Cubs to Discuss Direction of Team as Trading Deadline Approaches

According to a report from Bruce Levine, Jim Hendry and Randy Bush will hold meetings Monday and Tuesday with the top scouts in the organization “about the direction of the team with the trading deadline just five weeks away.”

The Cubs hold these meetings annually but with the poor play on the field these meetings could have a little more importance. According to Levine, “the game plan will include going after top prospects and young players from other teams.”

Monday and Tuesday could have a big impact on the organization for years to come. According to Levine, “Hendry’s objective will be to give the scouts direction as the team looks to acquire new players or move some off the present 25-man roster.”

The Cubs have only a few realistic trading chips due to large contracts, no-trade clauses and 5-and-10 rights.

The Cubs have several big contracts coming off the books as the end of the season.

Kosuke Fukudome (owed around $7 million of his $13.5 million contract for 2011), John Grabow (owed around $2.5 million of his $4.8 million contract for 2011) and Carlos Pena (receives $5 million in January of 2012 as a part of $10 million contract he signed last December) might be the most attractive to a contending club. According to a report from the Sun-Times, Fukudome is “beginning to attract feeler interest from potential contenders looking for help at the top of the order and in the outfield. Fukudome has no-trade rights and can veto a trade to a handful of teams.

Aramis Ramirez has a full no trade clause in his contract (earned 5-and-10 rights since signing his contract in 2006) and recently said he will not waive his no-trade clause. The Cubs have a club option on Ramirez for 2012 worth $16 million. The club option includes a $2 million buyout and $1 million bonus if Ramirez waives his no-trade clause.

Ryan Dempster has a player option for 2012 worth $14 million. With the way he’s pitched this season many feel Dempster will pick up his option and not test the free agent market. The Cubs also owe Dempster $1 million in 2012 and 2013 in deferred salary from 2009 (Dempster agreed to defer $3 million of his 2009 contract in order to clear payroll for the Cubs to sign Xavier Nady). Dempster has earned 5-and-10 rights and those in the know feel that if Dempster was willing to waive his trade rights that Jim Hendry would not try to deal him.

Several mainstream media outlets have speculated the Yankees could have interest in both Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano but Jon Heyman shot those rumors down earlier in the week.

For the second year in a row, Zambrano said that if the Cubs approached him about a trade he would waive his no trade clause. Zambrano has said repeatedly over the past two-plus seasons that he wants to finish his career with the Cubs.

The elephant in the room is Alfonso Soriano. Soriano is owed $18 million per season over the last three full years of his contract (around $9 million remains for this season). Soriano will not be a free agent until after the 2014 season. The amount owed to Soriano, along with the declining play, makes it highly unlikely that Jim Hendry would be able to work a trade for Soriano … that is unless the Ricketts family is willing to eat a majority of his contract. Soriano recently said he would not stand in the Cubs way if they try to trade him.

The player with the biggest buzz right now is Kerry Wood. Several teams are rumored to have interest in the former Kid K, but Wood has a no-trade clause and did not want to leave the Cubs the first time.

The best (and most realistic) trade chip the Cubs might have is on the DL. Marlon Byrd (owed the remainder of $5.5 million for this season and $6.5 million in 2012) could really benefit a contender looking for a fourth outfielder … and a good right-handed bat to use in a platoon. Byrd is expected to begin his rehab assignment in Triple-A on Monday and is hoping to return to the Cubs lineup on July 4.

For more than one reason it would be great to see Marlon Byrd pick up where he left off prior to May 21.

Stay tuned … its rumor season within the baseball season.

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  • paulcatanese

    “top prospects,and other young players from other teams”. What does that mean?Does that indicate the Cubs have no “top prospects”? Have the Cubs failed in the attempt to develop players in thier own system? Or were the players the Cubs have now that they have brought up bad signings to begin with? And “young players from other teams”? That sounds exciting(ha) with the track record of JH. If the Cubs were to get young players from other teams, would that not mean that they would have to offer something in return? That smells like a rat to me. Now that it’s realized that the contracts the Cubs have on the books were bad ones are we to believe that they will somehow disappear and the Cubs will gain some top players(young of course) from other teams? JH will do it again,just watch.

