After I rounded up the national reactions to the Chicago Cubs’ decision to do nothing at the trade deadline, going so far as to make a number of tradable pieces untouchable, Grantland’s Jonah Keri put together a list ranking each of the 30 MLB teams’ efforts at the deadline.

Care to take a wild guess who ended up dead last?

30. Chicago Cubs

The period leading up to the trade deadline boils down to a vast exercise of supply and demand. Every team in baseball, from loaded first-place clubs to the worst of the worst, has at least one useful relief pitcher … sometimes two or more. But not every contending team needs a relief pitcher, or has the stomach to give up useful prospects to get one. So we have to be realistic about some sellers’ situations: You can’t sell crap if no one wants your crap, even if it’s pretty good crap. All this means you’re going to read about a lot of teams that stood pat at the deadline. Some will be described with mild irritation, their lack of movement disappointing but somewhat understandable. One or two no-move clubs will actually earn praise for their patience.

The Chicago Cubs fall into exactly neither of those categories. Carlos Pena, Carlos Marmol, Marlon Byrd … Chicago reportedly had multiple opportunities to cash in veterans with little to no keeper value for younger talent. Yet other than the minor trade of Kosuke Fukudome for fringe prospects Abner Abreu (no relation to Bobby) and Carlton Smith (yes, he is related to both of them), the Cubs did nothing. Because being better than the Astros is apparently good enough.

We’re a little over a week past the trade deadline, which has provided plenty of time for these same tradable pieces to clear waivers. But there hasn’t yet been so much as a whisper out of the Cubs’ camp about possible August trades, despite Jim Hendry’s protestations that (paraphrasing) “it doesn’t all have to happen by the July 31 deadline.”

Obviously there is still plenty of time to make a deal, but with each week that passes without a deal, the criticisms that the Cubs faced at the deadline – summed up nicely by Keri’s description and ranking – will only become more crystalized. And more accurate.

  • CubsFanatic

    I really hope Hendry is gone after this. ESPECIALLY if we could have gotten decent prospect in return for the vets.

  • hardtop

    We need an insider, a short skirted secretary perhaps, to get these numerous reports piped directly into Ricketts office. Even better, maybe we can get his wife/life partner to slip headphones on him while he sleeps, pumping subliminal messages into his brain whilst he slumbers. Maybe we should transpose several of these reports onto rolls of toilet paper and place it in the executive shitter.
    Or, maybe he should just grow a brain and get on Bleacher Nation for valuable news and insightful opinions… who needs Gillick when you have Brett and company.

    • Brett

      Ha. To tell you the truth, I would be surprised to learn that no one in the front office and/or no one that has Ricketts’ ear is tapped into fan sentiment in some way. In other words, I’d be surprised if none of those people checks in on sites like Bleacher Nation. That’s not hubris; I’m just saying it would make good business sense.

      • pfk

        I like hubris. Its good on whole wheat bread.

  • BT

    So Byrd and Marmol have no keeper value (Pena is a different story)? That’s asinine beyond words. Yes, the Cubs, if offered something significant, should have considered trading both. But to give them away? Asinine.

    • Brett

      I don’t think he was saying the Cubs should have given Byrd and Marmol away. Those two should have netted younger talent, he said. And, frankly, I am more likely to agree that those two have no keeper value for this team than to disagree (I’m kind of agnostic). Or, I guess I’m saying, I’d rather see those two traded for prospects/savings than kept for the near future (I think both can be replaced).

      • BT

        Byrd and Marmol are in the middle of their contracts. Unless the Cubs were being offered very solid returns for them (which, due to Marmol’s suckage and Byrd’s face breakage I find very hard to believe), there was NO reason for the Cubs to dump them. The Astros traded Pence in the middle of his contract because they were offered a ton, and they are cash strapped. The Cubs are not.

