This year is obviously not going to be the year for the Chicago Cubs. With a 35-45 record and three of the best teams in all of baseball in their division, it is going to take a miracle for the Cubs to make the postseason. It’s not that the Cubs have no talent this year, they just haven’t been able to put all of their pieces together at the same time (and the bullpen piece is the one manager Dale Sveum seems to have the most trouble with). With the Chicago Cubs organization planning ahead to their future, they will be looking to try to move some pieces that may not be a part of that plan. Let’s take a look at some players who are rumored to be on the move.
Arguably the most dominant pitcher for the Cubs in the last couple of weeks has been starting pitcher Matt Garza. Since his return from the disabled list, Garza has gone 3-1 with only one bad outing. He has a 1.20 ERA in his last two games, including a ten strikeout performance in his last start against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In his first season with the team in 2011, Garza had arguably the best season of his career. The record wasn’t there at 10-10, but he posted a 3.32 ERA and struck out 197 batters, both of which were single-season bests for him. Garza was also involved in a lot of trade talk last year before he got injured. Right now he is arguably the best pitcher in the starting rotation, and if he continues his strong performance then the troubled bullpen will get some much needed rest. Some teams that are reported to have interest in Garza include the Orioles, Rangers, and basically the entire National League West division.
Another name that comes up is current closer Kevin Gregg. Saturday night he blew his first save of the season against the Seattle Mariners (though the Cubs did go on to win that game, thanks to an eleventh-inning home run by Alfonso Soriano). Even with that, Gregg has put up some impressive numbers so far this season. He boasts an ERA of 1.71 and has converted twelve of his thirteen save chances. Gregg’s strong performance would give any team a good boost out of the bullpen (yeah, Boston. I’m talking to you).
Other pitchers mentioned in trade rumors include starting pitcher Scott Feldman, who has pitched well so far this season and seems to be picking up quite a bit of trade buzz, and reliever James Russell, who has been arguably the best man in the bullpen for the last few seasons.
So far in looking through trade rumors to see which players could be moved, I have noticed only three names as far as position players go. And not surprisingly, all three of them are outfielders.
The first name I saw was all-star hopeful Nate Schierholtz. So far this season, Schierholtz has been one of the few bright spots in a lineup that has had problems producing all year. His .286 batting average is second on the team to Ryan Sweeney, his 34 RBI are tied for second on the team, his eleven home runs are already a single-season high for him, and his .541 slugging percentage is the ninth best in the National League. I would hate to see Schierholtz be traded away, especially since he has been a needed spark in the lineup.
Another name that I saw was veteran Alfonso Soriano. Last year, he reportedly vetoed a trade that would have sent him to the San Francisco Giants (who would go on to win the World Series). He also hit 32 home runs and drove in 108, which was tied for the third most in the National League. This year he got off to another slow start, but has started to pick it up recently, hitting two home runs and driving in five runs in the last series against the Seattle Mariners. As we get later into the season, I can see Soriano not playing as much so the younger players can get more experience. The Cubs are building for the future, and at 37 years old, Soriano doesn’t have a whole lot of future left.
The last name I came across was David DeJesus. He is currently on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury. DeJesus has been one of the team’s better contact hitters since he joined them last season. He provides a good left-handed bat whether he’s starting the game, or coming off the bench.
It will be interesting to see what kind of moves the Chicago Cubs organization decides to make this year. There is plenty of young talent throughout the league, and maybe the Cubs can pick someone up who could be a big part of ending the drought.