Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman put together a list of the top 25 positional players who may be trade targets this year, and three Chicago Cubs made the list: Carlos Pena, Kosuke Fukudome, and Aramis Ramirez.
Given each’s contract situation, I suppose it’s fair, but all three landed lower on the list than you might expect, coming in at 15, 18, and 22, respectively, behind guys like Vlad Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez and Jeff Keppinger.
Of Pena, Heyman says simply, “[h]e’s a free agent at year’s end, but he’ll need to get hot to bring any interest, what with his $10 million salary and a batting average that’s creeping up but still at just .220.” Referencing the batting average for Pena rings pretty hollow, given that he’s a career .239 hitter. Needs to get hot? Check. He’s got an OPS of .860 since May 25 with seven homers.
Pena isn’t the most glamorous trade target out there, but with reliable power and a top tier glove, there will be suitors. Of that, I’m sure.
On Fukudome, Heyman is spot on: “His $11-million salary is ultra-high considering he’s never shown to be the hitter he was in Japan. But he is a very good outfielder and carries a high on-base percentage (.404), so if the Cubs pay the majority of his contract, it isn’t out of the question they find a suitor.”
Heyman also nails Ramirez: “He’s said he would invoke his no-trade power, so it appears the Cubs and Ramirez have a few more months together.”
Other positional players whom the Cubs figure to shop and who could have wound up on Heyman’s list include outfielders Reed Johnson and Marlon Byrd. The former may not have had quite enough value to make the list (though he’s playing out of his mind this year) and the latter can’t be traded until he proves he’s back to his pre-injured self.