This is the belated 3rd installment of the trade series and today we cover the veterans. These are the players that will almost certainly be traded at some point this season if the Cubs can recoup any kind of long term value.
There isn't much of a question on these players, though there are reasons to keep them. The primary one being the philosophy of putting your best team on the field to try and win now. The fact remains that Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus are still productive and give the team the best chance to win day in and day out. Others might value the veteran presence they bring to a young team. We've all heard the stories about how Soriano and DeJesus have gone out of their way to mentor the Cubs young core players. They still hold value to the Cubs if their intention is to win as many games as possible in 2013 and, perhaps, help prepare some of the current players for the years beyond that.
Still, there's no doubt that they aren't a tangible part of the long term plan and the Cubs will have to balance what they bring in the present with what they may be able to bring for the future in terms of trade value.
Jed Hoyer's comments today in an article by Patrick Mooney indicate that the Cubs have no illusions that this is a great team with a misleading record.
“You are what your record says you are.”
“You have to do a good job of staying even-keeled, not getting too emotional about each individual game. But we’ve had a pattern at this point. We’re not winning those close games and (the reasons are) very clear: The bullpen has struggled and the offense hasn’t pulled games away.”
It sounds to me that the Cubs will have no qualms about dismantling the current team to try and get pieces for next season and beyond. If they believe this team is as good as it's record, then it stands to reason that a fire sale is on it's way.
The sale may start with these three veterans, though it could also include players on short term contracts, which we covered earlier in the series here. We also discussed the more remote possibility of trading cost-controlled players here.
DeJesus embodies much of what the Cubs want in a player. He plays the game with passion and intelligence, he plays solid defense, and he consistently puts up quality ABs. He has the intangible bonus of being a valuable presence and resource for younger players. That said, he is 34 and past his prime years. He'd have great short term value for a team that is in win-now mode, which doesn't describe the Cubs at the moment. The Cubs have a player in the wings in Ryan Sweeney, who was recently called up but has nowhere to play right now, and AAA outfielder Bryan Bogusevic who could provide many of the same assets on the field. They also have speedster Julio Borbon on the roster, who would instantly improve team speed and outfield defense if the Cubs were to play him in CF. While it's likely that the Cubs would experience some drop off, at least initially, the Cubs would almost certainly trade DeJesus by the trade deadline if they were offered value.
The Cubs would like to trade Soriano because he doesn't figure at all into the long term plans. However, he is not without present value. He is the best source of RH power (though he hasn't shown it yet this year) and the Cubs have lauded him for his presence in the clubhouse. He is well-liked and his work ethic provides a model for many of the young players. He has also been a more than willing mentor for the young players. All that means, however, is that the Cubs are not prepared to give Soriano away, but they'll trade him if they can get any kind of long term value.
Marmol is in the same situation as Soriano. He doesn't figure into the long term picture and the Cubs will trade him if they can get any kind of value. Right now there's a disconnect with what the Cubs FO is trying to sell and how other teams view Marmol. The FO sees a healthy, relatively young but experienced closer who misses bats. Opposing teams see an erratic guy with a lack of control that negates many of those positives. Based on Marmol's recent performance, it seems that latter view is winning out. I'm not going out on a limb when I say most Cubs fans won't shed a tear when and if Marmol is traded. The Cubs will eventually trade Marmol, but may not salvage more than a low level, C grade prospect. Considering Marmol won't be back, that's still a gain but, unless they find themselves a sleeper, it may be one that has little to no impact on the organization.