We’re just a week away from the non-waive trade deadline, and the Chicago Cubs have yet to make a move. But having just lost two of three to the woeful Astros, the Cubs have no doubt cemented their status as sellers – and the first piece to go will probably be pitcher Ted Lilly.

Unlike the two guys above him on this list, there’s one thing we can say for sure about Lilly: He will get traded, probably any day now.

At least a half-dozen teams are still in on him — a group headed by the Tigers, Mets and Dodgers. And the Cubs are officially in nearly-everything-must-go mode. So not only are they confident they can trade this guy, but they Cubs are also telling teams they don’t have to pay any of the approximately $5.5 million he has left on his deal this year.

“They said they’re going to move him,” said an official of one club. “And they’ve got enough action where they won’t have to pay any of the money.”

But Lilly — who also has a limited no-trade clause — isn’t a fit for everybody. One scout said of him: “His velocity is down and he has to go to a club with a big park, a fly-ball park. He can’t pitch in a small park anymore.” But an executive of one team who loves him said: “He’s never been a velocity guy. He’s a pitcher. And he likes the action. He likes facing tough lineups. He likes facing those tough right-handed hitters. I really don’t see that decrease in velocity as an issue.”

It takes only one team that agrees with that assessment. And the Cubs, in this case, have a lot more than one to choose from. Jayson Stark.

That the Cubs are intent on not picking up any of Lilly’s remaining salary indicates that they are looking mostly to save money, and not to pick up the optimal return in prospects. Sure, if the market for Lilly is broad enough, the Cubs shouldn’t have to eat any of Lilly’s deal. But by refusing to do so, the Cubs limit that market – at least incrementally.

Still, it’s reassuring to hear that there are a number of teams interested in Lilly, who has greatly rehabilitated his value in his last two starts. They may have been his last as a Cub.

  • Penny

    I know the Cubs need to do something, but why does it have to be getting rid of one of their best pitchers?? I understand the trade value, but it’s so hard to watch them always cut the best players loose!

    • Kevin G

      We arent getting rid of Maddux in his prime or anything. We are getting rid of a pitcher on the decline for pieces that can help us next year and beyond.

    • Tanner

      Penny, Lilly is a free agent at the end of the year. So why would the Cubs hold on to him and get nothing out of him, since they aren’t going anywhere this year? I do think that Lilly is out of his prime, but if there are teams that think he is still worth a trade, then I will take whatever they can get out of him. Hopefully, the Cubs wont want to resign him during the off season.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Not sure about the logic. If there are several teams interested in Lilly, that means the Cubs won’t have to pick up any of his salary AND they should receive something decent in return.

    • Ace

      There may be teams who are not willing to take all of Lilly’s salary, but who would offer a better return in prospects than the “several” teams that are interested in Lilly who would take on all of his salary.


  • http://www.cornerlotsbaseball.blogspot.com Marvin Ferguson

    The Cubs should think twice before they get rid of a good lefty. Velocity isn’t the most important thing in a pitcher. The Cub organization has made some poor trading decisions through the years, and the fact that they still aren’t in a World Series for a long time proves that. How many good lefties are there? I’ve been a Cub fan for many many years, and there is a good long lists of star players (former Cubs), that performed very well for other teams. And when I reflect over 50 years as a die hard Cub fan, what did the Cubs get for those players they traded off? I hope the head office makes some wise decision so that long time Cub fans can get what they deserve, a winning team.

    • Ace

      Lilly’s a free agent at the end of the year, and may well walk. The Cubs aren’t looking to trade him because of a drop in velocity.