I touched on the idea that the Cubs front office may soon come together to determine a strategy for the u..."/> I touched on the idea that the Cubs front office may soon come together to determine a strategy for the u..."/>

As Expected, The Cubs Are Preparing For The Trade Market


Yesterday, I touched on the idea that the Cubs front office may soon come together to determine a strategy for the upcoming July 31 trade deadline. Excuse me while I puff out my chest (joking, of course), but it appears that I was onto something. Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that next Monday and Tuesday general manager Jim Hendry will meet with the top scouts from within the Cubs organizations, and go over matches that the Cubs have with other teams as far as trades are concerned.

Multiple scenarios will be discussed during these meetings as the Cubs determine a plan for the July 31 trade deadline. Chairman Tom Ricketts will have a say in these meetings as well. Ricketts will have to make the final determination as to whether or not the Cubs chairman is willing to absorb money in any trade that they make. If Ricketts is willing to abosrb money, then the Cubs may look to shop the likes of Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez. Though, Zambrano and Ramirez are on two opposites ends of the spectrum as to their willingness to waive their no trade clause. Zambrano told reporters last week that if the Cubs want to trade him, he would accept a trade. Those sentiments were shared by outfielder Alfonso Soriano, though, it is highly unlikely that Sorianois traded at any point before his contract expires. However, Ramirez has every intention to invoke his no trade clause as he does not want to move his family out of Chicago. Derrek Lee had similar reasons last season as to not wanting to be traded, but, Hendry eventually convinced Lee to accept a trade to Atlanta. Ramirez may be in the same position, as he could be a prime candidate to be traded during the month of August.

As for who the Cubs are targeting in any trade that they make, sources told ESPN Chicago that the Cubs scouts have been focusing on other teams top prospects and young players already on the major league roster. Examining the Cubs roster it would be hard to find any player that would warrant another team giving up their top prospect for. If the Cubs eat enough of Zambrano’s remaining contract, then there is chance that they could get a top level prospect in return. Though teams may share the same feeling that Yankees have, and that is that they do not want to give up their top prospect for a declining starting pitcher.

Though, there are some top prospects or even young players on major league rosters that can be obtainable through a trade. These prospects or players are the ones that are currently blocked in some form from playing on an everyday basis in the major leagues. For instance, the Red Sox have young first baseman that is on the verge of making it to the major leagues. 23 year old Lars Anderson has struggled this season, but still has a high ceiling. Anderson is hitting .248/.365/.376/.741 at the Triple A level in the Red Sox organization. As recently as 2009, Anderson was rated as the 17th best prospect in baseball. However, Anderson has since fallen off the radar due to back-to-back mediocre seasons.

The Cubs will probably seek to improve their first and third base positions as well as their starting pitching in any trade that they make. The Cubs currently do not have a first baseman of the future in their system, though, that could change if some of their lower level prospects catch fire in the second half of the season. Though, that is not expected. Josh Vitters has shown signs of improvement this season at the Doube A level. However, the Cubs do not anticipate Vitters being ready to be the Opening Day third baseman next season. Acquiring a young left handed starting pitcher would also be an ideal addition for the Cubs.

The Cubs are in a selling mode, and Hendry may be ready to make a few deals to improve the Cubs long-term future.