With the All-Star break coming this week, you can expect the rumors to pick up in the weeks leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. Teams have spent the early portions of July scouting other teams for players they may look to add before the deadline. The Yankees among others, have been one of the teams scouting the Cubs in recent weeks. Meanwhile, the Cubs have spent this past week scouting the San Francisco Giants. Most trades will begin to materialize after the All-Star break. General manager Jim Hendry is hoping the Cubs can make at least one trade before the deadline.
Considering the Cubs’ position in the standings, teams are likely targeting a few of the players on the Cubs roster. The Cubs are likely hoping to trade Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome and/or Marlon Byrd, John Grabow, and Alfonso Soriano. Though up to this point, it appears that teams have more interest in the players that the Cubs do not want to move.
"“I’ve had a few calls about our players that we aren’t going to move,” Hendry said. “I think very friendly, they were just taking a shot. [They said] ‘didn’t think you would, but we’re taking a shot.’ … That’s usually the way that is.” ESPN Chicago"
The names likely coming up in those conversations are Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, and Geovany Soto. Up to this point, the Cubs have shown no desire to trade any of those players. Though, you can make the case that the Cubs should entertain the idea of trading Marmol and Soto. Marmol has had his fair share of struggles this season as he has 6 blown saves this season, and there has been a decrease in velocity for the Cubs closer. As for Soto, the Cubs catcher still is struggling to put up for the offensive numbers the Cubs are expecting from him. Soto is hitting .230/.321/.405/.727 this season to go along with 8 home runs and 23 RBIs.
Hendry never has liked to term the Cubs as buyers or sellers, and believes that no matter what position the Cubs are in, they always look to make moves to improve the team for the future.
"“No matter what happens [with the present team], it doesn’t change the focus of what we are trying to do over the next month,” Hendry said. “Everything we do will be designed to get better and moving forward. There won’t be pieces moved that will be integral parts of the club a year from now.” ESPN Chicago"
We probably sound like a broken record by now, but expect the Cubs to target young major league players as well as prospects that are on the cusp of making it to the major leagues. Whether it is Lars Anderson of the Red Sox, Chris Davis of the Rangers (Yes, the Cubs still have interest in Davis), or someone from the Giants, the Cubs will try and trade for a young player that has an immediate impact as well as a long-term impact.
It is an understatement to say that this is an important trade deadline for Hendry and the Cubs front office. If Hendry truly is going to be given another chance to rebuild the Cubs, the deadline will be a good indicator on the plan Hendry has for the off-season.