As we enter into July, and, ultimately, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the rumor season is fully upon us (it usually waits until right around the All-Star break, but, with the Cubs buried in last place, it’s coming early this year). So, with that in mind, it’s time to perform a complete rundown of every tradable Chicago Cubs player. (“Tradable” here is “theoretically and realistically tradable” (yes, the Cubs will listen to offers for Starlin Castro if teams really want to make them, but he’s not realistically being traded (ditto guys like Casey Coleman)).)
Below are the names of each player, together with their age and contract situation, their relevant 2012 stats, the Cubs’ desire to trade that player, the possible return in a trade, and the likelihood that a trade actually happens.
The players are listed in positional order alphabetically (i.e., pitchers in alphabetical order first, then catchers, then infielders, then outfielders). All stats are through July 2.
Age and Contract: 36, signed for one year at essentially the minimum.
Stats: 2.93 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 43 innings. 33 K, 10 BB.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: High. Why not, right? He’s a free agent at the end of the year, and came to the Cubs on a minor league deal. If you can deal him, great. And his numbers are excellent, by the way.
Possible Return: The money isn’t an issue, and Camp’s performance, both this year, and in recent years, do make him valuable. But he’s an aging, righty reliever, and a mere rental. “Valuable,” therefore, is a relative term. The Cubs might be able to squeeze a prospect in the 15 to 20 range in an average system. Though I think they’d more likely see maybe a young, decent upside prospect … but not one with much of a chance to reach that upside.
Likelihood of Trade: Medium. Camp has no value to the Cubs going forward, and, as he’s demonstrated, he could be a solid middle reliever for a playoff-bound team. These are the kinds of guys that tend to move.
Age and Contract: 29, signed for one year at essentially the minimum. He doesn’t have the service time for free agency, though, and could be under control via arbitration through 2013.
Stats: 1.64 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 11 innings. 8 Ks, 5 BBs.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Just under “High.” Why is Corpas not “high” like Camp? Well, unlike Camp, Corpas wouldn’t be a free agent after the year (he’s arbitration-eligible) if the Cubs wanted to keep him.
Possible Return: Probably even less than Camp. Corpas is younger and has better stats right now, but Camp is a slightly more proven (in recent years) righty. Whatever “prospect” the Cubs might receive probably wouldn’t crack the system’s top 30.
Likelihood of Trade: Low to Medium. Like Camp, Corpas has some value to the right team. But, unlike Camp, Corpas is coming off major arm surgery. He didn’t even make the Cubs out of Spring Training – how could a team with playoff aspirations trust what they were getting?
Age and Contract: 35, signed through this year for $14 million.
Stats: 2.11 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 81 innings. 66 K, 22 BB.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: High. Dempster is an impending free agent, and is not likely to be back next year (unless they can get him on a team-friendly deal (which they might be able to do (assuming he was willing to come back after being traded, which is extremely rare (but Dempster might be the exception, given his connection to both the Cubs and Chicago)))).
Possible Return: This is the real test for the new CBA. Dempster is a mere rental, and a trading team could not reap draft pick compensation if Dempster walks after the rental. But, at the same time, how many sellers are there right now? Seven? Eight? How many front-end starters are available on the trade market besides Dempster and Garza? Zack Greinke? Maybe. Cole Hamels? Maybe. Neither is certain to be made available (and would cost quite a bit more than Dempster, even though you might get the same performance from Dempster). So, given those conflicting inputs, it’s hard to peg Dempster’s value in trade. I’d think a prospect in the 5 to 10 range in an average system, plus another throw-in, would be a good return if the Cubs could get it. I also happen to think that’s about what they’ll get, with some play at the margins depending on how much cash the Cubs kick in. Getting a top 100 overall prospect would be a coup.
Likelihood of Trade: High. Dempster has no-trade rights, but he’s essentially told the Cubs he’ll accept a trade to a contender, as long as (1) it helps the Cubs long-term, and (2) he has some input on where he goes. Assuming he comes back healthy from his lat injury – and there are no real reasons to be worried – the Cubs will be able to satisfy those two conditions, and Dempster will be dealt. As a free agent at the end of the year, the Cubs could theoretically keep him, and make him a “qualifying offer” (around $12 million for one year) to try and get draft pick compensation, but taking that approach is risky (Dempster could accept) when you’ve likely got decent offers on the table now. I just don’t see the Cubs risking it.
