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22-44 (16.5 GB)
Sixth place in NL Central
When Theo Epstein came to Chicago, he started a rebuilding process. With the season already over for the Cubs, he needs to decide what players are worth keeping.
By trading setup man Sean Marshall and outfielder Marlon Byrd, the Cubs are committed to trading away veteran players for prospects.
Shortstop Starlin Castro has enormous talent, but he has also irked manager Dale Sveum with some mental lapses on the field. The Cubs have said Castro is not untouchable, so a team could give Chicago an offer they cannot refuse. A star like Castro is tough to find, and they would be foolish to give up on him at this point in his career.
Due $18 million per season through 2014, Chicago fans hope the team can find a taker for left fielder Alfonso Soriano. After signing a huge deal in 2007, he has yet to live up to his contract. Fans in Chicago have seen him struggle to play left field, and a trade may be best for everyone involved. He is on the verge of having his best all-around offensive season in years for the Cubs (.271, 12 home runs, 41 RBI) but his contract will make it tough to find a team interested in him.
They also have starting pitchers who may draw interest from contending teams. Matt Garza has been the more publicized pitcher on the trade block, and he will most likely be traded by July 31st. His 4.04 ERA is his highest since 2006, and a change in scenery would probably help him.
After getting $9.5 million in arbitration this offseason, Garza is a relatively cheap option for an established pitcher. Since he used to pitch in the AL East with Tampa Bay, a team like Boston could benefit from Garza's services.
Ryan Dempster has pitched under the radar for the Cubs, and he will draw interest as the trade deadline nears. A free agent after the season, Dempster provides experience for a team pushing to make the postseason.
The Yankees have also been linked to both pitchers, and they will evaluate their pitching staff when the time comes.
With Anthony Rizzo waiting in the minor leagues, first baseman Bryan LaHair may also be available. LaHair owns the highest batting average on the team and provides power (12 home runs). He strikeouts at a high rate, but his hitting will make him very attractive to contending teams. His team-friendly contract also makes him attractive, and the Cubs will look to see who is interested. With most AL contenders set at first base, he may have to stay in the NL.
Chicago is in rebuilding mode, and they will look to shed some payroll at the trade deadline. They will probably need to eat some of the money in a trade, but any money they save in a trade would help the rebuilding process.