By Daniel Schmelzer @D_Schmelzer on April 12, 2014
Considering they are unlikely to be competitive this season, the Chicago Cubs will probably, once again, be sellers before the trade deadline. Continuing to acquiring young, impact talent is the top goal for this franchise at the moment, and selling high on veterans is a great way to do just that. I think they would listen to offers for any player on their roster, but here are seven players who are certainly on the trade block.
Former Gold Glove winner Darwin Barney is an incredible defender at second base, who has the ability to handle the shortstop position as well. Barney is a light hitting middle infielder with little offensive upside. That said, he could be a solid backup infielder for a team that could hide his bat better than the Cubs can.
His control is inconsistent at best, but Cubs closer Jose Veras has impressive stuff that could be intriguing to teams looking to add a bullpen arm. The Cubs have some impressive young power arms like Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm and Hector Rendon who could easily fill Veras' role, making him expendable in a trade for future assets.
There are always teams looking to add left handed pitching. James Russell is a very consistent bullpen arm, and one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball. There will certainly be teams looking for a lefty specialist out of the bullpen, and Russell will likely be the best one on the market.
Jason Hammel has been very good in his first two starts with the Cubs this season. If he keeps pitching well, he could be a solid and cheap, end of the rotation target for a team looking to add to their rotation. Hammel's long-term value is questionable at best, making him easily expendable for the Cubs.
While the overall talent is lacking, the Cubs have great depth in the outfield. Eventually this season, they will want to give guys like Junior Lake, Ryan Kalish and even Josh Vitters longer looks, making veteran outfielders expendable. Justin Ruggiano is very good against LHP, and while I wouldn't expect too much of a return, he would be a great bench addition for a contending team.
With their depth in the outfield, Nate Schierholtz is another player who appears to be on the block, as his name has been mentioned in trade rumors since last season. Schierholtz is a solid contact hitter with some pop. He could be a cheap get for a team look for a left-handed hitting outfielder.
Because the two sides seem to be far apart on an extension, Jeff Samardzija will likely become a free agent after the 2015 season. The Cubs' front office is too smart to let Samardzija walk away for nothing, so I expect him to be dealt before the deadline. While he is a bit inconsistent and unproven, Samardzija has obvious pitching talent and enormous upside, and would be a welcomed addition to any rotation.
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