Age and Contract: 29, under control through 2013. Makes $9.5 million this year, and will make approximately $11.5 to $12.5 million in 2013 (arbitration).
Stats: 4.01 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 89.2 innings. 80 K, 26 BB.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Medium. Because he’s under control through 2013, is still on the right side of 30, and is a core part of both the rotation and the clubhouse, I don’t see any reason that the Cubs would feel like they have to trade Garza. But, at the same time, he’s easily their most valuable realistic trade piece. For an organization that needs to stock up on young talent, that’s a hard thing to hold onto in July. I’m sure it was hard to hold onto in January, too.
Possible Return: The Cubs aren’t going to trade Garza for less than a package that includes a couple top, high upside, near-MLB-ready prospects, plus maybe a couple lesser, younger prospects. If the Cubs pull the trigger and there aren’t two top 100 overall prospects in the package, I’ll be shocked (unless the deal is with a team that doesn’t quite have two prospects in the top 100, and they throw in a whole mess of top 200 types).
Likelihood of Trade: Medium to High. Unless the Cubs work out an extension with Garza in the next few weeks (seems unlikely given the perceived lack of interest right now), it’s very hard to see them refusing to cash in on Garza’s value right now. Yes, he’s under control through 2013, but do the Cubs really want to go into the offseason knowing they either have to pony up an extend Garza, or trade him for far less value?
Age and Contract: 30, signed through this year for $4.25 million (plus a $6.5 million team option for 2013, with a $500K buyout).
Stats: 4.84 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 83.2 innings. 55 K, 26 BB.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Medium. Unless Maholm really heats up, I’m not sure I see the Cubs picking up his option for 2013. So, you’ve got another guy who isn’t really in the Cubs’ plans for 2013 beyond being a fall-back option. If another team really wants him, the Cubs will be happy to oblige.
Possible Return: Maholm is on a very reasonable contract, and I doubt money would be an issue. The Cubs could even be willing to kick in a couple million to take this from a “meh” prospect to a kid or two in the 10 to 20 range in an average system.
Likelihood of Trade: Low to Medium. Maholm has some value, but, if you’re a playoff contender, are you really all that psyched about making a deal for Maholm? It takes two to tango, and Maholm will have to have a couple more starts like his dominant last one against the Astros to get teams thinking he would really improve their rotation in the second half and in the playoffs. Obviously with injuries, though, you never know who might get desperate.
Age and Contract: 29, signed through 2013, making $7 million this year, and $9.8 million in 2013.
Stats: 4.94 ERA and 1.82 WHIP in 23.2 innings. 30 K, 25 BB. 80% save percentage.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Very High. Marmol is not in the Cubs’ future plans, and they’d be thrilled to be rid of his contract.
Possible Return: A few million in salary relief. I can’t see Marmol netting a top 10 organizational prospect, even if the Cubs eat a healthy chunk of his remaining dollars. Instead, I think the Cubs will be lucky to be able to trade him at all.
Likelihood of Trade: Low to Medium. From the Cubs’ perspective, obviously, they want to pull a trigger. And with each additional appearance where Marmol looks good (genuinely, he’s looked good over the last couple weeks), the chance they can find a taker (not a “buyer”) increases. If all the Cubs want is a fringe prospect and a few million bucks, I think they could make this happen. Thing is, I’m not convinced there’s a team out there that feels good enough about Marmol to make that offer.
Age and Contract: 26, under control through 2015. Makes essentially the minimum this year, and is likely to be first-time arbitration-eligible in 2013.
Stats: 2.39 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 37.2 innings. 30 K, 14 BB.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low to Medium. The Cubs would be plenty happy to hang onto a young, effective, cost-controlled lefty reliever. But, for all those same reasons, Russell has a fair bit of trade value.
