Some teams, like the Philadelphia Phillies, may still be trying to decide if they’re buying or selling at the baseball’s trade deadline, but the Chicago Cubs’ agenda seems pretty clear. Sitting at 42-50 and 14 games out of first place in the NL Central heading into the All-Star break, there’s no question they’re going to be sellers.
Earlier, we studied the case of Alfonso Soriano, perhaps their biggest asset. But the Cubs have other players who could wind up with new addresses before the deadline hits.
Pitcher Matt Garza remains the most obvious one to move. Recently, we covered Garza’s trade situation, and since then, he’s become even more likely to be dealt – so much so that the club has even told him he’s a candidate to be moved. Trades are generally kept under wraps so the fact that Chicago is openly telling him he could go is a pretty strong indication he’s a goner. The curious thing is that Garza recently said it’s still 50/50 that he signs an extension with the Cubs.
Garza has plenty of potential destinations, but ESPNChicago.com hears that the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays are the frontrunners. The Cardinals could be in the running and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal lists a slew of teams (here and here) including the Dodgers, Nationals, Red Sox, Tigers, Orioles, Pirates, and Blue Jays that could be interested. Garza just might be the best starter in a very weak market, and with so much demand, he should also command quite a return.
Then there’s closer Kevin Gregg. After Garza, Gregg has probably been the player most rumored to be on a one-way ticket out of Chicago – and for good reason. The reliever has been stellar this year, on pace for the best season of his career. The 35-year old is 2-1 with 17 saves and a 1.95 ERA. Gregg’s ERA has never been below 3.00, let alone 2.00, and he will draw plenty of interest from teams needing bullpen help. The Cubs appear likely to move him (after all, what good is a closer on a team fighting to stay out of the basement?) and both the Red Sox and the Rockies sound interested. As a free agent after the season, Gregg is the ideal rental player.
Outfielder Nate Schierholtz is another player that could go. The Pirates, desperately in need of a bit more offense, are reportedly interested. Soriano would be a better option, but Schierholtz the cheaper one. Schierholtz is having the best year of his career, and is a bargain, making only a little more than $2 million this season. His rights are also controlled through 2014 and that’s another reason he will be heavily desired.
Outfielder David DeJesus also could be on the move. His name hasn’t been mentioned all that much as trade bait, but the Cubs will listen to offers. To be honest, I’m not sure what would keep Chicago from dealing him if they receive even a reasonable deal. Between this year and next year, he’s making nearly $11 million and his current line of six home runs, 21 RBI, and a .260 batting average doesn’t really scream untradeable. DeJesus plays well in the field and has yet to make an error this season, but I’m still not sure that’s enough to feel the need to hang onto him for that much money. That’s especially true considering the club just claimed the younger Cole Gillespie off of waivers from the San Francisco Giants.
One thing that could hinder a DeJesus deal is that fact that he’s currently on the disabled list with a recent injury. Injuries right before the deadline often scare teams off and with other able-bodied options in the outfield, I don’t know how much demand there will be out there for him.
Others could surely go and the Cubs really have no reason to hang onto too many players. The club is in the midst of rebuilding and getting as many young players at this stage is the name of the game for Chicago.