Well, I held out as long as I could but after yesterday’s injury to Mark Prior, I’m officially giving up on the Cubs season. And to think, I almost made it to June this year. I’m sure some people are thinking that it’s nuts to give up before Memorial Day, while others gave up 2 weeks ago, but the truth is, until yesterday when I looked at this team, I saw good starting pitching, a flawed offense and a bad bullpen. While the offense and bullpen could have been improved through trade, Prior’s injury is most devastating because he’s irreplaceable. There’s only one pitcher who the Cubs could possibly trade for who could have the kind of impact that Prior does, and the Cubs simply don’t have enough trade bait to pry Roger Clemens away from the Astros, and then address the rest of their needs. While Joe points to the Cubs pitching depth, I’ve got to disagree with him on that point; the Cubs pitching depth is now a myth. Prior is out, there is no ETA on Kerry Wood, Angel Guzman hasn’t thrown a pitch this season, Bobby Brownlie has been bad at AAA and while using Wellemeyer or Dempster might be an option, that would only serve to further weaken an already bad bullpen. The Cubs need to make some deals with an eye towards next year. The LaTroy Hawkins trade was a good start, and with that fresh in my mind, I want to take a look at some of the other Cubs who have high trade value, and who might want them.

Glendon Rusch
It’s hard to believe, but Rusch may have more trade value than any other Cub right now. A left handed pitcher who can give you quality innings either as a starter or a reliever, and one with an extremely reasonable contract, teams should be knocking down Jim Hendry’s door in June and July to try and aquire Rusch. Almost any contending team could use him, but right now the teams with the greatest need for Glendon’s services would be:
Yankees: Need help in the rotation and the bullpen
Texas: They’re always looking for pitching
Boston: With Schilling and Wells both old and injured, Boston might want to hedge their bets
Atlanta: Thompson and Hampton are both on the DL

Jeromy Burnitz
Burnitz is another valuable player, as he’s a lefthanded hitter with good power who plays good defense as a corner outfielder and is mobile enough to play center in an emergency. He’s also hitting well enough this year to show that his Coors Field season wasn’t a “Coors Field season” and he has a manageable contract. Possible suitors:
Atlanta: Raul Mondesi and Brian Jordan both look finished
Angels: With Vlad out, Burnitz would be an upgrade over Juan Rivera
White Sox: Jermaine Dye is terrible on offense and defense

Todd Walker
Walker’s a low priced 2nd baseman who hits for good average and power. His defense isn’t great, but it’s better than advertised and he’s a good team guy. Possible destinations:
Minnesota: they have gotten very little offensively from their middle infielders
Angels: an upgrade over Adam Kennedy
San Diego: Mark Lorretta’s injury leaves a big hole

Ryan Dempster
If Dempster continues to pitch well in the closer’s role, a lot of teams will be after him at the deadline:
San Francisco: He could reteam with LaTroy
Atlanta: Their closer situation is up in the air
Yankees/Mets/Rangers/Cardinals: Really, who couldn’t use an extra arm in the bullpen?

There are a few other guys of value on the Cubs, but these four players are the ones that Jim Hendry should be able to command the most from in trades. Hendry’s shown a knack for making good deals during his career, so hopefully he can work his magic and start rebuilding this team.

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