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The Trade Machine

Written by , Posted in General

Saturday’s trade of Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox  marked the start of what should become a busy season for the Cubs’ front office.

When I turned on my computer that afternoon, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see the Byrd story atop the front page of MLB Trade Rumors. The slow start at the plate, combined with the lack of future with the Chicago organization made Byrd an easy target for trade as early as this past off-season. I’m guessing Theo and Co. were hoping to see Byrd rebound from his scary injury last year to increase his value in the trade market, but the guy just hasn’t looked the same since the May beaning in Beantown. Byrd made his debut batting ninth in the Red Sox lineup last night going 1-4 with a single in the top of the seventh off of former Cub Jason Marquis.

Meanwhile, the Cubs designated Rodrigo Lopez for assignment to make room for Michael Bowden, the reliever acquired in the Byrd deal. Depending on the situation, Bowden could make his debut on the mound tonight. I’ve seen Bowden pitch when he was at AA Portland and nothing about him is spectacular, but he should provide an upgrade in middle relief over Lopez.

With Byrd gone, we can now focus our attention to be who could be gone next in this installment of “The Trade Machine.”

1) Matt Garza – I’m putting Garza first not because I think he should or even will be traded, but instead because Theo hasn’t shown a commitment to him yet. Garza has pitched very well in four starts this season and would likely gain a haul on the open market. I’m not going to talk much more about him because Noah will likely hit on a bunch of stuff tomorrow, but Garza remains the top trade chip for rebuilding. Personally I’d like to see a new contract or extension pushed across to the Garza camp in the coming weeks because he’s the type of pitcher I want on this team, but I have a feeling it won’t happen.

2) Geovany Soto – Soto hasn’t lived up to his good year, bad year billing in 2012 as he continues to bat severely under the Mendoza line. Soto’s defense is pretty good, but it isn’t good enough to overlook how badly he is performing at the plate. Steve Clevenger has played very well in limited duty and anything we’re getting out of Soto right now, we can get out of Wellington Castillo if he got called up. There are a few teams looking for catchers at this juncture, mainly the Rays that could be in play for Geo. I know it would make Lizzie very sad to see her stallion behind the plate get shipped off to a foreign land, but I think he’s in play here.

3) Ryan Dempster – If the Cubs had to trade one starting pitcher, it would be Dempster and not Garza. I know he wouldn’t garner as much compensation in the market as Garza would, but Garza is a starter the Cubs should build their team around and not Dempster. Contract Dempster, named by Jedi, has shown up once again in 2012 after a three year hiatus.  In three starts Dempster is 0-1 despite having a 1.33 ERA in 20.1 innings, a huge improvement upon his start last year. If Dempster continues to pitch this well once he gets off of the DL, there could be a pitching hungry playoff contender that might look Dempster’s way to fill a middle rotation spot. If that opportunity arises, the front office better be all over that.

4) Carlos Marmol – Marmol’s been straight up tuuuurrrrible to start the year, but many teams would welcome the flame-thrower to the back end of the their staffs. I haven’t been able to exactly pinpoint any interest in Carlos, but if Theo and Jed decide to put Marmol on the block I don’t think he’ll be there long. Dolis is green and a little bit wild, but let him work through learning the closer role in what is a season of grooming players.

5) Alfonso Soriano –  He would be first by a mile if this community had their way, but the bloated contract attached to his price tag scared teams away. The Cubs even offered to pay a huge portion of his salary for someone to take him off of their hands to no avail. If the front office really wants to dump Soriano, they are going to have to go the Byrd route and pay close to 80% of his salary the next two seasons for him to play elsewhere. Is it worth it? Absolutely because it will give his playing time to someone who actually deserves it. Now it is just a matter of finding a team foolish enough to do such a deal.

Let’s see some lists of who you feel could be traded in the coming months.

  • Jedi

    Would Soto be any more of a train wreck at 1B than Baker?  Might be worth it to give him a glance and see if you could entice an AL team into thinking of him as a poor man’s Victor Martinez…multiple positions & DH – not making too much that he HAS to be your starting catcher.  With the rate that guys are running on him this year the chances that he’ll be anyone’s long-term solution at catcher are diminishing very quickly.

  • Jedi

    Would Soto be any more of a train wreck at 1B than Baker?  Might be worth it to give him a glance and see if you could entice an AL team into thinking of him as a poor man’s Victor Martinez…multiple positions & DH – not making too much that he HAS to be your starting catcher.  With the rate that guys are running on him this year the chances that he’ll be anyone’s long-term solution at catcher are diminishing very quickly.

