It's Monday, why not speculate on which Cubs are most likely to be moved over the next few months?
Earlier this month, lots of folks reported on the Cubs' being extremely receptive to phone calls about their players. Basically, every single player on this roster can be had for the right price, the front office is reported to have said. For me, this is sort of an obvious thing, and I don't really understand why some teams declare players "untradeable" or not. (What one player wouldn't you give up for, say, Matt Moore and Hak-Ju Lee?)
That said, I think Thoyer's approach is the right one: this is a team without an identity, without an obvious core of young, cost-controlled talent, without a real target date for the World Series as of right now. If other teams would like to deal veterans for prospects, let's hear it, because the Cubs have the revenues to support an accelerated roster rehabilitation. On the other hand: see a veteran you'd like to have on your team? Take his salary off our books and tell us about your minor leaguers. Taking what the market gives you; this is a sound approach.
Of the two, I think it's more likely that teams will be asking about our veterans rather than offering vets to Chicago, because this Cub team isn't one or two or five position upgrades away from being a championship contender. So which veterans does it make the most sense for the Cubs to deal? I have some suggestions:
1. RELIEF PITCHING
The trade value of both Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall went up a heckuva lot when the Phillies gave Jon Papelbon $50 million a little while back. As a result, I think the Cubs' trading of Marmol is a near certainty. As for Marshall, I don't think the Cubs are in a position to trade away any potential starting pitchers (which is why you won't see Demp or Garza on this list), so if the brain trust thinks Marsh deserves another shot at the rotation then I think he stays.
2. MIDDLE INFIELD
Baker, Barney, DeWitt, LeMahieu, Flaherty — the Cubs seem to have a glut of 2B/3B types, along with some other interesting names within the minor league system, including Josh Vitters, AFL breakout star Junior Lake, Marquez Smith, Matt Cerda, Javier Baez... let's just say it's a long list. I've heard the Red Sox might take Colvin as compensation for Theo, but a deal involving Baker or Barney wouldn't surprise me either.
Marlon Byrd will probably be moved in the middle of the season, after hitting .300 for another three months, hitting several home runs, and playing great center field defense. The question here, however, is similar to the situation with the Cubs' likely hesitance to move starting pitchers: if Byrd is dealt, who plays the outfield for the Cubs? Soriano-Jackson-Colvin? Bring back Reed Johnson? Let Tony Campana play sometimes? I guess that could work.
Also, for the record, I don't think the Cubs will trade Geo Soto anytime soon. He's better than he looked in 2011, and Wellington Castillo isn't ready to play every day. I just don't see it happening.
Happy Monday, all!
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