So now that we know that Jim Hendry won't be dealing anybody he expects to be useful for next year's team, we can run down the list of people who can be traded. We can safely assume nobody will take Alfonso Soriano and his ridiculous contract unless the Cubs take a ridiculous one in return...Barry Zito or John Lackey anyone? So who's left? I've divided the list of trade candidates into two categories: first, who they may trade as buyers and then the more familiar list of who they will trade as sellers.
1. Tyler Colvin: Colvin is one young player that doesn't seem to fit in the Cubs long term plans. The Cubs are much higher on Brett Jackson and Matt Szczur as future starters right now. And with the Cubs likely stuck with Soriano, and probably Byrd, there just isn't a whole lot of playing time for Colvin either in the short-term or the long-term.
2. Welington Castillo: If the Cubs are going to be tied to Geovanny Soto, it leaves you wondering where that leaves Castillo. His breakout in AAA and cannon arm may have some teams interested in a long term, low cost solution at catcher. It's possible the Cubs can keep Castillo as a backup, but that may not fully utilize his value.
3. Josh Vitters: The Cubs had hoped Vitters would be further along by now, perhaps even ready to take over for Ramirez. But Vitters has been slow to learn the concept of pitch selection. The Cubs made a couple of big statements when they spent a 1st round pick on Javier Baez and then $1.1M on Dominican Republic prospect Enrique Acosta, two guys who may settle in at 3rd base down the line.
4. Jeff Samardzija: If there's one thing the Cubs are stocked to the gills with, it's non-closing power righty relievers with average command. The Cubs have Kerry Wood, Chris Carpenter, Marcus Mateo, and eventually, Rafael Dolis --- and they probably all make less money combined than Samardzija does by himself.
5. Randy Wells: Wells can be a nice 5th starter but that doesn't hold much value for a team that's in a quasi-rebuilding mode. Wells is already 28 and isn't going to get much better. He probably doesn't hold a lot of value on his own, but could be part of a package deal. Two candidates to replace Wells for next year would be Casey Coleman and fast riser Nick Struck, who has moved from A ball to AAA this season.
1. Aramis Ramirez: He's the hottest Cub right now, his power stroke has returned and he even has his batting average up to .300. He'd have to waive his no-trade-clause and I think when push comes to shove, he'll be happy going to a contender for a couple of months when he knows he probably won't be here next year anyway. Here's what Hendry had to say,“At the right time, Aramis and I will have a chat moving forward. I’ll handle that like I always do. He’s been a real good player for a long time, and been really hot the last three or four weeks.’’ The "right time" means when somebody makes the Cubs an offer they really like.
2. Carlos Pena: He's on a one year deal and the Cubs may have bigger fish to fry at first base this offseason. His combination of power, OBP, and defense would be intriguing to a lot of teams.
3. Kosuke Fukudome: The Cubs will need to eat some of his contract. At the right price, there will be a few teams interested in picking up a guy with his on-base skills. He currently ranks 23rd in all of baseball in OBP. He also plays solid OF defense. I think the Cubs would rather trade him than Byrd because they value Byrd off the field even more than they do on it. And with Brett Jackson likely to take over soon, they may want to keep Byrd around. He was a mentor to Jackson in spring training.
4. John Grabow: Grabow has one important commodity. He throws with his left arm. Never underestimate a team's willingness to take that into account.
5. Kerry Wood: He's a veteran and still has good stuff. The Cubs, though will only trade Wood if it's somewhere he wants to go. And it may only be temporary. If anyone has a wink-wink agreement to come back to the Cubs at any time, it's Wood.
6. Jeff Baker: There will be some interest and the Cubs will trade him if they can get nice return, but Baker's fate may be tied to Ramirez and Pena. If the Cubs do trade those players, they may want to hold on to Baker as a fallback. He can play both corner positions and he's cheap.