Trades to be Mades Preview, Pt. 1
A big thanks to Rob for his article this morning on the risks of acquiring Milton Bradley. Before I get too far into the intended content of this post, I just thought I'd say a few words on it ...
Hell yes, he's worth the risk! However, I'd consider it a fairly large risk because I don't think he's ever had a manager before with such a legendary temper. I could see them clashing quickly before Bradley gets chucked to the wind. I'm not sure how I missed him in my preview, but Bradley's ability to hit certainly brings something to the table.
With that out of the way ... let's look at the Cubs players who should be trade bait this off season:
SP Jason Marquis - He has a year remaining on his contract, which is a plus in terms of dealing him. Unfortunately, he's also scheduled to make 9.75 million, which makes him tougher to deal, unless Hendry decides to eat probably half his salary.
Why He Will Be Dealt: As much as we loathe him and lament his presence on the Cubs, Marquis brings one thing to the table here - as far as #5 pitchers go, he may be the best in baseball, and on a fair number of teams, he might even be the best #3 option. Perhaps even more importantly, Marquis may see his trade value skyrocket once this off-season's premier free agents are locked up. Somebody out there will be a loser holding a checkbook, and rather than go home empty, will submit to a trade of Marquis in order to tell his disappointed fan base "see? We got somebody!"
Why He Will Stay: If Ryan Dempster fails to return to Chicago, then the Cubs might not want to take a risk in also losing Marquis, a, uh, "proven commodity." The Cubs have a pretty steady rotation, and they've got depth they can play with in Marshall, Gaudin, and perhaps even Rich Hill. But if Dempster goes, and with Harden's proneness of injury, then the Cubs just might not be able to afford the risk of dealing Marquis, too.
2B Mark DeRosa - Poor guy. He signs a 3 year deal with the Cubs, busts his ass in the first year while playing multiple positions, and then goes home to an off season of trade speculation. Then, it turns out that he keeps his job, puts up career numbers which arguably make him the team MVP, and here he is, a guy on the trade block again - at least, in my twisted view.
Why He Will Be Dealt: The Cubs are very limited in how they can offensively upgrade. Hendry will have to look closely at the versatile DeRosa and conclude accurately that he won't put up numbers equal or better to his '08 performance. Therefore, his value will never be higher. Not to mention the fact that the Cubs may choose to upgrade defensively, and if they do it will be in the middle infield.
Why He Will Stay: DeRosa is just too valuable to the Cubs. He is able to play a number of positions, he can get big hits, and he's only making 5.5 million next season. Considering the uncertainty of Fukudome in RF, Hendry and Piniella might keep DeRosa around simply for the comfort he provides them.
SS Ryan Theriot - In his second full major league season, Theriot hit, hit some more, and then hit even more after that. To the angst of Colins everywhere, Theriot put up great numbers (at a glance) and has proven to be an inexpensive alternative to a multi-million dollar free agent, like Raffy Furcal.
Why He Will Be Dealt: Meet the Rich Hill of the '08 off season. Hill had a very respectable 2007 and immediately became the talk of the trade block because he did not look like a good #2 pitcher and the Cubs needed one. Hendry held onto him though, and we saw his trade value evaporate. Theriot might be in the same position. Yes, he batted .307 this year - led the team, in fact. He also had a .387 OBP and 22 steals. Will he do it again? Probably not. Might as well deal him while he's got some value and try to upgrade at short.
Why He Will Stay: On a very expensive team, Theriot isn't. More to the point, he just might be the kind of hitter we want - a guy who works the count, slaps singles, and gets on base. While he will remain the weakest offensive link next year, his presence allows for Hendry to pursue upgrades in right field that he might otherwise not be able to afford.
CF Felix Pie - At this point, Pie has been a disappointment to the Cubs. Like Corey Patterson before him, he has yet to answer the call and demonstrate his ability to perform at the ML level.
Why He Will Be Dealt: Neither Hendry nor Lou will feel comfortable with Pie being Option 1 in center field. Not to mention that - correct me if I'm wrong - he's out of options, so he will never see Iowa skies again. Therefore, before he proves to be a total bust, while he still has some value, the Cubs will likely look to trade Pie.
Why He Will Stay: He's not Option 1. He's perhaps Option 1-A. The Cubs could - and very likely will - move Fukudome to CF next season, making their need of Pie not entirely certain. However, if he is a bust, he's still a bust with a glove and he might be the best defensive 4th outfielder available to the team. Besides, let's not overlook one thing - the Pie Man had a good September and maybe, just maybe, he's figured it all out. I will submit to you this final thought: if Pie gets traded, it won't happen until March. He'll be the last one Hendry wants to let go of.
If you think I missed out on somebody, post about it in the comments section. It's likely that, tomorrow, I'll take a stab at players other teams might be open to trading to Chicago. But, then again, maybe I won't. I think the biggest mistake a blogger - or media type - can make is actually speculating on this kind of thing, because that person will always come off looking like an uneducated doof.