him from being traded.
The Cubs will be sellers this season, but, their prices may be too high for anyone to have interest in their veteran players.