If the Chicago Cubs continue falling out of contention, you know as well as I do that we will daily be bombarded with rumors/ideas/suggestions about which players the Cubs should unload, and which players they should keep for the future.

Well, I’m here to start bombarding you.

Ryan Theriot presents an interesting case. Now that he’s been supplanted as the starting shortstop, his future with the Cubs beyond 2010 is in doubt. Then again, there is not an heir apparent at second base, waiting in the wings. Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker could platoon there, but neither is the “future” at second base. Darwin Barney looks like a solid future utility player, but not a future starter.

Theriot led off and played second base — roles that don’t necessarily match his skill set — in each of the Cubs’ past two games. He doesn’t walk as often as a classic leadoff hitter. And is he really more productive than a platoon of Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker?

Theriot was never regarded as a great defensive shortstop, but he’s shown that he can play the position. The Padres, Tigers, Twins and A’s are among the contenders who have had below-average production at shortstop, but there are no indications that those clubs have interest in Theriot.

For that reason, there’s no need for Hendry to rush. (Also: Castro is hitting .227 since his first 10 games in the majors.) But if enough teams need a shortstop by early July, the GM should act.

It helps that Theriot wouldn’t be too expensive. He’s earning $2.6 million in his first year of salary arbitration. FOX Sports on MSN.

Theriot’s value on the market could vary wildly between teams. Some will view him as less than a starter, while others will see him as a cheap starter at shortstop. The Cubs would be wise to feel out the market over the next few weeks, especially if they do not expect to tender Theriot a contract at the end of this season.

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