    • Richard Hood

      All this is saying is that the Cubs are planning on trading some of there talent for some one elses youth. A total break down of this team should be welcomed no matter who it is pulling the strings. But I still will not believe it until I see a from the wire message with a bunch of dollar signs being shipped.

      • paulcatanese

        Thanks Richard,and I agree with you,believe it when I see the same thing.

    • Agustinrexach

      Young players mean Blake Dewitts, Lou Montañez’s the Cesar Izturises…you know other mediocre teams left overs that Soon will bat in the 3 hole for the Cubs.

      • paulcatanese

        That would be Augie. thanks for the reply.

    • Aaron

      Kind of expounding on what Richard said, the whole “top prospects, and other young players” means that for premium talent on the Cubs such as a Zambrano, Dempster (though I know their numbers don’t exactly reflect it this year), Soto, and even Pena right now with his power numbers increasing, the Cubs could ask for top prospects. The “other young players” come into play with salary dumps, or guys that don’t have a major role anyway on the team, such as Baker, Johnson, Hill, Fukudome, etc.

      In my estimation, Zambrano, Dempster, Wells, Garza, Marshall, Marmol, Pena, Soto, ARAM, Byrd, and Castro, would be the only guys they could ask premium talent in return for, and the Cubs likely wouldn’t trade Garza, Marshall, Marmol, and Castro for any reason (ironically, they’re the only ones of that group that could bring a huge return)

      Having said that, I’m not expecting any sort of a return for even the good players (in the event they were even traded)…and that is because Hendry is at the helm, and we all know how poorly he does with trades like this.

      My guess is the rumor we heard yesterday on here about Brett Jackson being dealt, might actually have legs. Hendry is quite obviously in job-saving mode, along with his top aides in management, so they will do whatever is necessary to prove to Ricketts they’re not out of it. Additionally, if memory serves me correctly, Ricketts only gets involved when money exchanges hands, NOT players. The same appeared to be true with the Mets several years ago when Duquette traded Kazmir for Victor Zambrano…ownership really didn’t get involved.

      I think the way ownership sees it, is if they get involved in decisions, they can’t really hold the right people accountable. The Yankees actually had quite a few issues with this, which is why Cashman almost quit on them….he was essentially being blamed for Steinbrenner’s decisions, and Steinbrenner wasn’t exactly owning up to anything, making Cashman look awful around the league. Finally, Cashman put his foot down, and started publicly saying he was against certain moves and it was ownership’s decision to move forward, etc.

      But like I said, when it comes to money exchanging hands, ownership gets involved….therefore, any trade involving Zambrano, Dempster, Pena, Soriano, ARAM, Fukudome, Grabow, and possibly even Byrd…..Ricketts would be involved with. However, if Hendry wanted to trade away a bunch of top prospects (just as he did for Garza) to try and save his job, the Ricketts likely wouldn’t stand in the way….that is, until he made a second move like that. In other words, if the Ricketts actually have common sense, and admit they have no chance at the playoffs, and they see Hendry make a move like that, they’d likely fire him, as the entire fan base would be up in arms. Therefore, he wouldn’t be able to trade all of the top prospects to save his job…..but the damage would already be done.

      My point is, there is NO way Hendry should’ve lasted this long after the draft. Hendry, Bush, Kenney, and Quade should all be gone, with Maddux or Wilken being named interim GM, and Listach being installed as interim manager.

      Why the Ricketts family actually trusts Hendry to make any more decisions is beyond me, and beyond logic, and everyone in baseball seems to be recognizing this fact now, with several articles being written recently that suggest he’s nothing more than a buffoon.

      • Richard Hood

        lol we were talking on the same lines on 2 different posts at the same time.  I think that any trade of prospects after the words that came out of Ricketts mouth about building from within and spending money on the “organization” would sound very hollow if he allowed anything like that to happen.

      • paulcatanese

        Thanks Aaron for the reply,as that was one of my fears,JH trading away legitimate prospects. When you say the damage would already done, do you think that JH actually be able to make any kind of deal involving any top prospects to begin with.But as you say the non involvement of the Ricketts unless money is involved is very valid as you have explained. But I would hope that they would interfere as they should have with the Garza deal. Not saying that Garza has not worked out, simpley that he could or would interfere with a non productive situation(Ricketts)

  • PleaseStopLosing

    Sounds like a great strategy if any of our players had any value at all…

    I would love to get “top prospects” for our crappy veterans; however I feel like other teams wont give up anything but suspect prospects for these guys.

