As July 31st approaches, the teams on both ends of town have some opportunities. For the North-siders, the opportunity to shed some salary and move some players that aren't part of the future has to be explored and taken advantage of if possible. And for the South-siders, they are in first place and there might be a move or two that can put them over the top.
For the Cubs, the players they'd like to move include Ted Lilly (probably the most attractive of their properties), Kosuke Fukudome (it'll take a miracle) and Derrick Lee (should be attractive to some teams). Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano are likely untradable because of their huget contracts. But if someone wanted a DH and was willing to accept a pretty good part of his salary, I believe they'd trade Soriano in a heartbeat. They probably don't, however, want to pay the lion's share of that 18 million a year for the next four years to watch him DH for an AL team.
The Sox could really use a big left handed bat and maybe another starting pitcher, since Peavy is down for the rest of the year. But those LH run producers are few and far between, and will cost a lot in terms of prospects. Adam Dunn and Prince Fielder are the two who are being talked about, and both will likely cost Gordon Beckham and maybe Daniel Hudson.
How about this one? Now I don't claim to know the Sox's prospects like I do the Cubs, but what if they could put something together where the Sox get Lilly and Aramis Ramirez, and the Cubs get Dayan Visciano, the Cuban third baseman, a couple of pitching prospects and maybe a top AA prospect? Ramirez has a player option for 2011, and I believe it is only for one year at about 15 million. There was the thought that he would opt out because he could likely get more for longer, and that's still a possibility, even with his crappy start to the season. He's hitting now, and he plays a pretty good third base. Lilly is a quality middle of the rotation guy who is a free agent after the season.
The Sox get their run producer and an everyday third bagger, even if ARam is not a lefty, and another solid guy for their already very good rotation. And they don't give up either Hudson or Beckham. The Cubs get a guy with some major league experience and a lot of upside in Visciano, who can step in and play third every day, and salary relief.
The Sox would be pretty well set, and Ramirez could also step in and DH when Vizquel plays third, giving them a very potent lineup. The Cubs will likely still try to move Lee for prospects, and will likely continue to try to deal Fukudome and pay a bunch of his salary. The Fukudome move makes sense because he's only signed for one more year, and Colvin NEEDS to play now. So if it were me, I'd pay 7 or 8 million next year to move Fukudome now. Maybe even a bit more.
It will be very interesting to see what plays out in the next few days.