View From The Bleachers

June 8, 2010

Deadline Dreams

Filed under: Featured,General — Daniel Beacher @ 5:00 am

OK, settle down. It’s not time to give up yet. No, really, the Cubs are just below .500. I know that sometimes they look like a little league team in the field, but they are one hot streak away from being back in contention. And sure, most times it looks like our lineup is sleeping at the dish, but they have to start hitting soon. Right? Right?!

I fully believe in being optimistic. The Cubs definitely still have a chance at making the playoffs and even winning the World Series. It’s just not fair to count a team out completely until, say, July 31st.

Oh hey, that’s the trade deadline you say? Well you know what? If the Cubs are out of it- IF- they should make a big splash. I was strolling past Wrigley Field on my way back from my buddy’s house last night, and starting dreaming up some scenarios:

Most plausible trade targets:

Ted Lilly ($12M)

Moving Lilly would be for the sake of dumping a large contract. Teams will probably be a little skeptical with him but he would (or should) get a good return. I would expect an everyday MLB player and 1-2 good prospects- consider it a first step towards rebuilding, which is why this is less likely if the Cubs are still in the hunt come July. Additionally, there’s his stunt-double replacement, Gorzelanny, to fill his vacancy in the rotation.

Derrek Lee (13M)

Sigh. I would hate to see Derrek go. He’s not even a year removed from an MVP-caliber season, and his defense at first remains practically impenetrable. But, his contract is nearing an end and teams are interested. If it has to be done, then we may have to wave goodbye to a Wrigley staple. Trading Lee only seems plausible to me if the Cubs get a good return (prospects with some reasonable MLB experience would suffice) and if we have an instant replacement at 1B. Otherwise, trading Lee could leave a gap at first larger than the Citi Field outfield.

Xavier Nady (3.3M).

There’s just no room for him. You know that guy Tyler? He deserves pretty much all of his at bats. Sorry Xavier- no hard feelings.The problem with Nady is his value. I wouldn’t expect anything in return. A clever GM (earmuffs, Hendry) would just shoot for a bullpen guy that is either unproven or currently struggling. Those guys are always liable to pull 180’s in their year to year performances. As for backing up first base, I still don’t see what’s wrong with Micah Hoffpauir. He even plays a decent right field.

Jeff Baker (975K).

Same deal as Nady. You could argue Fontenot here, but I choose Bake because Font’s a lefty and just may be settling into his fitting role as a utility player.

Alfonso Soriano (nevermind).

I know, I know, it’s possibly the worst contract in baseball. Throw in Jim Hendry’s patented no trade clause and this guy looks like a lock until 2014. And we should be doing everything possible to avoid that. Look, I don’t know how old Soriano is- he probably doesn’t even know- but he runs like he’s 40. And I have sat in the bleachers and watched him turn around and play with the crowd as the pitcher begins his windup. I don’t hate Soriano- I do hate his swing- I still believe he is an above average player. But his defense is killing us. And the final nail in his coffin is that Colvin is ready to play. He’s 25 and deserves his shot. No more wasting talent. Let him flounder, let him struggle; just let him play a full season. And the way to do that is to move Soriano- under any circumstance.

Remember in the recent past when the Cubs got rid of their franchise face? Everyone hemmed and hawed, and bitterly acknowledged “Well, at least we got Jerry Hairston Jr…I guess that’s something.” You know who else came over in the Sammy Sosa trade? Mike Fontenot. Ok, so he didn’t turn into a superstar. But he’s been playing and even starting ever since. Not bad, right?

Then the Cubs decided this past offseason that Bradley had to go, under any circumstance. Keeping him was a liability that outweighed eating the contract or a poor return; the Cubs just had to swallow a very bitter pill and recognize that Jim Hendry made a huge mistake in signing Bradley. But you know what? The Mariners had a similar situation. When that trade went down, if someone said to you that Silva will not have recorded a loss by June, would you have believed it?  Say Soriano is untradeable all you want, but that’s if you want something in return. We have a solution from within- and outfield depth in the minors- so let’s make a change, and take a chance.

John Grabow (2.7M, then 4.8M).

There’s got to be a little league team out there willing to at least kick the tires on this guy. How about some new batting gloves and a pack of big league chew? Sounds fair to me!

And how about more package deals? You could throw in: David Patton, Sam Fuld, Justin Berg or Jeff Stevens. Thoughts on them or any others? I would, however, deem Castro, Theriot, Colvin, Soto, Byrd, Marshall, & Wells untouchable at the moment.

Just to keep us grounded, a lot can still change over two months. If the Cubs are in serious contention, I wouldn’t suggest 90% of these scenarios (Nady=10%). And player values can change dramatically- injuries, hot streaks, PED suspensions, extensions and other trades, etc etc. But if I’m Tom Ricketts, I would be yearning for a clean slate, a new lineup- and there are options that could open up around 20M in payroll or more. We Chicagoans know promises of “change” quite well. And (most) of us understand that change does not always mean success or immediate reward. It could even get worse. But either way, you have to be willing to shake things up.

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  • Chet

    I want to see how the remainder of june plays out. The Astros were 21-35 and written off as dead in 2005 on this very date….they went to the World Series!

    Their is also something suspicious regarding Wells and his pitching as of late. I wonder if it is mental? Are we seeing Rich Hill all over again? I am not saying we dump him, just saying that we may listen if something of large value comes our way….probably wont though.

  • MJ

    “I still don’t see what’s wrong with Micah Hoffpauir”

    How does no one see anything wrong with this guy?????? He’s a career .215 hitter for CHRIST’s sake! Get the blinders off people, he sucks!