    How would we feel if the situation was reversed… Would we be happy with Trader Jim if he gave up players like McNutt and Jackson for a—->
    solid platoon 4th outfielder with no pop to his bat
    or a washed up 43 year old Right Fielder who doesn’t even play hard
    or a 1st baseman who his right around .200 every year
    or a platoon outfielder who’s batting average has completely fallen apart at the end of ever major league season he has played…???

    Dont get me wrong, I am in FAVOR of cleaning house BUT to think these guys mentioned in this article will net us other teams “top prospects” is rediculous.

    • John_CC

      There is no way the Cubs are going to receive top prospects for anyone other than Marmol.  Marshall could return a few solid prospects – but I would not trade Marshall, he is far too valuable. 

      I would trade Marmol for a pull of high talent.

      The only thing the Cubs gain by moving the players talked about here is salary relief.  That is it.  The Cubs team will not get much better beyond adding depth to AA and AAA by trading these players. 

      “Top” prospects come via trading very good, young MLB players. The Cubs do not have a surplus of that variety.  Marmol, Soto, Marshall – that’s about it.

    • Richard Hood

      I agree the only way we are getting return back is if we part with the players people actually want. Marmol, Marshall, Wood, Soto and Byrd would get us the most return.

      If a team was struggling enough in there bull pen Marmol actually may get a kings ransom. The question then becomes would JH admit that this team needs more than just tweaking?

      Most trades are either dollar for value trades (meaning we get better talent back if we throw money in) or potential for need trades (meaning we get someone with potential in balance with someones need).

      In which case we have to look at trading Soto just because we have a couple replacements almost ready and he is under control for 2 more years but should get a hefty bump this coming off season. If we can get some value for Hill (funny I know but you never know how bad a teams need is). Then we have Castillo and/or Clevenger getting time at the end of this year and have an honest assessment of where we are at with them going into spring. Hendry needs to be calling SF, Boston and Pitt as soon as possible but he should have done so already.

      Marmol needs to be dangled to Texas and other places. I think that it is a decent fit to atleast pick up a phone. Even though Texas has a young closer in Felix it seems like they are looking for at least a guy to do some part time closing. They have been rumored to be in on Heath Bell so the Cubs need to slide in in the next couple weeks before the Padre’s decide for sure what they are doing. There are other teams that are looking for bullpen help as well.

      Marshall needs to be offered to the Yankees just because he is exactly what they need and could really bring a huge price from them. Not getting into specifics as far as what a deal could be reached but they have public said they are looking for a set up guy and a lh reliever. What do you know we got both in one guy maybe 2 if you want Garbow. If Kerry Wood would agree to go back to NYY I could see a Wood/Grabow combo trade here when Wood gets healthy. Against the Yanks would have to pay a premium price just because well they are the Yankees and they are getting Wood back cheap. With Phillie also needing BP help there really could be a bidding war for a guy like Marshall if played right.

      I agree with you that Byrd is a corner OF’er with very little power at this point. That is if he can come back and prove he can still see as a couple of us have mentioned on here before there was some with that question before he even got wacked in the face. But because his contract is affordable and is under control for the next 18 months he does have value. Besides that if there is a market for Ryan Ludwig there is a market for Byrd.

      All the guys I have mentioned should get back mutiple prospects including some higher guys or players that are almost ready. Now the question becomes is JH willing to admit that this team needs a new younger more athletic core now and not retool while still trying to win?

  • John_CC

    I’ve been reading many conflicting reports on Aramis’ contract and the clause that says the 2012 option is guaranteed if traded. 

    In this Fangraphs column:  a commenter (granted he’s just a bleacher report blogger) claims that Cot’s was wrong and the option is no longer guaranteed.  The way I read Cot’s explanation, it is – Ramirez chose his 2011 and if traded 2012 is guaranteed. 

    Anyone know definitively?