Possible Return: Russell feels more like a piece that you include with a trade with another player to make the return excellent, instead of just merely good. If he were traded on his own, though, I can’t see it being for less than a top 5 to 10 prospect in an average system. Why would you trade him for less?
Likelihood of Trade: Low to Medium. Teams will ask about Russell, and, although I’m not sure the Cubs would trade him straight up (unless it’s for a very good starting pitching prospect, perhaps), I could see them bundling him in a deal with a bat or a starting pitcher to really put the return over the top. I think the Cubs would like to keep Russell around, though.
Age and Contract: 25, under control through 2014. Makes $2.655 million this year, and will get a slight bump the next two years, depending on performance (arbitration).
Stats: 7.46 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 41 innings. 24 K, 15 BB.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low. I think the Cubs, all things considered, would much rather he put it together this year (as a 25-year-old), and settled in as a back-end option over the next couple years.
Possible Return: No better than Carlos Zambrano, right? Given his performance this year, and slide over the past few years, I’m not sure Volstad has much value at all.
Likelihood of Trade: Very low. I can’t see a team with a rotation void looking to add someone as unpredictable as Volstad for their stretch run, and I can’t see the Cubs looking to dump Volstad for nothing when they still don’t know what they have.
Age and Contract: Turns 30 in August, under control through 2014. Makes $2.705 million this year, and will get a slight bump the next two years, depending on performance (arbitration).
Stats: 5.34 ERA and 2.06 WHIP in 28.2 innings. 14 K, 24 BB.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Medium to High. Although he’s under control for two more years, I’m not sure the Cubs see him as a staple in the rotation the next time the team is competitive. If he’s got value, deal him.
Possible Return: Ah, but there’s the rub, eh? It’s hard to say Wells, who’s been up and down to the minors twice already this year, has any trade value. His $2.7 million salary, totally modest, is still enough to have scared off any teams from claiming him when he went on waivers last week. If the Cubs eat all of his remaining salary for the year, they could find a taker, but it’s hard to see them getting anything more than one of those 25-year-old AA relief “prospects” in return. That’s how amazingly far Wells’ stock has fallen.
Likelihood of Trade: Low to Medium. Again, from the Cubs’ perspective, they’re not itching to hang onto him. But why would a contending team want to take a chance and give valuable starts to Wells? Maybe if the Blue Jays remain both desperate and miserly.
Age and Contract: 29, under control through 2013. Makes $4.3 million this year, and will make approximately $5.5 to $6 million in 2013 (arbitration).
Stats: .168/.257/.328, with a .684 OPS since returning from knee surgery.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: High. I don’t buy that the Cubs are interested in seeing Soto stick with the club long-term, and if he shows he’s at least half-way back to where he was a couple years ago, his value will be high enough that the Cubs will bite.
Possible Return: *IF* Soto keeps hitting over the next few weeks, I could see him regaining enough value, especially at a defensive spot where teams are desperate for even the mere chance of offensive production, that the Cubs could get a prospect in a team’s top 10, and then maybe another top 25 guy.
Likelihood of Trade: Medium. With Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo around, and Clevenger kinda-sorta-maybe showing that he could be a big league regular catcher (and every scout everywhere still convinced that Castillo can be one), I think the Cubs will be shopping Soto aggressively. If there’s interest, the Cubs will probably move him, even if they don’t get absolute maximum dollar in return. They’re not going to dump him for scraps, mind you. I’m just saying, there’s probably enough urgency on the Cubs’ part to call this “Medium.”
Age and Contract: 31, signed through this season for $1.375 million.
Stats: .242/.290/.352, and, um, he usually hits lefties well.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: High. Baker is a free agent at the end of this year, and highly unlikely to return. No reason to keep him around for the second half, lovely as he might be.
Possible Return: Fully salary relief and a young, minor league player you can only barely call a prospect. Think 25, in AA, with a high K rate, but an equally high BB rate, and an ERA that’s never cracked the good side of 4.00.
Likelihood of Trade: Medium. Although the Cubs would be happy to dump a free-agent-to-be who doesn’t figure into their future plans, Baker’s desirability is much lower this year than it was last year, thanks to the offensive struggles. And, in Baker’s case, lowered desirability doesn’t just mean a reduced return, it means it might not be possible to deal him at all.