        • Brett

          Byrd has one year left on his deal – which goes up to $6.5 million. Marmol’s salary *dramatically* increases over the next two years ($7 million next year, $9.8(!) million in 2013). If you can’t see why there would be a good reason to move those guys and their contracts if the return was solid (which, again, is the premise upon which I’m going), then we’ll just have to disagree.

          • deej34

            With Marshall a SOLID candidate to close (and MUCH cheaper for a team that will likely NOT go to the series next year) Marmol should be a ranger right now and we should have some solid prospects playing in Iowa.

            And Byrd…? After his “take me with you” and backing Holiday for his assault and battery on Castro… He should be gone too… not to mention are crowded outfield and the prospects ATL would have given up.

            I don’t think some cubs fans (and our GM) realize, teams don’t magically improve over night… you have to build towards it. As this year indicates, we should be building…..

          • BT

            So you believe they would have got a solid return for Byrd and/or Marmol, given the years they’ve had this year? If so, then I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

            Byrd has been hurt and Marmol has been removed as closer for a time. And your point about their salaries rising should just further the idea that the Cubs were not going to get bowled over when teams came calling. I’m not saying they are untouchable. I’m saying I find it very doubtful that they received offers commensurate with what those guys can be worth next year, especially to a team that should have no problem paying those larger salaries.

            • Jeff

              We’ll just agree that you weren’t paying attention during the trade deadline blogathon. The types of prospects and packages that were being thrown around for Byrd and Marmol were more than solid offers. Texas gave up quite a bit for Mike Adams, and Koji Uehara, and I believe those deals were at least a starting point for Marmol. Hendry just quit at the deadline, decided he was going to ride out the year and pull out the meaningless comeback team of the second half award and save his job.

              • Brett

                BT doesn’t believe that the rumored packages for Marmol are legit (which is totally legitimate to question – I would question them, too, because they seemed surprisingly high; though, as you point out, the packages for Adams and Uehara were quite good).

            • MichiganGoat

              Regardless of the value we’d have gotten the important issue is us getting something (and what we would have gotten would have been at a minimum good to decent). The key is keeping the farm system replenished so future trades are possible. Being sellers and trading for prospects is not about the short term immediate gain, it’s about gaining prospect value for future trades when the team needs to be sellers. Getting high ceiling type prospects for veterans that are not part of the future is what being sellers is all about. A recent example of gaining prospects for future trades is trading Derosa for Archer for Garza (although we did over pay but would never have gotten Garza without Archer). So, Hendry is doing the team a disservice if he does nothing in August since it means we go into 2012 with the same farm system we have now, the lack of long-term vision under Hendry is the number on reason he needs to go. He is contantly hanging on to prospects that never materialize or making that one move to fix a larger problem.

        • Mike Foster


          BTW, 10 days and 2+ hours till the beaning of Holliday!!!!!

  • Seth Majewski

    Brett Jackson is tearing it up, in 25 games he has a .297 BA, .393 OBP, and an OPS of 1.008. In only 91 AB he has 27 H. He has 13 RBI, 16 Runs, 6 doubles, and a triple. He also has 7 HR and 3 SB. If the cubs call him up, he better be playing.

  • Seth Majewski

    Brett Jackson’s Stat Line in Triple AAA Iowa, through 25 Games.

    .297 7 16 13 3 27 .393 1.008 6 1

    If the cubs bring him up he better be playing everyday.

  • Seth Majewski

    sorry bout the double post .

    • Brett


  • RY

    Brett, are we anywhere close to signing our first round draft pick?

    • Brett

      No closer or further than most teams. First rounders, especially the high ones, tend to wait until the end – they cluster so that they can use each others’ deals to wring out a few more bucks. I wouldn’t expect to hear about Baez’s signing until the weekend (the deadline is August 15 – next Monday).

  • jim

    “It is what it is”! The CUBS will “never” win!
    Jim Hendry had his chances & failed!
    Quade is a “nice” guy but he is NOT the answer!

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