With the July 31st trade deadline a mere month away, the Chicago Cubs are faced with a tough decisions. Should they sell and rebuild? or should they buy to at least attempt to give it a ride throughout the remainder of the 2010 season and next.
I know most fans will be saying “Sell! We are 9.5 GB and 10 games under .500!”, but as most of us know, the Cubs CAN’T rebuild in reality. Of course we can trade a few players, but beyond that, we are stuck with some players past their primes with huge contracts that simply aren’t scoring runs.
I will simulate what can happen if the Cubs choose to rebuild now, starting with deciding who can be traded.
LHP Ted Lilly
LHP Tom Gorzelanny
1B Derrek Lee
2B Ryan Theriot
CF Marlon Byrd
1B/RF Xavier Nady
Lilly and Gorzelanny: The Mets are interested in Lilly. If they fail to land Cliff Lee, Lilly is their second choice. We can throw in Gorzelanny, who they can use out of the bullpen, to get more in return from the Pirates. Not knowing how much the Mets would give, I would ask for the Mets 9th and 10th best prospects 2B/SS Ruben Tejada and LHP Juan Urbina. though it may be too much. Now why would I even want another Middle Infielder to add to a farm system loaded with them? To use him as a trade chip of course. The Cubs could also throw in a low-level middle infield prospect and some money if necessary.
Post-Lilly/Gorzelanny trade Moves:
RHP Andrew Cashner to Starting Rotation.
RHP Jay Jackson recalled from AAA Iowa to Start in Cubs’ Rotation.
RHP Thomas Diamond recalled from AAA Iowa as Relief Pitcher.
RHP Bob Howry to become Right-handed Setup Man.
This trade would give us a chance to see Andrew Cashner as a starter like he should be and see our other top pitching prospect, Jay Jackson, in the MLB as a starter. It could also prevent Cashner from being overworked like he has been lately going two whole innings, resulting in a run, every day or two. Additionally, Diamond would strengthen our bullpen, and we would gain a quality pitching prospect and another middle infielder that could be used as part of a deal to acquire a hitter that can knock in runs. Though technically a rebuilding trade, it (and the post-trade moves) would barely hurt the Cubs major league club, and may even help it, while strengthening the farm system and helping the Mets as well.
Lee: There are many teams that would bite. I don’t really want to see him go though, so I will decide not to trade him in my scenarios, but will admit that we could, if we can’t sign him to a one or two year extension. Alternatively to extending his contract, we could sign Carlos Pena to a four-year deal.
Theriot: Theriot is probably worth a couple mid-level prospects. I don’t care who. We can use Fontenot, Baker, or Scales to replace him (preferably Fontenot to add a left-handed bat to the lienup). However, some possible takers could be: Detroit, Minnesota, Oakland, San Diego, or possibly the New York Mets.
Byrd: I’m just stating that he IS tradeable, though I’d prefer to keep him as we could be back to competition by 2012 when his contract is up, and he could be a solid piece of a future competitive team. He plays solid defense, has solid offense, and is the type of guy you’d like to have around the youngsters, who could have a good role-model in Byrd who hustles even on a home run and will go to all extremes to make a play or reach first base.
Nady: Nady would be a low-risk, high-reward, player for any competitive team. And just about any team could use him, though my bet would go towards an AL West team like Oakland or even the White Sox who could use an upgrade at DH.
Buy: Why would we buy? Because we CAN’T do a full rebuilding process, but only a partial one. We could just keep the players we have and replace Theriot with a good-hitting second baseman. The Orioles are way out of contention and may be willing to part with Miguel Tejada, who could probably convert to 2B with ease as a former shortstop. Florida’s Dan Uggla is another possibility. Another option could be Arizona’s Kelly Johnson.
My Choice: Both. If they do every trade I said, they could get an upgrade at 2B which may be enough they way Lee, Ramirez, Byrd, and Castro were hitting the ball today. Albeit they had almost nothing to show for it as the wind knocked down every ball, but when the wind blows out, ball will be flying. The pitching staff is already strong and would be pretty much unphased, if not improved. We can use the 2B/SS I had us acquiring for Lilly and a few low-to-mid-level prospects to acquire a new 2B. Even if the 2B plans DO FAIL to help the team, they still give us a placeholder to wait for Hak-Ju lee to develop and we still rebuild without becoming worse as a major league team.
What’s your pick? Please comment and share your plans!
Thanks to whoever bothered to read this entire article!