  • http://www.GoCubs2010.com Shellie

    I agree with you trade list and your stay list is dead on. Unfortunately, something that has happened in the past is that the stay list becomes the trade list and vice versa. The tough thing for me is that I genuinely like Soriano as a person. I have met him and he spent a lot of time talking with my son and I – talk about genuine and truly a gracious person. I have a difficult time with his on-field play. Derrek Lee – love him, but the Cubs need to use Micah or let him go play somewhere he can start. Excellent 1st baseman. Sean Marshall? Need I say more. Solid – solid – solid. Great perspective.

  • http://twitter.com/vftb Joe Aiello

    People’s love of Hoffpauir reminds me of my blind love for Rey Sanchez when I was a kid.

  • Doug Bagley

    or my love for augie ojeda…look, honestly, i like micah…i really do but facts are facts and he is NOT the 1st baseman of the future. and this team isn’t out of it by the way, long way to go still…let’s revisit the trade talks in late july

  • Tommy

    Untouchable? An intriguing word to use. No one except maybe one of Pujols’ caliber is untouchable in terms of making a deal to improve the team.

  • http://swantron.com jswanson

    2010 guys. Before any further talk about Sori, take a look at the stats. He is putting up the type of numbers that we usually expect to see from Rami. Worst contract in the bigs? Look no further than Teddy and Bad Carlos, 2-9 for appx 30 million bucks.

  • http://Derek Derek

    Micah is not very good. He had a great part-time season in ’08 when the Cubs should have won the pennant, but in reality he’s in the minors hitting just above .200. If the Cubs trade Lee, they better get a replacement.

    I’m with you, Shellie. Fonzie is a terrific guy in person. Unfortunately, I don’t want a “nice” team. I want a WS.

    The only things I’d change on these lists are to add Zambrano (thanks for the good years, but catch ya later) and take Theriot off the “untouchable” list.

  • Joe

    We have to keep Fuld… Who would’ve thought Henry Rowengartner would ACTUALLY grow up to be a Cubbie? Rookie of the Year in waiting. Start Colvin, Trade Xavier, put Sori as backup 1st base… I’m sure with his hopping ability he can catch the high throws from Castro and Rami/Baker.
    As for not being out, like I said in earlier posts, Byrd, Theriot, Soto and Sori are going to get hot AGAIN and it seems to be starting, we need a lineup shift for the umpteenth time mentioned on these boards with:
    1. Theriot
    2. Castro
    3. Byrd
    4. Sori
    5. DLee
    6. Soto
    7. Rami
    8. Fukudome

  • paul brito

    in order for the cubs to make the playoffs this year, they will have to play a whole lot better than five hundred ball. I do not think they can with Ram,Lee and the streaky Soriano. Fukudome had his early streak now he is done for the rest of the year. And because of his salary, they keep playing him. Soto has fallen are hard times again. (did he played for Puerto Rico again this spring).We need new blood Mr Ricketts…

  • http://chicitysports.com/forum/ Terrelle Pryor 2

    Why not trade Derrek Lee and play Soriano at 1B and Colvin in the OF?

  • Tom F

    Derrek should and I think will get traded this season. However, if we were to trade Lilly, I think a good place to send him would be to Cincinnati since they’re seriously in the playoff hunt and look to stay there. It also doesn’t hurt to have a veteran lefty in the rotation so they can send Harang to the bullpen. In return, the Cubs may be able to snag one of their top position prospects, 1B Yonder Alonso.
    It looks like the Angels aren’t digging too deep into getting Lee, so it’s yet to be seen where he’ll be sent, and Alonso would be a great pickup to fill that void.

    Here’s a link to Alonso’s numbers: http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=alonso001yon

    They don’t look too impressive, but the skill-set is there. He was ranked the 30th overall prospect at the beginning of the year and is still only 22 years old.

  • Danny B

    Not a bad idea to trade for Alonso. He seems promising and if the Reds are looking to improve for the stretch, Lilly would be a big boost.

    It’s too bad the Mets probably won’t be in buying mode. I know it’s premature, but what about Ike Davis? He’d probably come cheaper. I think I would even let Fukudome go for Davis and another AAAA player.

  • http://prospector Brian H

    If the Cubs are “Out of It” by the July trading deadline: They should play the young guys, trade the old guys for more young guys AND trade Jeff Samardzija to the Bears for the “Honey Bears”. I’m sure the Honey Bears still look pretty good and baseball being such a slow game, TV can give them a lot of exposure. By the time we get ready to trade or retire the Honey Bears, the “young guys” will ready to win a World Series. AND Da Bears will finally have a first round wide receiver!

  • TOM COTNER

    HEH, HOW CAN WE DANGLE THEM ??? Most have NO-TRADE clauses in their contracts. Why DOUBLE PLAY LEE would NOT want to move to a perennial winner in the ANGELS, it is very muzed. It would only be for 3 months; then he can once again decide where he would like to play to end his career. As far as his replacement goes, I would have thought HOFFPAUIR as well, but I believe his hitting consistentcy spells out that impossibility. Look for a player who can “CATCH” well. FUKUDOME might be the answer; it would be worth the looksee, but I would prefer to acquire GONZO from the PADRES, as he would be the Left Handed Power Hitter, we’ve been looking for since the exit of BILLY WILLIAMS. Now how do we get rid of DUMPSTER and LITTLE “Z” with the Big “z” contract ???

    Bottom line is that NO INTELLIGENT DECISIONS will be made until STUPEY, GOOFEY, LOUPEY LOU and JUMBO JIMBO are TERMINATED, which should have been done 2 years ago !!! It always amazes me that SQUEEZE BUNT is NOT in the vocabulary of PINEILLA or BAKER, but it IS a regular deployment of LARUSA and TORRE !!! Enuff said.

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