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While I wouldn’t quite say the Chicago Cubs have a glut of second base talent, they do have a bit of a log-jam of competitors this Spring. With Darwin Barney the presumed starter, and Jeff Baker locked into a bench job, the Cubs already have two second baseman types on the roster even before they make a decision on Blake DeWitt and Adrian Cardenas. One of the two is expected to make the roster, and DeWitt looks to have the inside track.

Unless, that is, he’s traded.

Today, the Philadelphia Phillies sent second baseman Chase Utley to a specialist to take a look at his troublesome knee. Utley has been extremely quiet about the precise problem, but he has yet to make an appearance this Spring, and GM Ruben Amaro conceded that Utley’s rehab process has “hit a plateau.”

If the problems persist or require major surgery, the Phillies could try to fill Utley’s spot internally by turning to Freddy Galvis. But he’s just 22 and has shown very little in the Minor Leagues to date.

Instead, the Phillies may have to try and pick up a replacement via trade. Buster Olney talked to a rival talent evaluator who suggested that, among other names, the Phillies could go after Blake DeWitt from the Cubs.

DeWitt would make some sense as a short-term fill-in, as would, possibly, Cardenas. Even Baker or Barney could be worth a look if you’re the Phillies, though it’s not clear whether the Cubs would part with Barney (as a starter, his value isn’t particularly high, but I remain of the belief that he could be one of the more valuable bench players in baseball). The Cubs can afford to move one of those four, and not be that much worse for the wear.

With Joe Mather in the fold, it may actually be Baker who makes the most sense to move. With just one year left on his contract, and an ability to platoon with Utley should he return later in the year, Baker might make the most sense for the Phillies, too.

I should add: a move like this would not net the Cubs a particularly sexy prospect. Perhaps a low-level, high-upside type (but one with apparent flaws).

  • MightyBear

    I trade Barney for the right prospects, otherwise no. I guess that’s true of all of the aforementioned.

  • Kyle

    Didn’t Dewitt just clear waivers recently?

    If they want him, I can’t imagine we’d ask for anything in return.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes, he did (were he on waivers today, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Phillies claim him (ditto Cardenas, had they been ahead of the Cubs)). And, no, the return would be unremarkable.

  • gritsngravy

    Dewitt for a box of baseballs.

    • Deer

      1 box of baseballs is a bit ridiculous. It would have to be enough balls to get through an entire pre-game batting practice at least.

  • DocWimsey

    Ugh, I have Utley on my keeper team….

  • cubsin

    Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo should be involved if we make any trade with the Phillies,

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Maybe. But if he can actually help the bullpen anyway…

  • josh

    dewitt for the rights to lendy castillo. and maybe a low a ball prospect with little upside probably gets it done.

    • brittney

      I didn’t even think of that josh. But for the rights to lendy castillo and a young prospect would be nice. Hell I would be fine with just the rights to lendy

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I would *probably* take that as well, assuming Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod are very high on Castillo.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          He’s on the verge of winning a major league bullpen job despite having just 111 innings as a pitcher.  That’s got to be enough to impress them, at least a little.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Oh, I’m quite sure they like him a whole lot (there were “safer” Rule 5 picks they could have made). I just wanted to make sure that caveat was in there (and I still think the Cubs don’t necessarily need to trade for his rights – as you say, he’s on the verge of winning a job in the pen anyway).

  • brittney

    Out of dewitt (who I really like), barney (I love his scrappy style) and baker. I think id rather see baker moved. But yet in intrest of the cubs I think barney would be the better move just so dewitt/baker could platoon and their bats are a little better as well as defense. Maybe we could get a young 3b or pitcher out of it.

  • Noah

    I’d be curious if the Cubs could get anything more significant from the Phillies for Darwin Barney. Not only would he be a good defensive fill in for Utley, but he’d be the Phillies’ best option for a backup SS/2B when Utley returns. On top of that, he’ll just be in his first year of arb in Rollins’ final year of his current contract, if Rollins can no longer handle SS. Amaro’s also not particularly statistically inclined, so he may like a scrappy good defender with contact skills like Barney.

    I’m not saying the Cubs SHOULD trade Barney… I’m just wondering if the Phillies might give more than fair value for Barney.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes, Barney would definitely net more in trade than Baker or DeWitt, if that’s what you’re asking. But, I’m not sure he’d net enough to overcome the lost value to the Cubs over the next four years.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Just a thought maybe we can trade Blake Dewitt/Jeff Baker to the Phillies and coming back sole property of Lendy Castillo. Where we can option him to Double A and not rushing him just a thought

  • hcs

    I was just reading that the Phillies are also looking for a backup catcher. Maybe DeWitt/Baker plus whichever of Clevenger/Beef Wellington isn’t going to make the squad out of spring training for a prospect with a little more upside… Thoughts?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s interesting. But I wonder if the Cubs would rather hold onto both of Clevenger and Castillo so that they can more comfortably shop Soto at mid-season.

  • rcleven

    What the real issue here is what do the Phillies want. Who else is available thru out other MLB teams. They may not be interested in any body the Cubs have to offer.

  • die hard

    maybe time to revisit Castro to 2B and find SS…then Cubs could move any of 3 to Phils unless Barney to SS…I have proposed this before and still cant figure out why Cubs dont try it

  • MichCubFan

    We have no reason to help them out…but if we can get something of more value to us than who we trade than i would definitely look into it.

    The Phillies are definitely going to be hurting. with Utley and Howard being injured so much while eating so much salary, Rollins aging, and a lack of quality backups…they are really going to have to pitch well this season. And then if Hamels leaves next season, they may have a tough couple years. Halladay and Lee are great, but i don’t think they will win the easy if they can only hit like San Fransisco did last year.

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