    • Neil

      John, the way I understood Ramirez’s contract when he signed it was the last year became guaranteed if he waived his no trade clause. At the time, Ramirez worked it so he would receive $1 million to waive his no trade as well. I would imagine that is still the case.

      Keep in mind that new information seems to always surface (see Carlos Silva). I trust and use Cot’s, that is the best and most reliable source I know.

  • froszty8519

    What ever they decide they better get ready to win some games!
    Let’s get our Tickets for the games !

    • ldsteam2011

      Nice plug!  lol   Win games?

    • PleaseStopLosing

      Which member of the Rickets family are you?!?!?!?!?

  • BosephHeyden

    Not for nothing, but the last time Hendry traded a good player away for “top prospects” was the DeRosa deal.  Tell me, how is Jeff Stevens shaping up as a potential top bullpen guy again?

    • ldsteam2011

      We did get Chris Archer in that deal, but he traded him away for Garza.

  • Brentcarmona

    please go on a ten game losing streak now so we can force hendrys hand for the future

  • Aaron

    Also….the difference this year from recent years where the Cubs are hopelessly out of contention is the fact that their pitching is terrible, all the way around (not just at the MLB level). In recent years when they’ve been out of contention, their offense has been the culprit, while the pitching was the bright side, not just at the MLB level but looking towards the future with prospects.

    In fact, the pitching has been so bad due to injuries and poor performances thus far, that here is list of the only pitchers in the system I would build a team around:

    Cashner (injured)
    Whitenack (injured)
    McNutt (injured w/ ribs, even though he came back last night and struggled mightily)
    Suarez (he’s my wild card guy…I’ve been high on him for a long time, and he finally seems to have gotten his stuff under control)

    The problem with that list is Cashner might never be the same after his shoulder issues. Whitenack is out with TJ surgery for at least a year. Kirk is still in Peoria. They can’t seem to figure out what role Kurcz will be in, as they just switched him yet again from starter to reliever. Dolis is in the same position as Kurcz in that regard. And obviously, I already pointed out Suarez’s struggles early in his career, and he’s eligible for the Rule 5 this year (and I believe someone will stash him in their pen due to his velocity and potential).

    So….the Cubs could trade away Dempster and Zambrano, and let Davis walk at the end of the year, but they’d only have Garza and Wells. Who do you put in the 1, 2, and 5 spots in the rotation then (let’s face it, Garza and Wells are 3 and 4’s at best)? My guess is, if healthy, McNutt would be the 5th starter, and if Cashner is healthy, he’d likely be the #2 (provided he can pitch like he did in his 1 start before going down). Therefore, the Cubs would need to sign an ace starter from the FA market, or make a trade for one. I would love for the Cubs to swing a trade with the Yankees for Banuelos or Betances. Actually, how would this trade sound:

    Dempster, Zambrano, Fukudome, and Barney to the Yankees for Betances (AA), J. Heredia (high-A), Montero (AAA), and Venditte (AA)

    The Yankees could then stop worrying about rotation depth with Hughes and Colon going down. Barney provides them insurance at SS with Jeter down, and the Yankees can end the Andruw Jones experiment, and just go with the high OBP Fukudome.

    To be honest, that’s a trade a huge market team like the Yankees would make, as both Dempster and Zambrano are under contract (Dempster with option) for next season, so it’s not a rental situation, and it guards them from a possible Sabathia defection, as he can opt out after the season.

    The Yankees have already discussed moving Jeter to CF, so Barney would give them a great option at SS for the future.

    Montero’s stock within the Yankees organization has supposedly declined quite a bit within the last year. The Yankees would still have Banuelos, another top arm, so they can afford to give up Betances, and Venditte (the switch pitcher) doesn’t really hold much value to them apparently from what I’ve read. As for Heredia, it’s just another throw-in arm to stock-pile the system.

    One thing is for sure, the Cubs need to start trading veterans NOW….versus waiting until the market is flooded with teams out of contention purging their rosters around the deadline.

    • Richard Hood

      Interesting take Aaron. I am not one for huge white flag sales like that normally. Just because it takes so much to get anything back to resemble being a good trade. The other day you mentioned the SF/Whitesox trade I just do not see anyone giving up that much for any combination of players in todays game.
      That being said if Cashman is trying to stick around in New York he had better make a splash soon. So a killer trade like this is very much in the cards.