Age and Contract: 26, under control through 2016. Makes essentially the minimum this year, and is likely to be first-time arbitration-eligible in 2014.
Stats: .265/.310/.371, with 21 extra-base hits.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low. Barney is emerging as a Gold Glove-caliber, average bat at second base. He’s young enough, and cost-controlled enough that he could be an inexpensive part of the team when they’re ready to be competitive.
Possible Return: As usual, when you say glowing things about a guy and why you want to keep him, those are the very same reasons he has value in trade. Barney is probably more valuable to the Cubs than to most other teams, though, except those who view him as a shortstop. To one of those teams, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be worth a top 10 organizational prospect, and a top 25 guy, too. Even then, I’m not sure it’s worth it to make a deal. In fact, the only way the Cubs might get an appropriate return on Barney is if he’s dealt in a package with, for example, a Matt Garza, and the Cubs net three top 100 types instead of the two they might have gotten with Garza alone.
Likelihood of Trade: Low. As I said, it is going to be hard to get the appropriate value for Barney, because many teams view him merely as a utility player (I certainly did for a long time). There is no one standing by ready to replace Barney in the system (though I suppose Luis Valbuena could slide over from third … but then who plays third? Josh Vitters? He’s not ready.), and there probably won’t be for a couple years.
Age and Contract: 27, under control through 2014. Makes $2.24 million this year, and will get a slight bump the next two years, depending on performance (arbitration).
Stats: Doesn’t matter.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Doesn’t matter.
Possible Return: Doesn’t matter.
Likelihood of Trade: Not happening. With Stewart undergoing wrist surgery that could end his season, he won’t be traded.
Age and Contract: 26, under control through 2015. Makes essentially the minimum this year, and is likely to be first-time arbitration-eligible in 2013.
Stats: .246/.283/.509, with 9 extra-base hits in just 57 at bats.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Medium. There isn’t a whole lot to go on as far as track record this year, but Valbuena has certainly been serviceable as a fill-in at third. If a team really wants him, though, I’m sure the Cubs wouldn’t be too hostile to making a move. They did get Valbuena off of waivers, after all.
Possible Return: Not much. Valbuena has value in the sense that he’s probably worth a roster spot on 10 to 15 teams, but guys like that aren’t worth much of anything in trade – primarily because most teams have a guy like that at AAA right now.
Likelihood of Trade: Low. The Cubs would deal him, but it’s hard to see a team out there thinking to themselves, “You know the guy we really need? Luis Valbuena.” The other thing, and this is a much smaller thing, is that the Cubs might like to have Valbuena at third for the rest of the season now that Ian Stewart is having surgery. I’m sure they don’t want to be put in a position to rush Josh Vitters.
Age and Contract: 26, under control through 2017. Makes essentially the minimum this year, and is likely to be first-time arbitration-eligible in 2015.
Stats: .267/.304/.300, 25 SB, just 3 CS.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low. Campana is young enough and cheap enough that he could be a part of the Cubs’ bench for years to come.
Possible Return: A top 15 or 20 prospect in an average system? It depends a bit on how teams view Campana’s speed. He can’t get on base enough to be a regular, but he’s an incredible weapon to have at the end of the bench on the right team. And in the playoffs? He’d be incredibly valuable.
Likelihood of Trade: Low. Given that value, though, would the Cubs really go out of their way to trade him? He’s not costing them anything but a roster spot right now, and it remains conceivable (although very unlikely) that Campana could become a starting-caliber center fielder. Why give that up for a mediocre prospect?
Age and Contract: 32, signed through 2013. Makes $4.25 million this year, and $4.25 million in 2013. Team option at $6.5 million for 2014, with a $1.5 million buyout.
Stats: .269/.362/.391, 37 runs, 30 BB.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low. Although DeJesus isn’t young, I get the sense that the Cubs really like having him as a model for the young players coming up. He’s a positive guy, a hard-working, and has the right approach at the plate. He’s on a reasonable contract, and he could hold down one of the outfield spots through next year as the Cubs get younger and younger.
