Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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Well Cubs fans, we’ve entered that wonderful time of the year when we realize just how far away we are from a World Series. Every year we ship off players that are performing above expectations, receive cheaper players that attempt to fill gaps, and are told that this is all part of the long process of rebuilding that will lead to a ring. This all sounds great until one looks at the Cubs’ roster.
One look at Chicago’s active roster will tell you two things: 1) The cupboard is looking mighty bare when it comes to trade-worthy pieces and 2) this team looks to be a long way from any sort of success.
So far, the Cubs have done a couple good things. They traded away Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger (I know, who?) to the Orioles and got back a couple solid pieces of…something…in return. Two guys you’ve never heard of for two other guys you’ve never heard of…sounds like a typical Cubs trade to me.
The other move the Cubs made was actually a great move. Scratch that…it was an awesome move! Somehow, the Cubs convinced the Los Angeles Dodgers to trade for Carlos Marmol! This move surprised me because I was amazed that anybody would go near this guy! I was even more amazed that they were willing to give back anybody in a trade. As my brother put it during our July 4th cookout, “Even if all they got in return for him was a bucket of baseballs, the Cubs came out on top in that deal.” Think about it, a reliever that can’t throw strikes is not typically a trade target as the trade deadline approaches. All the same, the only headache the Cubs faithful have left to deal with is the one they have after a day at Wrigley. Apparently it takes a lot of beer to make this team watchable.
So we’ve cleared some no-names and a problem child from our team, but now what do we do as the July 31 trade deadline inches closer and closer? I will give you my list of four players that the Cubs should trade immediately. (Yes, this list looks very similar to many other lists out there. This is not because I’m a copy-cat…it’s because the Cubs literally have four players left to trade.)
- Alfonso Soriano – I know, we have this discussion every season. He’s a big contract, he’s old, he’s slow, and he doesn’t do much at the plate or in the field…so get rid of him already! For once, the guy is actually on a bit of a hot streak! Of all the years we’ve talked about trading him, this year seems to be the most likely situation. All that’s left for Team Epstein is to find a team that will give up the right players and convince Soriano to waive his no-trade clause. No pressure right? However, I do have one reservation with this trade. Soriano represents a very small veteran presence in the Cubs’ clubhouse right now. I know that $18 million is a lot to pay for presence, but he may be the leader that this young team needs until Castro and Rizzo can fill that role. My final verdict…make the trade.
- Matt Garza – This one is simple. He’s pitching well, he’s healthy (at least for the next five minutes), and teams always need one more starter they can get on the cheap as they stock up for playoff time. I saw on MLB Trade Rumors’ Twitter page that the Cubs and Garza have been discussing a contract extension. This is a horrible idea. His price tag is too high for him to be injured as much as he is. Trade him, and let another team worry about his health.
- Nate Schierholtz – This guy has another year left on his contract after this season, making him more attractive to other teams since he’s playing so well right now. It also means that teams will have to give up more to get his services. This guy could be a pivotal trade deadline piece for the Cubs. They need to just take their time and get the right players in return since they have him under contract for another season. Expect to see him in another uniform by August 1.
- Last but not least we have good old Kevin Gregg – I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the guy is doing pretty well at this point! For once, he’s actually pitching well enough to be traded instead of pitching badly enough to be released. If the Cubs can get a decent return for him, they should do so immediately.
There is one issue when it comes to all of this trade deadline talk and I hinted at it above. If the Cubs manage to trade all of these players, their cupboard is officially empty of trade-worthy pieces. Part of this building process involves getting pieces in return that improve your team for the future. As it stands, Travis Wood and Anthony Rizzo seem to be the only players that have blossomed into anything permanent for the Epstein Regime. My concern is simply this: once we run out of currency to use in the trade market, how will we keep building? Are we really to believe that a World Series title is to come from a depleted farm system and a bevy of international signings? Surely this can’t be the bright future that Tom Ricketts had in mind when he hired Theo Epstein. One thing is for sure, this July may be the most delicate month in recent history for the Cubs.