When the Cubs brought on Theo Epstein last October, I don’t think Cubs fans would have believed we’d be in the throes of one of the worst losing streaks in Cubs history. However, any fan who is completely shocked by the Cubs’ lack of production is delusional. Cubs fans were explicitly informed that the great Theo Epstein wasn’t a miracle worker. It would take time to compile and develop a championship team.
So Cubs fans, dry your eyes and let’s go back to that immaculate optimism of last October, when everything was puppies and rainbows for this franchise in need of a confidence boost. The Cubs got that boost tenfold, and with the trade deadline coming up, it’s time to see what Theo and his team can do. It’s all about who can and will be around when (optimism!) that championship happens.
Legitimate Trade Possibilities
Ryan Dempster: At 35, he’s an older pitcher who, despite having a 2.14 ERA, is winless this season because of little to no run support. Dempster is the highest-paid player on the Cubs next to Alfonso Soriano, and that $14 million would free up a lot of money for new talent. However, Dempster falls under the 5/10 rule, which states that a player who has been on a team for five years and in the majors for ten cannot be traded without their consent. Even so, Dempster has always been a team player, and if it benefited the Cubs he would probably accept a trade.
Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker: Both players are somewhat older, but they are hardworking professionals. They have a .243 and .239 batting average, respectively, and the Cubs could likely get some decent prospects for them. Reed Johnson might be more valuable because of his experience, but he and Baker are versatile utility guys that teams could use.
Paul Maholm: A trade involving Maholm could also free up a decent amount of money for prospects. At 29, he would be somewhat risky to keep because his career might be on the downswing when the Cubs are contenders. However, he has been pretty solid for the Cubs with a 4.62 ERA and a 4-3 record and is a viable option.
Shawn Camp: One of the more effective members of the miserable Cubs bullpen, Camp is has a 2.84 ERA and 22 strikeouts. At 36 years old, Camp could be valuable to a team looking for a reliable reliever right now, rather than someone to develop for the future.
Valuable but Risky
Matt Garza, David DeJesus and Bryan LaHair would all be valuable trading options because of their strong starts this season. Despite the recent slip, players like DeJesus and LaHair have shown that they have a lot of potential, and Garza, for the most part, has been reliable. However, it’s a risky move because they’ve had moments of greatness, and you have to wonder what these guys can do for a team in the process of rebuilding.
The Scrap Pile
Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Carlos Marmol have been major duds this season. They’ve had their time, and that time is definitely over. But unfortunately for the Cubs, they just wouldn’t amount to any valuable trades, and they are essentially stuck.
Obviously, the Cubs don’t have a lot going for them at the moment. The Cubs need to make some significant moves, not only to reassure and placate frustrated fans, but also to continue to rebuild and develop young talent in order to form a team that can contend for a championship in the years to come.
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