As is usual, June is right around the corner and the post-season hopes of the Cubs are already down the drain.
Five games under .500 (23-28), seven-and-a-half games out of first place and seven games out of a wild card position have placed the Cubs solely in a seller's position.
Just two years after Tom Ricketts "saved" the Chicago Cubs organization from the hands of the fledgling Tribune Company, its time for Ricketts to display the baseball acumen he appeared to have when he spoke of obtaining “continued long term success...through superior scouting and player development."
If the Cubs are to put a continuous winner on the field, they will have to change the philosophy that has hankered them with so many bad, long-term deals.
With an eye on the future, continuous winning and responsible spending, here are five trades the Chicago Cubs should make.
Very sexy, right, I know.
While Jeff Baker won't arouse even the most die-hard of baseball fan's sensibilities, the fact remains Baker kills left handed pitching. In 2011, Baker has hit lefties at a .512 clip and has a .659 slugging percentage in addition to an out-of-this-platoon-player's-world 1.171 OPS.
Baker has also proven to be a versatile fielder, holding his own at third, second, first and the left and right outfield spots at various times in his career.
Now there's a reason Baker doesn't get anyone too excited, and that's his ugly career .226 batting average against right handed pitching. But for a team looking for a utility infielder, who can hit left handed pitching, Baker is your man.
With Baker, an unrestricted free agent in the summer, the Cubs could be looking to get some value in return.
Fukudome, in the final year of a four-year deal, is off to another fantastic start for the Cubs hitting .315 with an OBP of .435 and an OPS of .813. For a team with a collective on-base percentage of .311, good for 24th in baseball, the Braves could definitely use the services of Fukudome.
In return, the Cubs could look for starting pitching from the Braves, in addition to young center fielder Jordan Schafer. Schafer could be the legit leadoff man the Cubs have been searching for.
Its the end of May and we've yet to see the Fukudome annual tail off. If the Cubs are smart, they'll move him before it occurs.
Wood, who returned to Chicago with a one-year deal signed in the offseason, would be a cheap rental for the first place Rangers. Wood also grew up idolizing Nolan Ryan and could be intrigued pitching for his organization.
Wood has posted a solid 2.61 ERA on the season with 16 strikeouts in 20.2 innings.
With the 9th ranked farm system in baseball at their disposal, the Rangers have plenty to offer.
The much talked about injury to Buster Posey has left a hole in the defending World Series champion's line-up and opened up a new trade opportunity to the Cubs.
Catcher Geovany Soto could be a possibility for the Giants.
Soto, a 2008 All-Star, has struggled this season with injuries and at the plate batting only .226 with three homers. But even with his early season struggles, Soto has been one of the National League's premier hitting catchers for the past four seasons.
An unrestricted free agent after this year, and with a possible in-house replacement in Wellington Castillo, the Cubs could look to take advantage of a team looking for catching, and round up a few solid prospects.
In order for any of this to happen, Soto will have to start hitting and stay healthy. Stay tuned.
The long, but inevitable departure of Carlos Zambrano should happen now.
The ironic part is, with the exemption of a few poor starts, Zambrano has been very solid. A 5-2 record, tad bit bloated ERA of 4.59, a batting average of .375 and a clean sheet of Gatorade attacks has shown Zambrano may finally be turning into the pitcher Cubs fans have always wanted.
But for an organization seemingly going nowhere, a not-so-young Zambrano has very little value internally. The Cubs aren't going anywhere because of Zambrano. Heck, put Nolan Ryan on this roster and you're not winning the NL Central.
The best value the Cubs can obtain from Zambrano would be via trade.
The Yankees would seem to be a natural fit. A contender, looking for headline starting pitching to solidify themselves as a World Series favorite. Former Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild manning the same position in New York doesn't hurt either.
A trade of Zambrano to the Yankees would likely garner the Cubs several top prospects, and if managed right, could be a huge step forward in the re-building of the organization.