  • Buddy

    Nice job on the article. Even though I’m bad at predictions, I’ll predict that Dempster and Marmol are dealt this season. Garza, Soto, and Soriano stay put. 

  • Buddy

    Nice job on the article. Even though I’m bad at predictions, I’ll predict that Dempster and Marmol are dealt this season. Garza, Soto, and Soriano stay put. 

  • Norm Bothwell

    I’m all for trading all of them. Anyone over the age of 27!

    • Buddy

      Me too. I just don’t think it will happen. 

  • Norm Bothwell

    I’m all for trading all of them. Anyone over the age of 27!

    • Buddy

      Me too. I just don’t think it will happen. 

  • BLPCB

    I’m for all of them sans Garza. As for Dempster, do you think he will accept a trade? He has a no-trade clause

    • I guess that depends where they’d send him to. I did overlook that when I initially wrote it and remember later haha.

  • AC0000000

    I’m for all of them sans Garza. As for Dempster, do you think he will accept a trade? He has a no-trade clause

    • Josh Cornwall

      I guess that depends where they’d send him to. I did overlook that when I initially wrote it and remember later haha.

  • Smitty

    I’m all for losing geo and marmol..dempster might not go..and garza is definitely in need of a contact extension..but I think geo is definitely fine and marmol maybe..i just think soriano needs to play better if he wants anything like s trade to a good team

  • Smitty

    I’m all for losing geo and marmol..dempster might not go..and garza is definitely in need of a contact extension..but I think geo is definitely fine and marmol maybe..i just think soriano needs to play better if he wants anything like s trade to a good team

  • Chuck

    I am fine with trading any of them except for Garza.  Garza is young enough to be part of the solution in a couple of years. 
    Dempster is being wasted on this team.  Marmol is about done (I would not be surprised if there is a long DL stint in is near future).  Soriano is corporate America CEO overpaid.  Geo may be on the downward slope of his career given that catchers age in dog-years.

  • Chuck

    I am fine with trading any of them except for Garza.  Garza is young enough to be part of the solution in a couple of years. 
    Dempster is being wasted on this team.  Marmol is about done (I would not be surprised if there is a long DL stint in is near future).  Soriano is corporate America CEO overpaid.  Geo may be on the downward slope of his career given that catchers age in dog-years.

  • GriffeyBestEver

    I’m all for trading those guys for future talent but at the right price.  People really seem to hate Soriano, but he did hit 23 HRs and drove in 88 runs last year, which was a large portion of our offense. Also there’s no hurry to get rid of him till Jackson and Rizzo get their 500 at bats in Iowa. (Which they really do need! Jackson strikes out a ton down in there, so it’d just be even worse in the big leagues).  I am not trying to say Soriano has not been a major disappointment because he definitely is not the same player we thought we signed.  All I’m saying is I would hate to give him away for nothing in return while also still having to pay the majority of his ridiculous contract. Another thing is it doesn’t bother me a whole lot that the Cubs will loose most their games since we are just trying to develop and get better for the future, but I really hate it when we can’t even compete (when I say compete I mean I would like to see a team that at least has a chance to win and the games isn’t decided before it began). And if Soriano leaves we’d compete even less than we do now, so I’d much rather be patient and wait for a deal worth while. Lastly, as much as I love the guy and hate to see him leave, but you should probably add LaHair to that list. I’m betting Theo is just showcasing LaHair right now and hoping he keeps doing well, so when Rizzo is ready there’ll be more of a demand for LaHair, so he can try trade him to a desperate contender at the deadline for more prospects

  • GriffeyBestEver

    I’m all for trading those guys for future talent but at the right price.  People really seem to hate Soriano, but he did hit 23 HRs and drove in 88 runs last year, which was a large portion of our offense. Also there’s no hurry to get rid of him till Jackson and Rizzo get their 500 at bats in Iowa. (Which they really do need! Jackson strikes out a ton down in there, so it’d just be even worse in the big leagues).  I am not trying to say Soriano has not been a major disappointment because he definitely is not the same player we thought we signed.  All I’m saying is I would hate to give him away for nothing in return while also still having to pay the majority of his ridiculous contract. Another thing is it doesn’t bother me a whole lot that the Cubs will loose most their games since we are just trying to develop and get better for the future, but I really hate it when we can’t even compete (when I say compete I mean I would like to see a team that at least has a chance to win and the games isn’t decided before it began). And if Soriano leaves we’d compete even less than we do now, so I’d much rather be patient and wait for a deal worth while. Lastly, as much as I love the guy and hate to see him leave, but you should probably add LaHair to that list. I’m betting Theo is just showcasing LaHair right now and hoping he keeps doing well, so when Rizzo is ready there’ll be more of a demand for LaHair, so he can try trade him to a desperate contender at the deadline for more prospects

