Besides marking the start of the unofficial second half of the season for Major League Baseball, the All-Star break also signals the start of trade rumors in anticipation of the July 31 trade deadline. There have already been plenty of rumors involving the Cubs. We have been able to figure out that the Cubs probably are not going to trade Matt Garza, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Sean Marshall, or Carlos Marmol and may be interested in trading Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome, Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt, and Geovany Soto.
Needless to say there will be plenty of rumors involving the Cubs between now and the trade deadline. Meaning everyday will bring a new rumor. Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago participated in his weekly chat today, so lets take a look at the recent batch of rumors.
- In past trade deadlines, the Cubs usually looked at the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League roster to improve the club’s chances of making the playoffs. Now, the roles have reversed. The Pirates are looking over the Cubs roster for players that could help their playoff chances in the second half of the season. Levine suggests that both Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez are on the Pirates’ radar. The Pirates are in need of a power hitter, which is why both Ramirez and Pena are ideal options. However, I have heard that the Pirates have minimal interest in Ramirez. Ramirez is not the type of player that the Pirates want in their clubhouse. Pena would be a welcomed addition to the Pirates clubhouse, and would be an improvement over current first baseman Lyle Overbay. Another player that would make far more sense for the Pirates instead of Pena or Ramirez, is catcher Geovany Soto. The Pirates have used seven different catchers this season and are searching to improve the position. The Pirates have a handful of quality pitching prospects that would entice the Cubs to make a deal involving Soto.
- No surprise, but Levine mentions that the Cubs would like to trade Soriano before the deadline. In addition, Levine suggests that the trade does not have to happen before the deadline. Mentioning Soriano as a possible August trade candidate. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is willing to eat the money necessary to make Soriano movable. That should be enough to gain the interest of several American League teams with the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels being among them.
- Koyie Hill of all players could be traded before the deadline. Levine notes that the San Francisco Giants may have interest in the Cubs’ backup. I’m sure rumors of the Cubs trading Hill is music to most Cubs fans’ ears. If Hill is traded, Wellington Castillo would likely be called up to backup Soto.
- Levine does not believe there are many teams that would be interested in Randy Wells, though he speculates that the St Louis Cardinals may be a fit. There is no hiding the fact that Wells has not pitched well this season. After a successful Spring Training, Wells has yet to regain form since returning from the elbow injury that sidelined him for the first two months of the season. If Wells does not improve in the second half, he may find himself out of the rotation, or even worse, back with the Iowa Cubs.