      • cubtex

        That trade would never happen! Even the Yankees wouldn’t add over 40 mil in payroll and give up top prospect. It’s funny……..Many people on here who were against the Garza deal stating how the Cubs didn’t need pitching are coming out now. Imagine not having Garza to build on for next year????? Imagine having Z,Demp, Gorzo….2-5 with the Nats this year, Coleman…not a mlb starter imo…Wells, and a hurt Cashner? Can you say BRUTAL. Chris Archer has given up 83 hits in 71 IP this year with a 5.27….so he definately would not be counted on. At least the Cubs do have Garza to build on and they really must strongy consider trading Marmol for a top of the rotation starter. He is your best trade chip besides Castro and this team needs starting pitching more than a dominant closer.

        • Richard Hood

          I know that this trade is iffy at best but that a killer trade was in the cards. That is all I am saying.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I’ll tell you right now: FORGETABOUTIT.

    Why would anybody pay $9 million for a 4th outfielder? That’s Marlon Byrd. And you know after getting beaned in the eye like he did, he’ll be a little gunshy and that will affect performance. You watch and see.

    Why would anybody pay $10+ million for Aram–a 3rd baseman with a very bad glove–one of the worst 3rd in MLB–and no power anymore?

    Why would anybody even consider for more than a nano-second acquiring Alfonso Soriano? Owed $63 million for the remaining amount of his contract, with no speed, no glove, and no batting average? He hits only occasional home runs now, and none are in the clutch anyway. Why would anybody consider Grabow? INeffective relief for $2.5 million! He can’t close. He can’t set up the closer. He’s not an effective LOOGY. He’s the 25th man on your roster, too. 

    Why would anybody want Funko? $7 million for a 4th or 5th OF. No power anymore. No speed either. Declining range in the field. At least when he complains it is in Japanese, so that you can’t understand what he says. But why would anybody want him?

    Zambrano is an expensive bottle of nitroglycerin. Just shake him up a little bit and watch him explode. Why would you add that to your pennant run? Dumpster has stunk the joint up. He’s the new Len Barker. 

    In short, the Cubs have nothing to trade. You cannot get prospects for these players because they are owed so very much, and they are 4th or 5th OFs.

    • Richard Hood

      Isn’t it funny last week Rip had Fukudome as the best lead off guy in baseball. Now this week he has no value? hmmm. He has value just not as a $7 million rental the Cubs are going to have to cut that number in half.

      I agree with you on Byrd because we have talked about his lack of vision leading up to him getting hurt. If he proves he can play and hit (big If’s in my opinion) then we will talk about his value which is still say is more than Ludwig’s and there has been a lot of chatter about him.

      ARAM never mentioned him because no one has proven to me that Cot’s is wrong about his contract. If next year is vested if he is traded then he is unmoveable.

      Soriano has no value at 63 million or even half of that. Some one will have to get hosed to take that kind of risk. Grabow has value the question is when to trade him. It is a sticky slope but if Kevin Gregg has value every year then Grabow has value.

      Zambrano ? I do not know. The Cubs will have to eat a ton of money to get him down to 12 to 14 million where his money should be. If they do that then you never know.

      Dempster can move but like I have mentioned before is it worth the bad blood that can be gotten from this? His value at a trade over the last 3 years is almost exactly what he was making according to fangraph. With the Cubs going to him twice and saying can we defer money to do this or that is it smart to then turn around and trade him?

      Pena it all depends on weather the Cubs will want someone else to pick up the deferred money or not. At 2.5 Million he is tradeable with his power stroke showing signs of life. At 7.5 Million that is an entirely different animal.

      Remeber I have not talked about what these guys value is just that there is a market and how much would have to be thrown in for it to start making sense. So at 20.5 Million sent out to get any type of return it is going to take some serious conversations between Ricketts and Hendry to even begin dismantling this team.

  • Ripsnorter1

    And speaking of incompetent managers . . .  .

    Pardon me for a moment . . . 

