While the trade market is not in full swing just yet, that has not stopped fans from speculating on the list of players they would like to see the Cubs trade this season. It is no secret–unless you are anyone in the Cubs’ front office–that the Cubs will be sellers at this season’s deadline. Ideally, the Cubs would want to trade Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, and Kosuke Fukudome in an effort to create more flexibility this off-season. However, we would all be fooling ourselves if we were to actually think that there is a realistic chance of the Cubs trading Zambrano, Ramirez, or Soriano. That is unfortunate as those players would likely net the Cubs the most value of all their realistic trade candidates.
If the Cubs are going to have a successful trade deadline by being sellers, general manager Jim Hendry will have to use some outside-the-box thinking to make this trading season worth while. This outside-the-box thinking would be Hendry being willing to trade a player that may be part of the team’s long-term future. Catcher Geovany Soto would qualify as a such a player that Hendry should look into trading.
Soto has struggled this season as he entered play today hitting .212/.305/.380/.685 with 6 home runs and 16 RBIs. Soto has shown signs of improvement as he is coming off a series against the Royals that saw him hit a home run in back-to-back games. Despite the recent surge in offensive production, Soto’s numbers are still no where near where they should be. The biggest issue that some Cubs officials have had with Soto is that he is not the run producer that he was during his rookie season. Even last season when Soto had a nice bounce back season that saw him hit .280 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs, Cubs officials were still concerned with his run production. The lack of a long-term deal this past winter may have been proof that the Cubs are not sold that Soto is their catcher for the foreseeable future. Up to this point, Soto has done nothing this season that would sway the Cubs’ front office into thinking that he is the long-term solution as the team’s starting catcher.
With the lack of a long-term commitment, the Cubs are in a position where they could trade Soto if they wanted to. If the Cubs are willing to trade Soto, one team that would have immediate interest in the catcher would be the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are still in search of replacement to Buster Posey, who is sidelined for the rest of the season. The rumored players that the Giants have been looking at are George Kottaras of the Brewers, and Yorvit Torrealba of the Rangers. Granted Soto is having a down season in comparison to those two, the Cubs catcher may give the Giants the most potential of any other catcher they are interested in.
The Cubs would not necessarily be putting themselves in a bad position if they traded Soto. Remember Wellington Castillo; the catcher that was brought up to major league level earlier in the season while Soto was on the disabled list and became a permanent fixture on the bench during his stay with the team. Well, Castillo has been tearing the cover off the ball with the Iowa Cubs. Castillo is currently hitting .318 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs for the Cubs Triple A affiliate this season. There is no question that Castillo would be able to hold his own offensively at the major league level. Castillo may also provide the Cubs with the run production that was desired from Soto. But there have been some questions as to whether Castillo is ready on the defensive level to be an everyday player for the Cubs. The Cubs are already 15 games below .500, even if Castillo’s defense is not ready, there would be no harm in Castillo playing on a regular basis at the major league level.
The Cubs should trade Soto if they can find a considerable deal for him, and if they do, Castillo should be given the opportunity to showcase his skills at the major league level.