While Bob Nightengale of The USA Today has reported that every member of the Chicago Cubs roster is on the table for trade, this does not mean Starlin Castro is going to be traded. He is under Cubs control until 2017, and his future appears to be very bright. The amount of prospects it would take for the front office to even discuss trading the budding superstar would be prohibitive for any team to go through with.
Three players should be moved if 2012 is a casualty of a massive rebuilding effort. The value of these players in a soft free agency market is undeniable. The prospects Chicago could receive in return would immediately improve the depth and quality of a farm system desperate for both.
Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, and Sean Marshall should be moved this offseason to prepare the Chicago Cubs for the future.
If 2012 is a massive rebuilding year, trading Carlos Marmol is the first move to make. With a shrinking free agency market in regards to closers, Marmol's trade value hasn't been higher.
Most importantly, Marmol is affordable. He is due to receive $7 million in 2012, and $9.8 million in 2013. With Jonathan Papelbon recently signing for four years and $50 million, Marmol is a cheaper option with similar results.
2011 was a down year for Marmol, but he still had 34 saves and 99 strikeouts in 74 innings. He possesses one of the best sliders in baseball, and would be a valuable addition to any team that plans on contending in 2012.
Matt Garza had a record of 10-10 in 2011, due to a lack of run support; an ERA of 3.32 and 197 strikeouts will attest to that. Garza did what he had to do to win in 2011, but his offense didn't reciprocate. A solid number two pitcher, Garza should attract plenty of attention on the trade market.
In 2012, Garza is expected to receive $9 million in salary, and is under team control for 2013, as well. The price is affordable for any team, especially for a 27-year-old pitching in his prime. Garza has produced in both leagues,and is coming off his best season to date. The Cubs sent prospects in order to acquire Garza in 2011 and should be look to flip him for a big return this offseason.
Sean Marshall is the Chicago Cubs' best pitcher. The last two seasons Marshall has established that. Marshall averaged an ERA of 2.45, 10.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and 0.2 HR/9. He is a left handed reliever that every franchise craves. Under contract for only $3.1 million in 2012, his value in terms of production is undeniable.
Should the Cubs take offers on Marshall, they can expect a deal similar to what Texas paid for Mike Adams at the trade deadline, where two of Texas' premiere pitching prospects were sent to San Diego as compensation. If the Cubs can get that in return for Marshall, it is a deal they need to make.
Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, and Sean Marshall are expendable, for the sake of solidifying the future of the Chicago Cubs. The prospects each could bring to the farm system cannot be overlooked. Theo Epstein needs to move these players to repair the farm system, and to plan the future of the Major League roster. This is a process and these three moves are an important part.