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MLB Chicago Cubs

Most Valuable Trade Assets for 2013 Chicago Cubs

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Which Chicago Cubs Players May Be Ex-Cubs By July 31?

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Opening Day is just over one month away. Chicago Cubs enthusiasts are eager to watch their team end a World Series drought that has lasted since 1908. They’re eager to witness their first pennant since 1945. They’re eager to see just the second postseason series victory since 1908, the last one coming during the 2003 National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves.

This could be the year? Eh, probably not.

Most fans understand that this team won’t win the National League Central, much less a pennant. The Cubs are expected to win between 70-79 games. That’s assuming that all of their star players remain healthy and everyone contributes at expected levels. 2013 is all about improvements from their young players and development of their talent in the minors.

It’s another season where management will probably trade some of the top veteran assets for whatever prospects they can get. After adding Albert Almora and Jorge Soler to the farm system, look for the Cubs to concentrate on pitching. They got a head start when they acquired two 17-year-old prospects from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Tony Campana.

The July 31 trade deadline isn’t for five months. It’s still worth considering who’d bring back the most in a potential trade. Which players would receive the most interest from mid-season pennant contenders? Which players could help as a starting pitcher, reliever, everyday hitter or as a role player?

Let’s take a brief look at five veterans who are the most valuable trade assets. These are the players who are most likely not staying with this franchise beyond July. They're ranked from least valuable to most valuable.

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No. 5: Scott Baker

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Teams are always looking for quality starting pitching at the trade deadline. If Scott Baker pitches well heading into July, there’s no doubt that the Cubs will try to ship the 31-year-old off for prospects. It all depends on how well Baker recovers from Tommy John surgery that he had in April 2012.

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No. 4: David DeJesus

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

David DeJesus is a quality defensive player who can play any position in the outfield, preferably right field. As a hitter, DeJesus’ value comes from his ability to get on base. In 2012, DeJesus had a .350 on-base percentage (OBP). He has a career .355 OBP.

Reed Johnson was used as a finishing touch to a deal for Arodys Vizcaino. Same thing may happen to DeJesus. A pennant contender will find him useful on their bench and as a defensive substitute during later innings.

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No. 3: Alfonso Soriano

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Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports

Alfonso Soriano is coming off a season when he hit 32 home runs and 108 RBI. It’s unlikely that Soriano reaches those numbers again.

What hurts Soriano’s trade value is that he has a no-trade clause. There are few destinations where he’d accept a trade. In 2012, Soriano declined a trade to the San Francisco Giants, the eventual World Series champion. Furthermore, at age 37, Soriano’s defensive range may convince teams that he’s nothing more than a designated hitter.

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No. 2: Carlos Marmol

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Due to erratic control, Carlos Marmol has been extraordinarily inconsistent throughout his career. This past off-season, it was why management tried to trade Marmol to the Los Angeles Angels.

Pennant contenders aren’t as concerned about what he’ll do in the future as for what he’ll do in the short term. If Marmol pitches well in 2013, a team will add him in their bullpen.

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No. 1: Matt Garza

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to 2012, Matt Garza would bring back the greatest return. Unfortunately, with each and every injury, that trade value is plummeting. Following his elbow and lat injuries, Garza must stay healthy. He can’t afford another red flag on his durability.