The Chicago Cubs are 40-57, 17.5 games out of first place, and are paying over $25 million to players not even on their roster anymore. With a team that appears to be years away from contending, the Cubs have some players that have gathered interest among many teams. Yet, recent developments are indicating that their deadline might not result in *any* of their trade chips getting moved, and the Cubs not improving their team at all.
First off, there's the Ryan Dempster disaster. The Cliffs Notes version of the situation is that Dempster expressed interest in a trade to Atlanta, a deal was agreed to between Atlanta and Chicago, and Dempster backpedaled, and now only wants to get dealt to the Dodgers. Of course, the Dodgers balked at trading pitching prospect Allen Webster straight up for Dempster. Considering that Webster is much less thought of as a prospect compared to Randall Delgado, who the Braves were going to swap for Dempster, the possible trade has taken a huge step backwards in quality for the Cubs, regardless of whether or not it gets done.
Next, there's Matt Garza, who is still arbitration-eligible for next year, and would fetch much more than one player in return. Well, Garza isn't going to be dealt. He was removed from his start on Saturday against the Cardinals with cramping issues, and will miss his next start (scheduled for Monday) due to still having fluid in his triceps. Don't get me wrong, the Cubs aren't going to be a worse team next year without Garza. But by not being able to deal him in the coming days, Chicago will be looking at much less of a return if they look to trade Garza this winter, or next summer. Hell, if his triceps injury ends up being serious, they might be not even be looking at any sort of a substantial return for him.
Alfonso Soriano is another interesting case, because of his salary. The Cubs apparently haven't gotten much interest on Soriano, despite his bat rebounding pretty well this year and Soriano looking like a capable major league outfielder. Not being able to clear Soriano's roster spot, let alone his contract, is a huge burden for the Cubs. I'm sure the $38 million owed to Soriano in 2013 and 2014 could be allotted much better by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
The Cubs haven't recieved much, if any, interest on some of their other players that have fallen out of favor (or never were really in favor) with the current regime, including catcher Geovany Soto, closer Carlos Marmol, and starters Paul Maholm and Chris Volstad. There have also been a few nibbles on Bryan LaHair, whose numbers have dropped off after an amazing April. LaHair isn't even the team's starter at first base anymore, ceding the position to top prospect Anthony Rizzo.
Could you imagine if at this time next week, Dempster, Garza, Soriano, Soto, and Marmol were all still Cubs? That would be the team's five highest salaries this year, all of which but Dempster signed through next year...still with the team. I'm not sure if Theo and Jed have worked out a disaster plan for the Cubs, but not being able to trade any of these five by next Tuesday would probably qualify.
Photo courtesy of Daylife.com
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