Chicago Cubs Trade Deadline: Preview and Predictions

Jacob Kornhauser@@KornSportsCorrespondent IIIJuly 19, 2014

Chicago Cubs Trade Deadline: Preview and Predictions

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    Even though the Chicago Cubs have unloaded their biggest trade pieces in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, they still might have moves to make before the July 31 trade deadline. They have some veteran outfielders and relievers that still figure to be on the block, but not all of them are going to be dealt in all likelihood. 

    Based on future needs at the various positions of the players on the block, what prospects they can get in return and what players are ready to take over at the positions of the players on the trade block, here are five players on the block and if they will still be on the team or not come August 1.

    By the time it's all said and done, the Cubs are likely to be done rebuilding and will then be retooling on their way to contention in 2015 and beyond.

Outfielder Nate Schierholtz

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Prediction: Will Be Traded. 

    Schierholtz seemed like he was trying his best at the beginning of the season to diminish any trade value he may have had, but he's recovered enough to make him movable once again. Even though the Cubs won't be able to get as much in return for him anymore, several teams would still enjoy a utility outfielder because depth is important down the stretch. 

    Since the highly touted prospects within the organization are starting to come up and move other players to different positions, a Schierholtz trade could clear the way for emerging Arismendy Alcantara to play in the outfield everyday.

LHP Wesley Wright

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Prediction: Will Be Traded.

    When the Cubs brought Wright to the team over the offseason on a one-year contract, they likely had it in the back of their minds that he could be trade bait this time of year. While he has helped a mediocre bullpen this season, he's very expendable because contending teams love to have an extra lefty in their bullpen down the stretch. 

    Wright is still yet to turn 30 and will be a free agent this offseason, so if the Cubs really like him, they could trade him and then sign him again in the offseason. 

Outfielder Justin Ruggiano

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Prediction: Will Not Be Traded.

    The Cubs do need some outfielders down the stretch just to fill out a roster, so unless they get an offer that blows them away, Ruggiano is unlikely to be moved by the deadline. Obviously, if they can get a solid package of prospects for him, the Cubs will figure out the outfield situation later, but no team is going to be trading for Ruggiano, seeing him as the last piece to their puzzle. 

    It's also possible that management sees Ruggiano as a possible role player in the future. Since he's been in the majors for six seasons, the 32-year-old could fill a spot in the outfield in the future while mentoring the younger players as they progress. Whether or not he's moved really comes down to what kind of offers the Cubs receive and how Ruggiano fits into management's future plans.

LHP James Russell

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Prediction: Will Not Be Traded. 

    If the Cubs are of the mindset that they're going to get rid of one lefty and keep the other, Russell is highly unlikely to be the odd man out. Unless the offers the team is getting for Russell are far more than that for fellow lefty Wesley Wright, the team is more likely to ship off Wright. 

    Since he came up in the Cubs system, the team seems higher on Russell, and he also figures into their future plans. An above-average left-handed reliever is a pretty key piece to have on an up-and-coming team, so the Cubs would be wise to hold onto one of their best relievers.

IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio

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    Prediction: Will Be Traded.

    If he hadn't gotten injured last month, Bonifacio would easily be the Cubs' best remaining trade piece, but his questionable health has his trade status up in the air. If there are teams out there that believe he will be healthy enough to help with the playoff push, there's no doubt the Cubs will be able to find a suitor for him.

    However, if teams aren't confident enough in his health, the Cubs could miss out on a great opportunity to add a few more prospects. 

    Bonifacio began the season as hot as any hitter in the league (4-for-5) and was also stealing bases at a high clip (12-for-16 through May). Though he's slowed down, his versatility in the field (he has played center, right, second, third and short) makes him attractive as a trade piece because depth is a great thing to have heading down the stretch. If healthy, Bonifacio's days in Chicago are surely numbered.