Chicago Cubs: 4 Ways to Cut Payroll at the MLB Trade Deadline
It's a well worn tale.
The Chicago Cubs are off to a shaky start.
After spending big money over the winter on Carlos Pena and trading for Matt Garza, the Cubbies thought they had improved themselves in the National League Central.
Milwaukee, however, did some improving of their own in picking up Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke.
Before we know it, it'll be June and the Cubs will be out of the pennant race. Jim Hendry will have to decide how to cut payroll so that next year he can sign a new batch of stiffs.
Here are four ways the Cubs can cut payroll at the trade deadline.
Trade Kosuke Fukudome
Signed before the 2008 season, Fukudome has done little to earn the $33 million dollars he's been paid so far in the US. He's due another $14.5 million this year. He's hit .260, averaged 13 and driven in 59 runs per season.
Though he hasn't played the last couple games because of a hamstring injury, Fukudome is off to a decent start in 2011, hitting .313 in six games. He's also walked six times to give him an on base percentage of .500.
If he's showing some production, it's would be a good deal for somebody. He's in the last year of this ridiculous contract and the Cubs would probably be responsible for some of this year's salary.
Trade Aramis Ramirez
Ramirez has been a good player for the Cubs.
He's averaged 30 home runs, 100+ RBI hit .280 for Chicago.
His average fell last year, but he still hit 25 home runs.
Ramirez has an option for 2012, but as with Fukudome, the Cubs would surely be sharing salary obligations with whomever trades for him.
Trade Alfonso Soriano
Is there anybody in the market for an aging veteran player who has lost a step or two on the bases?
Did I mention he strikes out too much?
He's also a bad outfielder.
Soriano used to be a spark plug at leadoff. He still has decent power, but he hasn't hit .280 since 2008.
I don't think they'll have any takers on any of these first three suggestions.
Trade Carlos Zembrano
This is the one that could happen and it could save the Cubbies some cash.
With starting pitching being at such a premium, a good first half in 2011 could get Zambrano a trip to the postseason with a team needing one guy to put them over the hump.
What's amazing the remember is, he'll not be 30 until June of this year. He's had lots of big league experience and he should have plenty left in the tank.
His salary at $18.8 million is pricey, but not outrageous for a front line starter.
If he pitches well the first couple months, he might be wearing darker pinstripes by fall.