Cubs GM Jim Hendry has been in Iowa looking over the young players he has recently promoted to Triple A. While there, he spent some time with Rick Brown of the Des Moines Register and started talking trades. One quote sums up Hendry’s philosophy heading into this trade deadline.
"Why would we trade anybody who we think is going to help us next year or the years after?"
If the Cubs believe, as I do, that this team is not as far away from contending as their record would indicate, this is exactly the approach to take. Trade away players who aren’t under contract for 2012 and are not likely to be brought back, or who do not fit into the Cubs plans for 2012 and beyond.
So, who gets traded? Let’s take a look.
I have grouped the Cubs 25 man roster into categories ranging from “Won’t Be Traded” to “The Cubs’ Would Love To Deal” based on Hendry’s metric. This isn’t definitive by any means, and I might even change my mind on some of these groupings before the deadline hits.
No Trade, No Way, No How
Starlin Castro – You don’t trade the new face of the franchise.
Sean Marshall – Very good lefty relievers are tough to find. Keeping one is almost never a bad idea.
Matt Garza – The Cubs acquired Garza to lead a young pitching staff into the postseason in 2012 and beyond. That plan has not changed.
Darwin Barney – Even though he might lose his starting job to D.J. LeMahieu one day, there is no need to move a rookie infielder who is hitting close to .300 anytime soon.
It Would Take A Fortune…
Blake DeWitt – He is fairly cheap, is only 26, can play multiple positions, and hits left handed. He is exactly the kind of guy teams that are rebuilding want to have on the roster.
Ryan Dempster – The Cubs have a revolving door at starting pitching. Trading a starting pitching is not going to be a Cub priority.
Carlos Marmol – When he is on, he’s the best closer in the NL. He seems to pitch better in years when he has steady work, and closers don’t get steady work on bad teams.
Geovany Soto – Welington Castillo is ready for the majors, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready for the starting job. He will be just as valuable as a trading chip next year. That would be the time to move him if Castillo can take over.
James Russell – Good lefty relievers don’t grow on trees. Keep him in the pen, and he’ll be just fine.
Tony Campana – Rebuilding teams don’t trade rookies very often, and slow teams don’t trade their biggest source of speed. That said, with Jackson and Colvin in Iowa, moving Campana isn’t unthinkable in the right deal.
Jeff Baker – The Cubs are going to be playing a ton of young players next year, and a few veterans will help speed up the learning curve. He is probably more valuable to the Cubs than anything a trade partner would be willing to give up for him.
Listening To Offers, But Not Looking To Trade
Marlon Byrd – He is under contract for next year, is as classy a veteran outfielder as anyone in the game, and would be tremendously valuable in getting Brett Jackson off to a good start.
Randy Wells – The Cubs have a shaky starting rotation, but they do have the depth in Triple A (finally) to move one arm. Wells could be that guy.
Kerry Wood – Wood can, and probably would, veto any trade. He wants to be in Chicago, and the Cubs will need a veteran or two in that bullpen next season.
Jeff Samardzija – He has quietly put together a good season. Samardzija could take over the eighth inning for the Cubs, and might even be a closer candidate should Marmol go. That said, he is in the last year of his deal, and has a no trade clause.
Let’s Make A Deal
Aramis Ramirez – The Cubs will not be picking up that option, and they have no fewer than five guys in the majors or in the high minors who could play third.
Carlos Zambrano – Zambrano and the Cubs would probably be happier if he were no longer a Cub. He could help in 2012… or he could provide more distractions than a young team really needs.
Kosuke Fukudome – He’s having a nice year (so far), but he doesn’t fit into the Cubs plans for 2012, except possibly as a backup outfielder. He is exactly the kind of guy the Cubs are looking to trade.
Koyie Hill – He has a lot of value as a defensive minded backup catcher. But with Castillo ready to go in Iowa, he has next to no value to the Cubs in 2012.
Reed Johnson – Not likely anyone would trade anything significant for Johnson, but he is going to be crowded out of a job in Chicago. If he isn’t traded, he could be released in August to give him a chance to catch on with a contender for the stretch run.
This Week’s Specials Include…
John Grabow – He is a lefty reliever, but the Cubs can replace him with Scott Maine. He has more value to a contender than he does to the Cubs. He should be an easy trade.
Carlos Pena – Pena probably has more value on this trade market than any other player the Cubs are willing to deal. He could fetch a very nice return in a deal with a couple of teams. That said, the Cubs should not just take any deal. If they can’t get a good deal, then keeping him is not such a bad option either. Gold Glove first baseman are generally nice to have around, and he is one of the classiest veterans you can hope to find.
Ramon Ortiz – He’ll be nice to have around the rest of this season to eat up innings, but there is no way the Cubs turn down a fair trade. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely anyone will come calling about him.
Rodrigo Lopez – See Ramon Ortiz. Lopez is basically in the same boat.
On Sale Now! Financing Available! Everything Must Go!
Alfonso Soriano – If the Cubs can trade Soriano, at all, then the 2011 trading season is a smashing success. Soriano does not fit into the Cubs plans beyond this year, he is blocking outfielders currently in the minors, and he has far more value as a DH for an AL club than he does to the Cubs. And the Cubs will pick up some of his contract. And he’ll waive his no trade clause. But even with all of that working in favor of a trade, this will be a tough deal to get done.