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Time for Change? Sure Seems Like It.

By Jay Garneau

Everyone knows the Cubs have underachieved. Everyone knows the offseason moves probably weren't the best decisions. But most importantly, everyone knows the Cubs aren't out of the race yet.

The Cardinals have struck first. This is a quadruple whammy on the Cubs. First, it's just plain devastating to see DeRosa in Cardinal red. The Cubs reportedly had talks about DeRosa, even talking to Cleveland about him, and thus missed out on a potential target. The Cardinals get a potent bat who will improve their team greatly. Lastly, he is a player that frankly should still be producing as a Cub, making it sting even more.

But that's over with, and the Cubs have no control over that now (although...he is a free agent after this season...) Being 3.5 games out, the Cubs need to strike back with their own additions. The Cubs need offense. The production has been dismal nearly the entire season.

The first addition, per-say, is in their own Aramis Ramirez. Getting Ramirez back will add an all star bat into the middle of the lineup, and will essentially feel like the Cubs made a trade. He will fill up a big hole at third base and hopefully bring the essential big bat we all know he has.

I feel that sitting on their hands after ARam is back is definitely not the right move. The Cubs still have a big hole in their lineup, particularly at second base. What options are there? My personal favorite is Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez can do it all. Hitting .317 with 6 HRs, 31 RBIs, 4 steals, and an OPS of .840, Freddy would provide a spark to every aspect of the offense. Another reason Pittsburgh would be a good trading partner is John Grabow. This lefty reliever holds lefties to an OPS of .626 and could add the lefty depth the Cubs have needed all year. This would allow Marshall to return to his regular role of spot starter and long relief.

Other infield possibilities include Washington shortstop Cristian Guzman. This would be dependent on Theriot's willingness to move back to second, but Guzman is hitting over .330, and coming off a recent streak of 7 multi-hit games in a row. Another option is Arizona second baseman Felipe Lopez. Lopez is hitting over .300 with a little pop and a little speed. Think a bit of a lesser version of Sanchez, and switch hitting.

A bigger reach would be outfielder Matt Holliday. Expectedly, his offensive numbers have faltered a bit going from hitter-friendly Coors to the pitching-friendly Coliseum. With some lineup protection and an atmosphere like Wrigley, I believe his numbers would improve significantly. The downside, though, is that he'd probably cost the most of any options, and would be contingent on Soriano's ability to move back to second, which isn't very likely.

Part of the problem is that the Cubs don't really seem to have many pieces to deal with. Most teams will look for nearly-MLB ready pitching. I don't see the Cubs trading either Marshall or Wells, and it should stay this way. Possibilities include prized-possession Jeff Samardzija, who the Cubs will want to avoid dealing at all costs, and other guys like Hart, Ascanio, or Jeff Stevens, who may not be enough to get top-line talent.

Jim Hendry needs to make a move, and quickly. What do I recommend? Try to rob the Pirates again, offering a package like Kevin Hart, Sam Fuld, and a lower level prospect or two for Sanchez and Grabow. Go get 'em, Jim.


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