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July 31 is the non-waiver trade deadline. Translation: you can make whatever deal you want if you make it before that date. After July 31, but before September 1, you can make a trade, but the Major League players involved have to clear waivers.

That is to say, every “worse” team than you has to say “nah, we don’t want that dude or his likely inflated salary” before you can complete the trade. As with all MLB rules, it’s slightly more complicated than that, but that’s the gist.

Chicago Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry, king of the trade deadline trades – think Aramis Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Rich Harden, to name a few – has suggested the Cubs are unlikely to make a big move before next week’s non-waiver deadline. But after that, he isn’t ruling anything out.

”We’ll try to do what we have to do,” Hendry said. ”We’ve made some moves at the deadline, and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. We always talk about the parity in the game, with maybe 20 teams still in it now, and they feel an obligation not to give up people. In this type of year, you might have more people available [after July 31]. I don’t know if there will be that many marquee names, and, of course, they’d have to clear waivers.

”I think in spring training we thought we had enough offense. We just haven’t swung the bats like we’re capable of.”

If a workable deal develops, Hendry will complete it, Piniella said.

”Jim does as good a job as any GM in baseball in addressing a team’s needs,” he said. ”I’m confident that if there is anything out there that can help us, he’ll do his best to do it.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

What I find most interesting about these quotes is that Hendry and Piniella are clearly talking about a bat. My position remains: outside of second base, where does a bat go? I suppose in theory, the bat could go at shortstop, and Ryan Theriot could move over to second base.

So we’ll even assume that the bat could be a shortstop or a second baseman. So who is that bat? The only possible “upgrade” available is Pirates’ second baseman Freddy Sanchez, and given the now moderately successful Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker platoon, I don’t see it as much of an uprade – particularly in light of Sanchez’s second half slide.

Everyone wants a bat for this Cubs team. I do, too. But there’s no one in the starting lineup that a new bat could realistically replace. Yes, Milton Bradley is not hitting. But he’s also not going to be replaced. Heck, the Cubs could have replaced him with Jake Fox weeks ago if they wanted a hotter bat in the lineup.

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