After the Chicago Cubs dealt Kosuke Fukudome to the Cleveland Indians, the focus became what the Cubs would do to follow up the Fukudome trade. Carlos Pena and Marlon Byrd have both been mentioned as the next Cub to be traded, but, serious discussions involving either player has yet to materialize. Meanwhile, general manager Jim Hendry is determined to trade either Carlos Zambrano or Alfonso Soriano before Sunday’s deadline, but the interest in either player has been minimal at best. With the Cubs unwilling to trade any other player on the roster–whether because of no trade clauses or future impact–the question can be asked if the Cubs are done dealing.
Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that the Cubs are not going to be involved in any “big deals” as the non waiver trade deadline passes on Sunday. However, that should not mean the Cubs are done dealing. In fact, I would expect the Cubs to make at least one more trade before the non waiver trade deadline passes on Sunday.
Where the report does hold true, is when Levine suggests not to expect any big trades for the Cubs this weekend. The three players that would qualify on the Cubs as a big trade are Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, and Carlos Zambrano. Ramirez is not currently being shopped by the Cubs, and it would seem that Hendry may be on the verge of making a foolish mistake in signing Ramirez to an extension after the season. While the Cubs are desperately trying to push Soriano and Zambrano on any team that is interested, the bottom-line is that there is no interest in either of those players. As for the other big-name players on the Cubs–Ryan Dempster, Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, and Geovany Soto–Hendry has gone on record as saying he does not expect to trade any player that is under contract through 2012 and the Cubs feel can make an impact.
But the two players that in my estimation do not fit the description of a big trade are Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena.
Byrd is being coveted by a handful of teams that are looking to improve their outfield depth. The Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Cleveland Indians have all been mentioned as possible suitors for Byrd. The Washington Nationals also expressed interest in Byrd earlier this season. But one team to keep an eye on is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have lost out on Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence, and may turn to Byrd to fill their outfield need. Byrd is on the long list of outfielders the Braves are considering to acquire before Sunday.
As for Pena, the one team that remains interested in the veteran first baseman is the same team that has been scouting him for the past month–the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite registering interest in every impact bat available, the Pirates have been left as spectators as the likes of Beltran and Pence have been traded to other teams. The Pirates are going to have to acquire an impact bat if they want to keep pace with the St Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers in the division race. Assuming they do, Pena may be their only realistic option.
The Cubs are probably not done dealing. But most of their trades may be on hold till August. However, there is a strong chance that either Pena or Byrd will be traded before Sunday’s deadline.