    Who does he think he is? When hired by the Cubs, he was the losingest manager in MLB HISTORY!
    And the Cubs didn’t help that record very much. So he’s now upset that the Nats didn’t want to extend him after this year, so he quit.

    If I were in D.C, I’d be celebrating right now.

    • paulcatanese

      How about Quade to the Nats for 1/4 dozen used batting practice balls?

      • cubtex

        I’d settle for a ripped batting glove and used jock.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Want to hear another Jim Riggleman comment?

    “Wait for the right Timing? That’s like not getting married until you have a steady job. You’ll never get married if you do that.” 

    Now that is one unwise comment. I’d not give my daughter away to man who can’t prove he’ll support her. And Riggleman doesn’t know how to handle a ball club, either. 

    Good riddance, Riggleman.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Big challenge for the Cubs tonight. IF they can beat KC, they’ll again be tied for next to last place in MLB. If KC can sweep the Cubs, their hold on 2nd to last place will be solidified.

  • Tom U

    Sometimes you never know what you’ll get in a deal. Last season, in a seemingly insignificant deal, the Cubs traded Mike Fontenot for Evan Crawford.

    At the time, Crawford was doing very well. Since then, he is leading Daytona in hitting, and is one of the leading hitters and base-stealers in the Florida State League. He was an All-Star representative for Daytona.

    And, with apologies to Tony Campana and Matt Szczur, Crawford is probably the fastest player in the system.

    • cubtex

      Great point Tom! And the Tigers traded a young pitcher…..John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander. That didn’t work out too well for the Tigers :)

  • Kingdomusa

    How about the prospects we traded away. Chris Archer, a solid starting pitcher, what about Hak Ju Lee @ ss leading in several categories in A ball & red hot to move to AA. He is rumored to be in the mjor leagues by season’s end. Or can we say Brandon Guyer, an outfielder to be parnered up with Jackson. Can anyone say why defensive whiz Sam Fuld was evaluated so poorly by the same guys that will be attending this so called important meeting. Do you trust Hendry on any future decisions for this losing franchise. The answer is very easy amongst most serious Cub fans…..”NO !!!!!!”.
    Add to the fact the poor on the field decisions by Quade such as pitching to Pujols back to back, oitching to Kornerko in game 2 of the city series, batting manager favorite Koyie Hill to try & get our fastest runner in from 3b. Dempster or zambrano would have been a better selection than Hill & I guess Quade thought Soto was on vacation. Too many minor league decisions on a supposedly major league team.

    It’s very scarey to hear Ricketts keep saying everything is fine & lets not forget the injuries. Give us cub fans a break. You think we are stupid idiots. Don’t keep saying you are talking to the fans & most agree with the way you’re running this team. Crane Kenney has no business being a baseball operations President. He is best suited in selling Capt. Morgan bottles on Rush Street.

    In order to move forward, you must start at the top & move down. We need new blood in the organization & the tranfusion should start before we start trading players away. The excuse thr top players on the farm by position isn’t ready is just catering to the vets that love quade because “Q” is one of them.

    Hendry did not consider Ryno because of his fan popularity and not being to have fukk control over him like he has on his puppet “Q”. Winning last September was done by playing vets against opponents Rookies. The younger players struggled for getting playing time. You are seeing the real quade now vs real Pros not Rookies. Enough said & I hope most of you agree with my assessments. 

    • cubtex

      Those prospects we gave up for Garza? Chris Archer has had a terrible year in AA so far. Hak Ju Lee was just mentioned on Baseball America’s Not so Hot list since he has been slumping since the All Star Break and he is only in High A ball. He is no where near the majors! Where did you get that info? Brandon Guyer is a 4th outfielder who the Cubs have a dozen of those, Sam Fuld is a nice feel good story who is hitting in the low .200’s now.

      The Cubs got a solid MLB starter and a pitcher in Zach Rosscup who has been pitching lights out in the minors!!!!

      I think the Cubs made out pretty good in this deal!!!!!

  • Ryan7_21_05

    if we could only get ride of one and not both meaning Jimmy boy or Quade. Who would we want to stay. I know everyone that watches the cubs or has something to do in baseball will say both need to go. I’m just saying who would we rather put up with. Jim or Quade