The next two weeks should be considered the playoffs for the Chicago Cubs' front office.
With the trade deadline looming, it's the most important time of the year, besides arguably the draft, for the Cubs' future.
The Cubs, although one of the worst teams in baseball, have more available assets than anyone in the league.
The recent success the Cubs are experiencing is fun to watch, but expect it to be short-lived, as the roster is on the verge of being virtual.
The only name missing from the current bullpen is Shawn Camp. He's cheap, on the last year of his deal and pitching very well this season. As a veteran, he deserves the opportunity to pitch for a contender. He'll come at an extremely cheap price, likely costing a low-level minor leaguer. Michael Bowden, in my opinion, is next in line for a call-up.
One surprising name may be Marmol. The Cubs would love to move his salary. But as his performance has improved, his stock has risen. I'm not so sure that teams are willing to pay the asking price for such an inconsistent pitcher. Instead, look for Marmol's name to be brought up during the winter meetings.
RF- David DeJesus
CF- Tony Campana
SS- Starlin Castro
1B- Anthony Rizzo
LF- Alfonso Soriano
3B- Luis Valbuena
C- Steve Clevenger
2B- Darwin Barney
Two prominent names are missing from the lineup: Bryan LaHair and Geovany Soto.
LaHair will receive plenty of interest as a power-hitting first baseman or DH in the American League. Because of his talent and affordable contract, LaHair can bring in a pair of prospects that speed up the rebuilding process. In fact, don't be surprised if LaHair is packaged in a deal with other Cubs on the move.
Soto is receiving interest from the New York Mets, San Franciso Giants and Tampa Bay Rays. All three teams are in need of an offensive catcher during the playoff run. Perhaps a change of scenery will do both parties well. Soto is unlikey to be offered arbitration next year, as Welington Castillo should be prepared to take over the everyday job next year.
Alfonso Soriano, although on fire, won't be moved. He's doing his best on the field as a producer and off the field as a teammate. His contract is just too much, and with his ailing knees, he's an injury risk. At least this year, he's too hard to move.
Barney is another name that's been mentioned amongst trade rumors. However, the Cubs want a potential everyday second baseman in return. Because teams see Barney as a utility player, they aren't willing to fork over the prospects that can make a deal happen.
You don't see Josh Vitters. Yet. Expect him to be a September call-up. Brett Jackson may be another name to watch, but until his strikeout rate drops, expect him to continue to refine his swing at Iowa.
The starting rotation:
This is where it gets ugly. The loss of Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza cripples today's starting rotation. Volstad will be brought back, despite his unusually poor struggles this season. And look for Coleman to get an opportunity to end the season.
We've seen plenty of Randy Wells, and Trey McNutt hasn't progressed as expected.
I see both Dempster and Garza bringing in multiple prospects in order to help the lack of pitching in the farm system.
So while you're enjoying the Chicago Cubs the next two weeks, keep in perspective that Coleman and Volstad are probably on their way.