Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Possible Trade Opportunities For the Cubs This Offseason

The papers have been overflowing with trade rumors about the Cubs this coming winter, mostly revolving around two players- Carlos Zambrano and Milton Bradley. It has gotten to the point where I believe Milton Bradley is all but gone, something I don't agree with but have come to accept as a reality. I'm not discussing the trading of Zambrano again until I have to, just remember I don't like the idea of it.

Instead I want to look at some players the Cubs could consider trading for this offseason in an effort to improve the team without closing the current championship window. I will concede right now that most of these trades won't happen, but all of them come as a result of real rumors.

Idea 1: Trade for Jose Reyes
The Mets owner is broke, the Mets need to get some good young talent into their system, and the Mets don't have the money to give Reyes a big contract. Reyes is a free agent after next season, and the Mets might want to max out his value this offseason. The Cubs make a good match for the Mets I think, we need a real shortstop that can steal bases and play the position, they need young players.
I would build a package around Josh Vitters and Jay Jackson. Vitters can learn to play first for the Mets and fill their first base need within 2 years, Jackson is about a half season away from being a major league ready starter. I would throw in Ryan Theriot to fill the Mets SS hole and perhaps Sean Marshall as well. This provides each team with what they want- Vitters and Jackson are young talents and top prospects, Theriot can already play in the big leagues along with Marshall who can either start or go into the bullpen.

Idea 2: Trade for BJ Upton
The Rays have a ton of young talent in the majors and minors. Tops among that talent (or near the top) is outfielder Desmond Jennings who can run really fast, hit really well, take walks, and play defense. Jennings is about ready to break into the major leagues meaning that the Rays have to make some room. BJ Upton has had some issues with Rays management this season, and his performance at the plate has been less than stellar, still he has immense talent and plays a dynamite centerfield.
The problem here is that the Cubs and Rays don't match up that well as trade partners. The Rays have tons of young talent and no money, meaning they probably won't be able to make a deal, but I'll try anyway. Again I start with Vitters- he would move to first and take Carlos Pena's spot after the 2010 season when Pena is a free agent. The Rays could use some pitchers for their bullpen- Sean Marshall and/or Angel Guzman might do it, and then I would include some lower prospects too. Would the Rays take that deal? Who knows but Upton brings a nice speed/power element to the Cubs.

Idea 3- Trade for Curtis Granderson
The Tigers are in a bit of a hard place with Magglio Ordonez's 2010 option vesting the other night. They are on the hook for a lot of money next season and need some middle infield help. Granderson is having a tough season and in the midst of a slump meaning his value isn't the highest, but he is probably the most tradable player as far as value.
An Angel Guzman, Ryan Theriot, and Jeff Baker package is probably too much fringe major league and not enough talent. Perhaps Marshall and Vitters instead would give the Tigers talent, but wouldn't provide the major league middle infielders that the Tigers want. Either way Granderson would be the fifth hitter that Lou wants, hitting for power and having some speed too.

Any other trade ideas? As you can see I'm focused mostly on getting rid of Theriot, Marshall, and Vitters. Theriot has worn out his welcome in my baseball world even if the Cubs somehow think he is good. Marshall clearly isn't valued highly by the Cubs, but other organizations probably like his stuff and the fact that he could be a solid starter. Vitters has struggled with his promotion to High-A and has shown no ability to take a walk (sound familiar Corey Patterson fans?). He still has lots of value and the Cubs should take advantage of that before other teams see this fatal flaw.

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