The non-waiver trade deadline is just five weeks away, and with the Chicago Cubs 14 games under .500 and 10 games out in the NL Central, the time has come to discuss a deadline strategy.

Unsurprisingly, that strategy is going to involve dumping expensive pieces to, hopefully, save some cash and stock up prospects and young players for next season. Front office personnel and organizational scouts are expected to meet early next week – Monday and Tuesday – to put together a plan.

General manager Jim Hendry and assistant GM Randy Bush will preside over the two days of meetings. Hendry’s objective will be to give the scouts direction as the team looks to acquire new players or move some off the present 25-man roster.

Hendry will talk to his top scouts about which teams the Cubs might match up with best as far as trades. The Cubs have a number of players with big contracts that not all teams could or would absorb.

Obviously, the players the Cubs would most like to trade – Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, and Aramis Ramirez, for example – would also prove the most difficult. Not only does each have the right to veto a trade, but all are considered (1) expensive, (2) older, and (3) declining.

More likely trade options include first baseman Carlos Pena, outfielders Kosuke Fukudome (if the Cubs eat enough of his remaning money and he doesn’t exercise his limited no-trade clause), Marlon Byrd and Reed Johnson, infielder Jeff Baker, and reliever John Grabow. The Cubs might also listen to offers for Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol – perhaps even Matt Garza – but there has been no indication that the Cubs would be interested in trading any of those three.

But things can change rapidly this time of year. Monday and Tuesday’s meetings are merely the beginning of what may prove to be a simultaneously exciting and depressing month for the Cubs.

  • Jeremy

    I’ll be quite upset if Reed Johnson ends up gone… again.

  • Kerf

    That picture of Hendry is priceless – if you look close enough you could almost see the hamster laying on the ground next to the wheel in that melon. I just hope he doesn’t open this meeting by asking for a list of aged middle-relievers that can be had for some young talent.

  • MichiganGoat

    I’d like us to keep Baker, unless he can bring a top level prospect, he has proven to be a consistent multi-positional super sub that all teams need. I an see him being an everyday starter next year by playing multiple positions, ala Mark Derosa.

  • Ace

    Ok, I already see an issue with the new comments. Duplicates. I’ll work on it.

  • MichiganGoat

    Why are all my comments double posting?

  • Ace

    Another test comment.

  • Ace

    And yet another test comment.

  • Ace

    Ok, fingers crossed – it should be fixed now.

  • Toosh

    Step 1. Get all your decision makers together. Step 2. Determine that the big league club can contend in 2011. Step 3. React accordingly.

  • pfk

    Hey, it just blew up my web cam. twice!

  • TSB

    Here’s a thought; why not keep Carlos Pena? sure, if Fielder, Howard, or a healthy Pujols become available, then show Pena the door. But baring that, why trade a better than average first baseman for just another better than average first baseman?

  • hardtop

    Jeremy: I’ll be quite upset if Reed Johnson ends up gone… again.

    reed the steed! one of my favourites, before and after the “da-yers meng”. he makes peanuts, and plays his butt off. cubs are actually robbing him blind for his production. (he’s like a 2 a year guy playing for 6 figures). no value whatsoever in trading him, and only a fool like jim hendry would do it, oh wait, jim hendry is our GM, damn. Reed should be our utility OF, if not starter, for several years to come.

  • MichiganGoat

    Here’s a thought; why not keep Carlos Pena? sure, if Fielder, Howard, or a healthy Pujols become available, then show Pena the door.

    If we trade Pena, then it tells me we are absolutely planning to sign Fielder/Pujols. I’m not certain either one of them is a good idea because of what we will have to pay. If Pena continues on this pace and we do not sign a big name I could see us signing him to an extension until the right 1B becomes available or is developed. Regardless next years signing will dictate the makeup of this team for this decade.

  • EQ

    maybe we trade everyone we can (who needs to be traded) and load up with prospects and salary relief and next year we can be major players in free agency and have more pieces to make big trades in the off season.. let’s say a guy like…Felix Hernandez . since we have whiffed on so many good trade possibilities before..

  • ry

    the dazed and confused look of hendry says it all. he will ultimately screw this up too.

    • http://BleacherNation Bric

      That’s just his Elmer Fudd look.
      The thought bubble over his head reads- “Why can’t I twade Sowiano?….”

  • Caleb

    Keep the Reed!!!

  • The Magicman

    If you we keep Pena I won’t be totally mad….unless the Cubs don’t sign any other players. If we can acquire two all stars and some decent players I’m okay with that. If we can dump some of the older, decling players I won’t be mad if we can get a few All stars instead of just one. I know this is unrealistic but why not try to go after B.J. Upton and David Wright. Thats if we can dump some salaries.

  • Robbo

    Grabow is considered trade bait? With that ERA and his salary? Wow sir. I would trade Grabow for a bag of chips. And not even good chips. They can be 2 years expired generic Jewel brand chips.

  • ME1963

    Let’s get Riggleman back today!

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Michigan Goat..totally agree..we should keep Pena..he’s actually doing well and he likes Rudy Jaramillo..i don’t know about saw happened to Derek Lee he’s never been the same!..Prince Fielder isn’t worth the money…we need a 3rd baseman if Ramirez leaves

  • STG3

    If we go with what u want we will have the same F***ing team. Do you like losing?

  • die hard

    Or to see what we have how about after all star break for starters move Ramirez to first…Castro to left field…..La Maheu to 3rd…Campana to center..bring up that Asian minor league SS (name?)…bring up Jackson for right and Colvin to left…trade Pena, Soto, Soriano, Byrd, and Koske …Switch roles of Zambrano and Carpenter…Also switch roles of Wood and Marmol…

    • MichiganGoat

      The shortstop you are thinking of was traded in the Garza deal

      • STG3

        And thank you for bring up that painful memory! I am betting in 5 year it will be known as the Hak Ju Lee trade not the Garza trade.

  • Pingback: Jim Hendry: Don’t Call the Cubs Sellers Yet | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()