With the first domino to fall being the Kosuke Fukudome trade, the attention for Cubs fans has already turned on what else the Cubs will do before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline this Sunday. It would seem that the Cubs are spending most of their time and effort trying to unload either Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs are simply pushing either one of those players to any team that will listen, to make conversations more appealing, the Cubs are telling teams that they are willing pay most of the remaining salaries on either of the contracts. In addition to Soriano and Zambrano, there also a few other players that could be entering their final days as a member of the Cubs organization.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune has an in-depth look at what other players may find themselves on different teams come August 1. Sullivan separated his article into four categories: Available, Unavailable, Won’t go, and Won’t Go: Special Victims Unit. As you would suspect the likes of Carlos Pena, Marlon Byrd, John Grabow, and Reed Johnson find themselves on the available list. While Matt Garza, Startlin Castro, Sean Marshall and those alike are listed on the unavailable list. Aramis Ramirez, Kerry Wood, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, and Alfonso Soriano are all under the two won’t go categories.
Lets analyze some of the players that Sullivan mentions, and determine their chance of being traded.
- Carlos Pena- Pena could very well be the next Cub to be traded. Sullivan mentions that when the Cubs signed Pena, they structured his contract in a way that would make Pena look appealing to other teams if the first baseman was not in the Cubs’ long-term plans. The issue is that the Cubs have yet to determine if Pena is their long-term solution at first base. Because of that reason and the fact that Pena could net them an extra draft pick if he signs else where this winter, the Cubs have a high asking price for Pena. Though, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks remain interested. However, the interest from both teams appear to be declining. Having said that, Pena is still on pace to hit 30 home runs and possibly drive in over 90 runs, that alone should be enough for a contending team to take a chance on the veteran first baseman.
- Marlon Byrd-Ideally the Cubs would like to keep Byrd as a mentor to top prospect Brett Jackson when he arrives at the major league level. But there are a handful of teams that are looking to acquire an outfielder before Sunday, and many of them have called the Cubs about Byrd. Among teams that are interested in Byrd are the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies. Both the Braves and Phillies were interested in Carlos Beltran before he was traded to San Francisco, and both teams remain intent on acquiring an outfielder. Considering the amount of teams that are looking for outfield help and the veteran qualities that Byrd can bring to a contending team, there is a good chance that he will be traded by Sunday if not in August.
- Reed Johnson-Any team would love to have the .328 hitting and defensive wizard in the outfield on their team, the problem is Johnson may not be healthy enough to be traded before Sunday. Johnson has not played in any game this week due to his re-occuring back issues, and there is a chance that the veteran could be placed on the disabled list in the coming days. If he is, that of course would mean that he would not be traded before Sunday. However, Johnson remains a strong candidate to be traded in August.
- Randy Wells– Sullivan’s report was the first report this season to suggest that the Cubs would consider trading the third year starting pitcher, who earned Rookie of the Year consideration during the 2009 season. Since then, Wells has been a shell of his rookie form, as this season, Wells has an ERA over 6 and a WHIP of 1.70. Needless to say, Wells’ spot in the rotation is far from guaranteed. But even with the his poor production, I can’t imagine the Cubs would look to trade Wells with his value as low as it is. The likely scenario would be take Wells out of the rotation and send him on a minor league assignment.
- Carlos Zambrano- The Cubs are doing everything they can to trade Zambrano before Sunday, including being willing to take on most of the remaining salary on his contract. But the Cubs appear to be talking to thin-air, as no team is believed to be interested in the controversial starting pitching. The Cubs may have to pull out their inner Don Corleone and make a team an offer that they can’t refuse.
- Alfonso Soriano- All you have to do is re-read the last bullet point.