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Buy or Sell (not the ESPN game)?

By Chris Birge
From the perspective of a fan this has to be one of the more annoying seasons in recent Cubs history. There are seasons it’s obvious a team has “it”, and there are seasons it’s obvious that a team is going to struggle. The problem the Cubs have this season is that, just when it seems unavoidable to write this season off as a struggle, they start doing good things again.
The real problem with that is that the Cubs have to decide on a trading strategy before the trade market heats up. It is very hard for a team to remain neutral in the trade market these days, but even that is an organizational decision. The right thing to do is unclear, but it would seem worthwhile to do an analysis. First of all let’s look at things from the perspective of deciding to sell. The good thing about that is that the team might get one or two good pieces for the future out of these trades, which is more than it seems likely will come out of the current season, should it continue along its present course. There would seem to be one major problem with this strategy. What do the Cubs have that would be useful for somebody this season, but couldn’t be useful to them in future seasons?
Within the National League, first base is an oversaturated position. It doesn’t seem like Derek Lee would be of tremendous value to anyone. Maybe Minnesota could use an extra bat, but that’s the best possibility to be found, and it seems like, if the Twins do make a trade, they would want it to be for a bigger name.
Zambrano has value, but may be a liability to team chemistry. It is unclear where his head is at the moment, and it is still unknown when he might walk away from the game. There is potential for him to be a valuable piece, it just doesn’t seem like many teams would take that sort of chance. Silva could also be valuable, but he would seem to have almost unlimited upside in future seasons.
If the Cubs decide to buy, there are no obvious big names out there that would help with any major problems. The possibility exists of getting Rick Ankiel, but when a former pitcher becomes the offensive savior for a team, that team is in trouble. Having Scott Podsednik on the bench would be an acceptable improvement, if the price was a minor leaguer or middle reliever.
The problem the Cubs appear to have is that they are stuck doing nothing for the moment. There is just enough of a possibility of the Cubs playing just well enough until the middle of July to keep anyone in the organization from really wanting to make a major decision. The fact that the Cubs cannot make a decision at the moment will, in all likelihood, lessen their profits in the trade market, but unless somebody in the organization wants to really stick their neck out and make a long-term strategic decision, doing nothing may be the best of three bad options.


  1. Not much of a baseball fan but you write well. I'll post your link on my FB page.

  2. Cheryl, I'm very curious as to what makes you say. I'm not much of a baseball fan. I went to the Cubs-White Sox game last Friday. I will be going to the Cubs-A's game this Thursday as well. In addition, I will be going to a Cubs game in Colorado at the end of July. What is it about my writing that prompted you to make that comment?