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Deadline Fever

By Garrett Monaghan

With Roy Halladay rumors swirling, and a number of not-quite-blockbuster deals already done, Deadline Fever seems to be in full swing. The Brewers have bolstered their offense with Felipe Lopez, and the Pirates continued their annual fire sale today by sending Adam LaRoche to the Red Sox. Milwaukee has been rumored to be interested in either Roy Hallady or Cliff Lee, but it remains to be seen if they have the prospects necessary to acquire either one. The Cardinals, with a shaky hold on the division lead, appear to be done dealing after acquiring Mark DeRosa; although you never know what St. Louis is going to do.

With a shabby farm system and no clear indications of what's going to happen with the ownership situation, the Cubs don't appear to be major players in the trade market this year. Half of baseball is still in the running for the playoffs, and the Cubs are looking for the same things as everyone else in the form of a power bat and a left-handed reliever. To make matters worse, the Cubs are saddled with so many bad contracts at so many positions, they don't have one obvious position that they'll be able to upgrade without adding a substantial amount of salary.

That said, there are still a couple of budget deals the Cubs might be able to pull off. Toronto is apparently willing to part with Marco Scutaro for the right price, and the Cubs could potentially be interested in his .384 OBP and relatively cheap price tag. Scutaro isn't going to inspire fear in opposing pitchers, but he could give the Cubs more of a boost at the top of the order.

The A's are apparently shopping Adam Kennedy and Justin Duchscherer; and while Duchscherer is coming off an arm injury, this could be an interesting potential deal for the Cubs. When healthy, Duchscherer can be dominant either out of the bullpen or as a starter. Kennedy, like Scutaro, isn't going to scare anyone; but he hits left-handed and for a decent average. If the Cubs could get these two guys without breaking the bank, it could provide a little more consistent pop from second base and a potentially dominating arm. Jim Hendry and Billy Beane have done business together before (Rich Harden) and we might see another deal as the trading deadline wind down.

Mark Teahen from Kansas City could potentially be another fit for the Cubs. He's left-handed, and can play the corners in both the infield and outfield. Teahen isn't a major power threat or particularly patient, but he plays in a pitcher's park and hits in the middle of one of baseball's worst offenses; so it's not much of a stretch to imagine his numbers improving with a move to Wrigley. If the Cubs can get him cheap, he could be reasonably useful.

The Pirates are obviously hunting for buyers for Freddy Sanchez, and he'd be a good fit with the Cubs, but I can't see this deal happening. Sanchez might be making more money than the Cubs feel they can take on right now. More to the point, dealing Sanchez to a divisional rival is probably the fastest way for Pirates' GM Neal Huntington to find himself faced with an angry mob carrying torches and pitchforks and screaming for his head.

Finding a lefty reliever is probably going to be next to impossible for the Cubs, and I'm not entirely convinced they really need another one, anyway. They'd be better off finding a replacement for Aaron Heilmann or a swing man who can make a spot start or two down the stretch and let the veterans rest.


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