While the St. Louis Cardinals have been making moves of late, and the Milwaukee Brewers continue to look for another starter, don’t expect the Cubs to make a big splash at the trade deadline on Friday, July 31.
But don’t fret, Cubs fans. We don’t really need a whole lot of help. In fact, our most pressing needs are to get healthy and to continue to get improved play from the big guns.
While Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley start to heat up (Soriano much more than Bradley), the Cubs also look to the return of catcher Geo Soto in the near future.
Meanwhile, the pitching adds one and subtracts one. Ryan Dempster returned to the active roster on Tuesday, but lone All-Star Ted Lilly is on the disabled list battling shoulder and knee issues.
But that doesn’t mean the Cubs are looking to add a starter. They don’t have the budget in the first place, and their farm system is barren.
Look, the reason the Cards are so active is because they need to be. The Brewers are trying to recapture the magic of last year, when the arrival of CC Sabathia led them to the playoffs.
Yet after trading young players last year, it is doubtful that they will be players for the bigger names such as Roy Halladay or Jarrod Washburn. But I do expect them to obtain a fourth or fifth starter by the deadline.
Speaking of Halladay, if he lands any place (and don’t be surprised if he stays put), it won’t be in the NL Central.
The Cards had been rumored to have had interest in the Toronto ace, but after trading Brett Wallace to obtain Matt Holliday, their only hope of acquiring “Doc” would be to include Colby Rasmus in a package, and that isn’t going to happen.
The Cardinals have landed Mark DeRosa, Julio Lugo, and Matt Holliday in recent deals and they may not be done.
But unlike last year, when the Cubs answered the Brewers’ acquisition of Sabathia by getting Rich Harden, don’t expect them to try and match any deals.
For one thing, Cubs pitching has been mostly stellar. Even the relief corps, much maligned earlier in the season, has pitched well.
For another, unless Jim Hendry can move salary, he likely can't afford to take on a big contract. Especially now that the rumored Tigers interest in Milton Bradley turned out to be much ado about nothing.
But even if they stand pat, the Cubs should have enough to win this division, in my opinion.
What happens after that is a completely different matter, come to think of it.