So here we are at the All Star Break, and both the Cubs and White Sox are about 14 games out, thought the Cubs have the better record.
Both teams are sellers as we approach the deadline for non-waiver deals. Both teams have a few chips. The Sox have Alex Rios and Jake Peavy, both of who they would love to more. The Cubs have Matt Garza, who may be the best available pitcher in baseball, if not for the fact that he is a free agent at the end of the year.
Others could go as well. I've read that the Sox wouldn't mind moving Alexi Ramirez and of course they'd let Adam Dunn go at the drop of a hat, if there was a taker. They've already moved lefty reliever Matt Thornton to the BoSox. The Cubs have already moved Scott Feldman, and I would guess they would consider trading Edwin Jackson for the right amount of prospects. Likewise with David DeJesus, Kevin Gregg, and Nate Schuerholz, if the deals make sense. Like Dunn, the Cubs also would move Soriano provided they don't have to eat every last bite of his contract, and Carlos Marmol.
Here's how I feel about trade deadline deals. There are a couple of reasons to make trades. First, you want salary relief. (See Alfonso Soriano.) Second, you have a young player coming up the ladder who you want to make playing time for. Third, you can get players who likely can help you in the future.
As a Cubs fan, I've seen too many of the "salary dump" types of deals where the players coming back are little more than minor league roster filler, no matter how management tried to spin them. That was a different management team. This year it's different. It seems perhaps the Cubs have people in place who can actually evaluate talent.
Still, I wouldn't trade a guy like Kevin Gregg for nothing. Cash in on him, yes. He's been really good as closer since being signed off the major league scrap heap, and if someone wants to give the team one of those players who can help you in the future, not just minor league filler but a true prospect, by all means deal him. But to trade him for this year's version of Micah Bowie, I don't think I'd do it. First, he doesn't cost much. Second, there is no young player pushing for innings in the closer role. Third, he is helping the team win a few games.
See, I feel these two teams still have an obligation to their fans to try to put a major league quality product on the field. This obligation will continue unless they slash ticket prices to minor league levels or something not much more than that. If someone tells me that they are "building for the future but sacrificing the present", I will tell them that I don't feel I should pay premium prices for an admittedly inferior product, especially one that is inferior by design. I'm all for getting better, but I still don't have to spend my money on bad baseball.
Right now Kevin Gregg makes the Cubs a little better. If they can get a real prospect for him go for it. But don't deal him just to be trading him, and have some B-level prospect come back to the organization in return. I feel the same way about Schuerholz, Scott Hairston and others. They are major leaguers and I'd like to see them stay around.
Unless they bring back real prospects in return, as we all expect Matt Garza to do. Maybe not that quality of prospect, but still - guys with a major league future.
Let's see what happens now...