With the trade deadline coming this Tuesday, rumors involving the Cubs have been floating all over the internet. Names like Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, and Ty Wiggington have all been linked to Chicago. Just speculation here, but as far as I’m concerned, the Cubs most likely to be involved in trades this July would have to be Eric Patterson and Sean Gallagher. These are two solid prospects that appear to be on the cusp of major league-dom who might be considered expendable by the Cubs. With Mike Fontenot having a great deal of success since being called up earlier this season, the Cubs’ brass could see him as a long term solution at the keystone along with Mark DeRosa. This would be a major mistake in my estimation. After a blistering June that saw Fontenot put up a line of .397/.422/.679 (BABIP of .431!), he has predictably slipped in July to the tune of .217/.284/.217, making Fontenot critics (me) look smart. I think if he can hit enough for the rest of the year to have his final line even resemble his current one, that trading him in the offseason while his value is still relatively high would be a good idea. The way I see it, Patterson should be the Cubs starting second baseman starting in 2008 (I wonder how Cub fans would take to having another Patterson on our team), but it would be interesting to see what we could get in return for him. As far as Gallagher goes; I would only include him in a trade for Ken Griffey Jr., who I really don’t think will be moved. As a matter of fact, I don’t even think I would consider dealing for any of the aforementioned players other than Griffey. As much as I like Dunn, I just don’t see where the Cubs could possibly play him. Alfonso Soriano is fully entrenched in left field, and I seriously doubt he could handle right field at Wrigley.
If anybody is wondering, since their return to Iowa, Felix Pie and Geovany Soto have continued to hit. This July, Pie has hit .355/.375/.694 with 6 homers—Soto .426/.509/.745 with 4 homers, including a 3-run homer last night. Felix is currently day-to-day with a minor injury. Soto on the other hand is healthy and raking. Give credit to Kendall for knocking in the tying run in the ninth last night, but I still think that Soto is our best option behind the plate right now. Unfortunately, barring an injury, Soto figures to waste his services at AAA for the rest of the year.
Color me pleased to see both Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton back with the big club. I know there are a lot of Murton doubters who read this page, but as far as I’m concerned anyone is better than Cliff Floyd at this point. I really believe that if we just let Murton play every day he would provide a .300 AVG with a .360-.375 OBP. Baseball Prospectus had him pegged for .304/.365/.476 this season. In his only AB last night he reached on a throwing error, scoring later in the inning. Cedeno has 2 hits in his first 5 ABs, including a clutch RBI single that tied the game in St. Louis. I’d like to see Lou get Ronny in the mix more. Theriot has looked better at short than I expected, but if Cedeno really has figured it out he could provide a big upgrade offensively.
On the other hand, I can’t tell you how unhappy I am to see Rocky Cherry (…seriously? Rocky Cherry?) back on the big club. Lou really seems to have a man crush on this guy. Nevermind he had a 5.55 ERA at AAA prior to his promotion. Simply put, I don’t trust a pitcher who doesn’t trust his fastball—and Cherry certainly does not. Other than the Cubs, the victim of this call-up is Billy Petrick who was sent to Iowa following the loss to St. Louis on Friday in which he was knocked around. Maybe Petrick wasn’t quite ready, but I’m still a big believer in him. He just turned 23, and has put up some impressive numbers in the minors across 3 levels. I think he’ll be a solid reliever for the Cubs in the near future.
As unlikely as it seems, it would be really nice to see the Reds deal one or both of Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn while we’re in town. I sure as hell wouldn’t miss those guys for the rest of the weekend. With that said, we are booked to see the Reds 16 more times after this series, so even if it isn’t while we’re in town, I’d love to see those guys moved to a team not fighting for a playoff spot with the Cubs.