The Chicago Cubs are finally in first place and poised for a post-season run – but that doesn’t mean a trade or two isn’t in the works to improve the club. The primary focus of trade rumors is a left-handed reliever to shore up the bullpen.
The non-waiver trade deadline is looming Friday afternoon as Cubs front-office executives are looking at any number of patchwork deals to keep the team competitive. A left-handed reliever is a must. Pittsburgh’s John Grabow remains the best of four or five available lefties. That list includes Baltimore’s George Sherrill, Washington’s Joe Beimel and Cincinnati’s Arthur Rhodes. ESPN Chicago.
I don’t know that I agree that Grabow is the best of that list – in fact, I think I could put together a solid argument that he’s the worst – but the point remains: any of those lefty relievers would improve this Cubs team. There’s an awful lot of smoke, but it’s possible that once BJ Ryan is ready to throw in the bigs again, the Cubs will take a chance on him. Then, if he just doesn’t have it any more, the Cubs can still try and add a reliever after the non-waiver deadline.
Though the lefty relievers dominate the Cubs rumor headlines, there are still whispers of a positional player.
A versatile player like Kansas City’s Mark Teahen would be a nice addition to manager Lou Piniella’s offensive and defensive mix. Teahen was sought by the Cubs last winter, but Kansas City decided not to move him because of his value to their team. With the Royals out of the AL Central race, they may take a deal with a team like the Cubs for a top prospect.
When Aramis Ramirez went down, the Cubs were in contact with the Royals about Teahen, but nothing materialized.
Another infielder that will be dealt before Friday is Oakland’s Orlando Cabrera. The veteran has extensive big-game experience with the Red Sox, Angels and White Sox. Cabrera, a free agent after the 2009 season, can play second or shortstop, something that might give the Cubs more up-the-middle depth as they get into the dog days of summer.
A move for Cabrera would allow the Cubs to shift Ryan Theriot over to second base from time to time.
The Cubs have also loosely been attached to Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez, and it has been reported that the Cubs are in daily contact with the Pirates.
And lastly, it’s worth noting the teams that have been scouting the Cubs’ system. It bears mention that at this time of the year, lots of teams scout, well, lots of teams, and you can’t glean too much from it. But it’s interesting all the same.
Scouts from Oakland, Milwaukee, Detroit, the White Sox, Baltimore and Toronto were in attendance to watch the Cubs and Reds this weekend.