  • GoCubsGo

    I do agree with trying to shop Marmol, Soto, Dempster, and possibly Garza (but it’d have to be for way more than he’s worth for me to be ok with it).  Not only would I like to see the Cubs get some more talented prospects, but I’d also love to try to get some reliable bullpen options that we can actually trust to hold a lead while at the same time have some years in their career left, so we’ll have them when we’re ready to make a playoff run.  I’d also like to maybe see big move in the 2014 Free Agency for guy with a good stick like (off the top of my head) David Wright or Michael Young because I really do not see Ian Stewart being our third baseman of the future or at least not a very good.  And I think we all would like to have another reliable bat that hits for average and with some pop. Plus the veteran leadership from guys like that wouldnt hurt

  • GoCubsGo

    I do agree with trying to shop Marmol, Soto, Dempster, and possibly Garza (but it’d have to be for way more than he’s worth for me to be ok with it).  Not only would I like to see the Cubs get some more talented prospects, but I’d also love to try to get some reliable bullpen options that we can actually trust to hold a lead while at the same time have some years in their career left, so we’ll have them when we’re ready to make a playoff run.  I’d also like to maybe see big move in the 2014 Free Agency for guy with a good stick like (off the top of my head) David Wright or Michael Young because I really do not see Ian Stewart being our third baseman of the future or at least not a very good.  And I think we all would like to have another reliable bat that hits for average and with some pop. Plus the veteran leadership from guys like that wouldnt hurt

  • Burgermeister49

    Sveum has no clue on what small ball means!  He has failed to use his under hitting, under performing players to lay down a safety squeeze or simply make contact to advance the runner.  Case in point today, Campana not making contact with a runner at third…his speed, even with a pulled in infield places all kinds of pressure on the defense.  Instead, he’s up there looking to drive the ball…ridiculous!  Many, too many examples of Sveum not looking to make something happen with a “small ball approach” early.  Too many stranded runners cus of him looking for the big inning when a single run changes the whole perspective of the game.   He has been out managed and out maneuvered in several games already this year.  What was the bunting contest for in Spring training if not to apply it on the field!!!!  He, Sveum, has not been impressive at all!!  He has no clue how to manufacture runs!

  • Burgermeister49

    Sveum has no clue on what small ball means!  He has failed to use his under hitting, under performing players to lay down a safety squeeze or simply make contact to advance the runner.  Case in point today, Campana not making contact with a runner at third…his speed, even with a pulled in infield places all kinds of pressure on the defense.  Instead, he’s up there looking to drive the ball…ridiculous!  Many, too many examples of Sveum not looking to make something happen with a “small ball approach” early.  Too many stranded runners cus of him looking for the big inning when a single run changes the whole perspective of the game.   He has been out managed and out maneuvered in several games already this year.  What was the bunting contest for in Spring training if not to apply it on the field!!!!  He, Sveum, has not been impressive at all!!  He has no clue how to manufacture runs!

  • broadfi2

    With the Yankees losing a SP last night (Pineda) I think the Cubs should start the negotiations with them for Dempster. Hopefully get something in return to fill the bullpen up as Marmol and Wood are good as gone after this year and we need to fill the pen up after losing Marshall

  • broadfi2

    With the Yankees losing a SP last night (Pineda) I think the Cubs should start the negotiations with them for Dempster. Hopefully get something in return to fill the bullpen up as Marmol and Wood are good as gone after this year and we need to fill the pen up after losing Marshall

  • TIMF

    Broadfi, I agree. I like the idea of sending Dempster to New York for a reliable arm coming out of the bullpen. Many will probably disagree, but I’d honestly be fine with just sending Dempster to New York with not much in return, if any, b/c I’d like to see him have a chance to win. Though I still wouldn’t make the deal reguardless unless New York is willing to pick up a good chunck of his contract, which is highly unlikely since it’d put them over the new luxury tax and with Pettitte expected to replace the recently injured Pineda

  • TIMF

    Broadfi, I agree. I like the idea of sending Dempster to New York for a reliable arm coming out of the bullpen. Many will probably disagree, but I’d honestly be fine with just sending Dempster to New York with not much in return, if any, b/c I’d like to see him have a chance to win. Though I still wouldn’t make the deal reguardless unless New York is willing to pick up a good chunck of his contract, which is highly unlikely since it’d put them over the new luxury tax and with Pettitte expected to replace the recently injured Pineda