Goatriders of the Apocalypse

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:

 

Trades to be Mades

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.

Conclusions

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.

Trade Bait

Even after Dempsters' deer in the headlights postseason performance, the Cubs will probably pony up "ouch" $12M for 3 yrs.

Marquis had one of his better seasons in a long time and his trade value will never be higher. If some of the contract needs to eaten, so be it. No this is not the old Cubs, or so we've been led to believe, so get something for him and minimize the damage to the payroll. Marshall costs nothing and there still would be savings to payroll if Marquis is traded.

Furcal, Furcal, Furcal. Too much money you say? Switch hitting lead off men that actually perform like lead off men are a premium so you're going to have to pay up. But the upgrade offensively isn't the only plus. Great range and a cannon arm make him a superior defensive SS as well.

Milton Bradley gives you the flexibility to platoon or go with the hot hand, which I would prefer in CF and RF with Fukake, DeRosa, Johnson and Bradley

And while we're at it, upgrade 2B with Roberts as well. With Furcal signed, you could offer a package of any one or two middle infielders, a center fielder and a young pitching prospect or two. and Baltimore might bite..

Need some salary relief? Trade Double Play Lee. If Gold Glove defense is overrated at any position it's 1B. Go with Hoffpauir and see what you've got. If it doesn't work out then make a trading deadline move.

With a lineup of Furcal, Roberts Hoffpauir and Bradley you've overhauled the look of the whole lineup. This would be a lineup that would drive opposing pitchers and managers crazy.

Last but not least, Marte and Fuentes are nasty LHRPs that are free agents. Hendry has to sign one of them.

DeRosa

Why do a lot of people say. "DeRosa's value will never be higher"? Honestly i loved his attitude, versatility, and his ablitlity to get big hits (he rose to the occasion in the regular season and actually hit the ball in the playoffs). He is the only one I've read about that manned up and took some blame for 2008 game 2. I'm just curious what makes him such a "peaking" talent? I'd rather gamble on him being as productive if not more by 1.) Not always talking about brian roberts in the offseason (i'm sooo tired of this i seriously doubt mcphail is going to really let this happen) 2.) Leave him in one position (maybe he doesn't make that error game two if he had been there all year)

Because he's 33.

And usually, when a 33 year old has a 120 OPS+ season, and a career OPS+ of 98, his production tends to trend closer to the latter than the former.

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