While the fireworks were going off on the 4th of July, the Cubs were making fireworks of their own. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer teamed up with Oakland GM Billy Beane to construct the first massive trade of the year. The Cubs sent pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s for their top two prospects, Addison Russell and Billy McKinney, along with up-and-down pitcher Dan Straily. The Cubs shocked everyone by trading their two biggest chips this early in July, but they aren’t done on the trading market.

There are multiple pieces still left on the roster that can be moved for solid return packages. The Cubs really don’t have any one on their roster that is untradeable. Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Jake Arrieta, and Welington Castillo would probably be the closest to that untradeable title. However, the rest of the roster is full of players that can be flipped.

Starting out in the infield, Luis Valbuena is an interesting piece to a contender. Valbuena can play solid defense at third and second while contributing by getting on base. His 11.3 BB% and .334 OPS are both great for a platoon option at second or third, while providing above average defense and 80 grade bat-flipping.  Another infielder that can provide value to a contender is Darwin Barney. Barney, the 2012 Gold Glove award winner at second, doesn’t give much at the plate, but he is one of the best defenders in the game. At the dish this year, Barney is just hitting .224 with a measly .577 OPS. However, as stated above, his value comes from his defense. As a late inning replacement, he can really help out a team in need for that defensive upgrade. With Arismendy Alcantara coming up the last two days and performing quite well at second and at the plate, one of these guys could be on their way out sooner rather than later.

The outfield is much more crowded with names that could be traded. Nate Schierholtz is the name that comes up most often. The right fielder, a free agent at the end of the year, is hitting only .204 on the year with a .566 OPS, but can provide solid defense in right. He is just a half of a year removed from hitting 21 home runs for the Cubs in 2013. A big second half could be in the cards for Schierholtz.  Second player that could be on the move in the Cubs outfield is Chris Coghlan. Brought in on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training this spring, Coghlan has found himself regularly hitting leadoff and playing left or center for the Cubs.  In July, he is catching fire. In 36 at bats this month, he has 14 hits and a 9.3 BB%.  One player that has been mentioned is Junior Lake. This certainly doesn’t seem likely to happen. A change of scenery is said to be the reason Lake’s name has been out on the market. However, the outfielder has not yet completed a full season in the majors and is still relatively young at 24. Lake has had his struggles, only having 16 hits in 93 June and July at bats, therefore his stock is not high at this point.

Shifting to the pitching side, the rotation looks to stand pat. Edwin Jackson doesn’t look like an attractive piece to a contender, with a 5.05 ERA and walking nearly four men per nine. Travis Wood and Jake Arrieta are both cost controlled beyond this year, so both pitchers can be instrumental parts in the competitive Cubs’ teams that hopefully start winning next year. The bullpen has a few pieces that could be moved to help out contenders. The first of these pitchers is left hander Wesley Wright. The lefty was granted free agency by the Rays and signed by the Cubs in December. Wright is in the second year of arbitration, therefore he will have one year of team control beyond this year.  The lefty has been excellent in his 26.1 innings this season. He enters Friday with a sparkling 2.39 ERA and 2.85 FIP. Plus, his LOB% is at 79.7%, meaning he basically leaves 4 out of every 5 men on base, which is the second highest rate of his career.  The second lefty that could be on the move is James Russell. The reliever is the longest tenured Cub, called up in 2010, and one of the most used relievers in baseball over the last two years. Russell, like Wright, is in the second year of arbitration, meaning he is under team control through 2015. The lefty specialist has a reverse split in his 25.1 innings pitched, which means he is better against right handed hitters than left handed hitters. Against righties, he is allowing a microscopic .108 batting average against in 53 at bats against. His ERA is also fantastic at 2.84 through 35 games with a sparkling .203 BABIP against, which is 76 points lower than his career mark. The final bullpen arm that could be moved prior to the July 31st deadline is swing man Carlos Villanueva.  Villanueva is valuable for several reasons. One of these reasons his he is only owed $2.5 million for the rest of the year. Also, he is a free agent at the end of the year and as stated before, he is a swing man. The right hander can come in and make a spot start or be a long reliever in the pen.  Villanueva’s ERA (6.47) is a bit inflated due to a bad month of April, but he is a solid piece for a contender.

As Theo and Jed have actively said after the Samardzija/Hammel trade, this is the last year of being sellers. The Cubs will trade the pieces that aren’t necessarily in the future plans for players that will fit in the competitive window that has become clearer after this trade. The picture has become a lot more visible and 2015 cannot come soon enough for Cubs fans. It is going to be a fun ride. For now, however, there will be more movement by the front office.

