Following his 8 innings of no-hit ball last night, which lowered his ERA to 2.90 and his WHIP to 0.995, Chicago Cubs starter Ted Lilly’s value is probably at its highest level. And given that the win he secured in that game took the Cubs to a still-lofty seven games under .500, the idea that the team might be sellers is not without some basis in reality.
It’s hard to imagine the Cubs as sellers, but if they go that route, lefty Ted Lilly would be a logical piece to move. He’s a potential free agent with some no-trade protection but they already have two replacements in their bullpen in Tom Gorzelanny and Andrew Cashner. Meanwhile, Derrek Lee has been adamant about not waiving his no-trade clause. However, hooking on with a contender would enhance his value on the open market. MLBTradeRumors.com via Ken Rosenthal.
While Lilly does have limited no-trade protection, it’s hard to imagine that he’d invoke it in favor of staying on a sinking ship rather than heading to a contender. If the Cubs do look to move Lilly, they should likewise consider moving Carlos Silva, who’s also got tremendous value at this point, but is unlikely to be a part of the Cubs’ immediate future.
As for Lee, you have to wonder if he’d also prefer to be playing for a contender right now, but unlike with Lilly or Silva, the Cubs do not have an immediate and logical replacement for Lee. Sure, they could stick Xavier Nady at first (though the Cubs would undoubtedly look to move Nady if they were selling), they could put Chad Tracy at first when Aramis Ramirez comes back, or they could call up someone like Micah Hoffpauir. None of those moves is obvious, however, and makes it slightly less likely that they’ll look to dump Derrek Lee.