Possible Return: With a reasonable contract, good defense, and decent on-base skills, DeJesus has value. Top 100 prospect value? No. Top 10 in an average farm system? Eh. Maybe at the back end. More likely he could net a couple top 15 to 20 types. Is that worth it?
Likelihood of Trade: Low. I’m not sure there’s going to be enough demand for DeJesus to justify trading him. So, is it worth it? Nah. Probably not.
Age and Contract: 36, signed through this year at $1.15 million.
Stats: .279/.338/.412, slugging .438 against lefties.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: High. As with many of the complementary pieces, Johnson is a great clubhouse presence, and a fine bench player, but he’s not of huge import to a team without playoff aspirations in 2012.
Possible Return: Full salary relief, and a C prospect. The Cubs aren’t going to get anyone sexy for Reed Johnson, but a future middle reliever type is theoretically possible.
Likelihood of Trade: Medium. From the Cubs’ perspective – as with many players – they’d be happy to make a deal. But there has to be interest first, and there hasn’t been a whole lot surrounding Johnson. He’s playing well enough this year to interest some teams, but he’s not the kind of impact player who’s guaranteed to generate an acceptable trade offer. Still feels like there’s gotta be a playoff contender out there that would like to solidify its bench with a versatile outfielder who can hit decently well, and definitely adds something positive to the clubhouse.
Age and Contract: 29, under control through 2015. Makes essentially the minimum this year, and is likely to be first-time arbitration-eligible in 2015.
Stats: .284/.362/.521, 13 homers, 28 RBI, 1 All-Star bid.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low to Medium. LaHair is 29, which is a bit old for the Cubs’ projected core during their next competitive phase, but he’s also extremely cost-controlled. He’s blocked out of his usual first base spot, but, so far, he’s played a capable right field.
Possible Return: This has always been the question with LaHair. He was scorching hot to start the year, and has come down considerably since then, which would seem to reinforce the fears taking away from his value in the first place. Namely, that he was a mirage. Sure, he’s cheap, but if he’s not really this masher, then he doesn’t have much value. He probably wouldn’t net a top 100 prospect anymore, but I’m not sure I’d be interested in the Cubs trading him for too much less.
Likelihood of Trade: Medium. Despite the valuation problem, and despite LaHair’s obvious value to the Cubs, he still feels like a square peg in a round hole. He’s not going back to first base any time soon, now that Anthony Rizzo has arrived. He’s not a natural right fielder, and I’m not sure how long-term they want to keep him there, with a plethora of outfield prospects on the way (including Brett Jackson by next year). I could see the Cubs willing to part with LaHair.
Age and Contract: Turns 30 in July, signed through this year at essentially the minimum. He doesn’t have the service time for free agency, though, and could be under control via arbitration through 2016.
Stats: .238/.299/.389, .728 OPS against lefties.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Medium to High. While he’s a guy who could be under team control for a while, he’s also a guy who’s bounced around as a minor league free agent for some time, mostly for good reason. He’s versatile, but his bat is weak. If the Cubs could move him, they’d be fine with it.
Possible Return: Nothing of particular note. Maybe the fringiest of fringe prospects.
Likelihood of Trade: Low. If you were running a team desperately trying to make the playoffs, would you look to add Mather? Maybe if you were desperate for a versatile, light-hitting bench bat, but how often does that happen?
Age and Contract: 36, signed through 2014. Makes $18 million this year, and $18 million in each of 2013 and 2014.
Stats: .269/.327/.487, 15 homers, 46 RBI. Crazy hot since start of May.
Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Very high. Soriano doesn’t figure into the Cubs’ long-term plans, and, although he isn’t blocking anyone at the moment, come 2013, he will be.
Possible Return: $5 to $10 million in salary relief, and a young player or two you can only barely call a “prospect.” The Cubs could also take on a crappy contract, but I’m sure they’d prefer not to.
Likelihood of Trade: Medium. The Cubs would love to unload Soriano, and are willing to eat the cash to make it happen, but there just haven’t been many bites of interest despite Soriano’s great season. I can’t say the odds of a deal are better than 50/50.