Chicago Cubs: 10 Players on the Market Who Could Secure a Trip to the Playoffs

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Chicago Cubs: 10 Players on the Market Who Could Secure a Trip to the Playoffs
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With the Cubs placing their crosshairs on a 2012 run like Sarah Palin, it’s worth considering the chances that they could aim a little bit higher.  The Cubs have now added a solid No. 2 starter in Matt Garza, a slugging first baseman—albeit with an OPS (.732) lower than Starlin Castro’s—in Carlos Pena and a suitable bridge to Carlos Marmol in Kerry Wood.  These additions fill GM Jim Hendry’s top three offseason priorities—adding a frontline starter, a lefty power bat who can play first base and a power reliever—despite lacking payroll flexibility.  Well done, Mr. Hendry…

Unless you consider that the Cubs are still likely to finish behind the Reds, Brewers, Cardinals and maybe the Astros.  Since going winless in back to back postseasons in 2007 and 2008, the Cubs have broadened the definition of mediocrity to include August in Wrigley. 

The Cubs are the middle managers of MLB; clock-punching, knit tie-wearing lunchbox carriers looking up admiringly to the elite in baseball.  Those elite franchises, like the Phillies and Red Sox, spend their league-leading payrolls to become the league’s CEOs—the Beemer-driving, luxury box-sitting, swagger-mongers.  The Cubs, who will likely have the National League’s highest payroll, will enter 2011 with a scratchy quilt of overpriced vets and unproven question marks, with the faraway dream that they could one day mesh into a championship unit.

But what if that day was sooner rather than...never?  With gaudy pieces like Castro, Josh Vitters, Andrew Cashner and Brett Jackson potentially for sale and available suitors looking to cast off today’s stars in favor of tomorrow's dreams, would the Cubs be willing to dash it all for a 2011 run?  Signs indicate that they might be, after sending four of their top 12 prospects to Tampa last week for Garza.

So look into that crystal ball, Mr. Hendry, for here are the top moves the Cubs could make to secure a trip to the playoffs in 2011…

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