Friday, April 27, 2012

Who's Going Next?

With the changing of the guard to the Theo Epstien era, the Cubs have seen some big changes. There are some familiar faces who are gone and it appears that the strategy is thinking more long term than win now. Those aren't necessarily bad things. When you change an entire culture there are bound to be a lot of moves. There were quite a few in the off season, but Epstien and Hoyer have expressed that they're not quite done.

We saw the first sign of that with the move of Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox. Cubs fans shouldn't expect that's all there is. There will be more moves coming, the big question is who and when. I think I can answer that at least the first part of that.

A friend and fellow Cubs fan asked me yesterday who was going to be traded next. My honest answer to that is Bryan LaHair. He was floored. He thought for sure it would be Soriano. He couldn't imagine the Cubs getting rid of LaHair.

I agree that Soriano should be the first player that the Cubs should want to move. However, wanting to move him and actually being able to are two different things. His contract is still way too heavy for anyone to be interested. At the end of last season the Cubs were aggressively trying to get rid of Soriano and Zambrano, but they weren't finding any takers. I can't imagine any takers now. There were no takers when the Cubs were offering to take most of the remaining contract so I don't see them lining up now. If the Cubs get an offer then they should take it, but I'm trying to think more realistically.

The biggest thing the Cubs are missing is pitching. They traded away one of their best pitching prospects for the future in Andrew Cashner to get Anthony Rizzo who is currently sitting in the minor leagues batting a .380 with 7 home runs and 21 RBI.

Why trade such a good commodity for a good player that you're going to stick in the minor leagues? Even at the beginning of spring training, Hoyer was adamant that LaHair would be the starter at first base. Why? Why not let Rizzo and LaHair compete for it?

I'll tell you why. The Cubs have known the entire time that they wanted Rizzo but they knew that at the time they couldn't get much, if anything, for Lahair. So they traded what they did have, a good pitcher knowing full and well that they would let LaHair get enough playing time to boost his trade stock. When he got hot they would trade him. That's my theory on the situation.

I don't know if you could call LaHair hot at this point, but he's not looking bad. This may be the best he trade stock will get this season so I expect him to be the next to go.

After that it depends. I see the Cubs trying to deal either Marmol or Soto sometime this season. The problem is that both of them are playing some of the worst ball they've ever played right now. No team will want to trade for them. When one of them heats up and starts looking good, then I expect the Cubs to field offers for one if not both of them.

Especially Soto. There are several teams that need another decent hitter out there in their lineup to fill it out and a few teams like Tampa Bay who are looking for catchers. If Geo heats up at the right time the Cubs could get a decent trade out of him.

Those are the next ones to go. Soriano if we can find a GM crazy enough, LaHair sooner rather than later and Geo and Marmol as soon as they heat up.

The truth is that we need to build a good long lasting team and to do that you have to trade some good players and players that you like. I believe the Cubs will be better for it in the long run and Cubs fans will have more to root for.

Go Cubs Go!!!

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