While the fireworks were going off on the 4th of July, the Cubs were making fireworks of their own. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer teamed up with Oakland GM Billy Beane to construct the first massive trade of the year. The Cubs sent pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s for their top two prospects, Addison Russell and Billy McKinney, along with up-and-down pitcher Dan Straily. The Cubs shocked everyone by trading their two biggest chips this early in July, but they aren’t done on the trading market.

There are multiple pieces still left on the roster that can be moved for solid return packages. The Cubs really don’t have any one on their roster that is untradeable. Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Jake Arrieta, and Welington Castillo would probably be the closest to that untradeable title. However, the rest of the roster is full of players that can be flipped.

Starting out in the infield, Luis Valbuena is an interesting piece to a contender. Valbuena can play solid defense at third and second while contributing by getting on base. His 11.3 BB% and .334 OPS are both great for a platoon option at second or third, while providing above average defense and 80 grade bat-flipping.  Another infielder that can provide value to a contender is Darwin Barney. Barney, the 2012 Gold Glove award winner at second, doesn’t give much at the plate, but he is one of the best defenders in the game. At the dish this year, Barney is just hitting .224 with a measly .577 OPS. However, as stated above, his value comes from his defense. As a late inning replacement, he can really help out a team in need for that defensive upgrade. With Arismendy Alcantara coming up the last two days and performing quite well at second and at the plate, one of these guys could be on their way out sooner rather than later.

The outfield is much more crowded with names that could be traded. Nate Schierholtz is the name that comes up most often. The right fielder, a free agent at the end of the year, is hitting only .204 on the year with a .566 OPS, but can provide solid defense in right. He is just a half of a year removed from hitting 21 home runs for the Cubs in 2013. A big second half could be in the cards for Schierholtz.  Second player that could be on the move in the Cubs outfield is Chris Coghlan. Brought in on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training this spring, Coghlan has found himself regularly hitting leadoff and playing left or center for the Cubs.  In July, he is catching fire. In 36 at bats this month, he has 14 hits and a 9.3 BB%.  One player that has been mentioned is Junior Lake. This certainly doesn’t seem likely to happen. A change of scenery is said to be the reason Lake’s name has been out on the market. However, the outfielder has not yet completed a full season in the majors and is still relatively young at 24. Lake has had his struggles, only having 16 hits in 93 June and July at bats, therefore his stock is not high at this point.

Shifting to the pitching side, the rotation looks to stand pat. Edwin Jackson doesn’t look like an attractive piece to a contender, with a 5.05 ERA and walking nearly four men per nine. Travis Wood and Jake Arrieta are both cost controlled beyond this year, so both pitchers can be instrumental parts in the competitive Cubs’ teams that hopefully start winning next year. The bullpen has a few pieces that could be moved to help out contenders. The first of these pitchers is left hander Wesley Wright. The lefty was granted free agency by the Rays and signed by the Cubs in December. Wright is in the second year of arbitration, therefore he will have one year of team control beyond this year.  The lefty has been excellent in his 26.1 innings this season. He enters Friday with a sparkling 2.39 ERA and 2.85 FIP. Plus, his LOB% is at 79.7%, meaning he basically leaves 4 out of every 5 men on base, which is the second highest rate of his career.  The second lefty that could be on the move is James Russell. The reliever is the longest tenured Cub, called up in 2010, and one of the most used relievers in baseball over the last two years. Russell, like Wright, is in the second year of arbitration, meaning he is under team control through 2015. The lefty specialist has a reverse split in his 25.1 innings pitched, which means he is better against right handed hitters than left handed hitters. Against righties, he is allowing a microscopic .108 batting average against in 53 at bats against. His ERA is also fantastic at 2.84 through 35 games with a sparkling .203 BABIP against, which is 76 points lower than his career mark. The final bullpen arm that could be moved prior to the July 31st deadline is swing man Carlos Villanueva.  Villanueva is valuable for several reasons. One of these reasons his he is only owed $2.5 million for the rest of the year. Also, he is a free agent at the end of the year and as stated before, he is a swing man. The right hander can come in and make a spot start or be a long reliever in the pen.  Villanueva’s ERA (6.47) is a bit inflated due to a bad month of April, but he is a solid piece for a contender.

As Theo and Jed have actively said after the Samardzija/Hammel trade, this is the last year of being sellers. The Cubs will trade the pieces that aren’t necessarily in the future plans for players that will fit in the competitive window that has become clearer after this trade. The picture has become a lot more visible and 2015 cannot come soon enough for Cubs fans. It is going to be a fun ride. For now, however, there will be more movement by the front office.

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Luke is a sophomore at Illinois State University, majoring in management. He's a supporter of sacrifice bunts and a firm believer in Theo's plan. He loves talking prospects and the minor leagues, along with the big league club. He's been a Cubs fan all of his life and knows the pain everyone feels as Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS was on his 10th birthday. Follow him on Twitter @LukeJett.