Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Who To Trade

It's pretty obvious that the Cubs need to step up their pitching. The entire rotation is a series of question marks right now. This includes Carlos Zambrano and his shoulder. Until we see him throw two or three starts in a row without showing that weird arm angle that caused Geovany Soto to call out the medical staff, we can’t be sure that Z is healthy.

The names expected to be available have been bandied about in nearly every corner of the media. What hasn’t really been discussed is who to trade away. There always seems to be a guy on a team who is obvious to trade because he fits the following criteria:

He’s playing well right now
He’s young (read: cheap)
He’s got the appearance of upside for his career path.
He’s got some a shortcoming that could be exposed as he continues playing

In 2006, that player was Matt Murton. If he'd been traded then, the Cubs could have gotten back something of value. Today he’s a candidate to be non-tendered as soon as he becomes arbitration eligible.

In 2007, that player was Rich Hill. Statistically, Hill had a good 2007. But there was always something off about him. Then, the final third of the season didn't go so well for him and the playoffs lasted a grand total of one pitch before he was hanging his head and kicking the dirt in despair. Today, Rich is in Arizona trying to find himself, the strike zone, and Rick Ankiel’s coach.

So, who is the 2008 person? It's not Ronny Cedeno or Eric Patterson. Both of them have shown that they are not major league players due to a lack of IQ points. Felix Pie could have been the guy, but, if The Cub Reporter is right (and given Felix's history, there's no reason to believe they are wrong), Felix has a little too much Corey "I deserve it" Patterson in him to have maximum value in a trade right now.

The guy to trade who fits all the criteria is Ryan Theriot. He has the most value right now that he will likely ever have in his career. And he continues to show that there is just something about him (like his getting doubled off Sunday night on the rather common 4-3-6 that started with a lineout) that probably will prevent Ryan from ever being much more than a decent player.

Theriot doesn’t need to be traded, but to get value you have to give up value. You want to see Rich Harden or CC Sabathia here? You’ve got to give up something.

Ryan Theriot should be offered without hesitation as part of a deal for one of those top line players.

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