If you are a true Chicago Cubs fan, then by now you know that this team is quickly heading nowhere.
Although they are still within 10 games in the division, the chances of them making up any ground is highly unlikely.
So what are the next steps this franchise needs to take?
It is simply to try and move veterans with the high salaries, and to build from the minor league system.
Honestly, if you look at the guys on the Cubs' 25-man roster, most of them were acquired from other teams, rather than brought up through the system. Maybe the Cubs should take a page from the Tampa Bay Rays' playbook on building a winner.
So, who exactly should the Cubs get rid of?
Well, I would start by a hobbled Aramis Ramirez, but then who wants a beaten up third baseman that can't hit anymore? Derrek Lee is also a candidate for being dealt with. He has had an off year so far, but he still could be a player for someone wanting to add a bat down the stretch.
Carlos Zambrano is my top choice to be sent packing, but who wants a guy that throws more temper tantrums than strikes?
Also you could add Kosuke Fukudome, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, and Alfonso Soriano to the list of guys who could be dealt with if the right offer comes along.
Marlon Byrd, even though he leads the team in hitting and has been the lone bright spot, could be gone. He is unhappy with his current contract, and is trying to get the player's union to help him void the deal. But, at least we'll get something for him, right?
The big problem with unloading a group of guys that have not came through over the past several years is the massive salaries these guys carry.
Here is a breakdown of the top ten Cubs salaries in 2010, according to FOXSports.com .
In this bad economy, who wants to pay that for a group of guys that have barely won 30 games at this point in June?
The short answer is, nobody!
I will go out on a limb and say that the Cubs may be able to deal Lilly since he is a left handed starter and those can be a hot commodity coming down the stretch.
Zambrano will be dangled, along with Ramirez, and maybe Lee, but nobody will bite. I think Fukudome could end up out West with a playoff contender, as could Xavier Nady.
Dempster may be on the block too, but he is not a young gun anymore, and I doubt anyone will want to take on his contract.
The bottom line is that it is all about waiting until next year again.
But before next year begins, the organization needs to decide how it wants to prepare for the future. Will they stay with the same stale product out on the field, or bring up the future Cubs in guys like Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin.
Finally, I think that Cubs manager Lou Pinella will step down by mid August. Sweet Lou can't throw enough fits on the field to get these guys fired up. I think it would be wise to retire and move on to the next stage of his life before this club gives him a heart-attack.
As always, we hope that next season will be the year, but a lot of next season depends on who the Cubbies can unload by July 31. This core group simply did not get it done and their time is up.
It's time to bring up the kids in Iowa City along with their manager for 2011.