Cubs still dangling several movable pieces

Carlos Zambrano may be moving up in the standings before the end of the weekend. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

With the Cubs trading Kosuke Fukudome to the Cleveland Indians for a bag of peanuts and Cracker Jacks, while agreeing to pay $4 million of the remaining $4.7 million left on his contract, many believed Cubs GM Jim Hendry would sit on his hands for the rest of the trading deadline. There are still some pieces the Cubs could move, but with everybody under-performing, it is hard to justify giving them anything in return. Here are the players most likely to be moved.

3B Aramis Ramirez — While he recently said he would not waive his no-trade clause, and that he wished to remain with the Cubs, Ramirez softened his stance, admitting that if the team were rebuilding and he realized he weren’t in the plans, “we’ll see.” While he still hopes to stay in Chicago, Ramirez has said there is a possibility he would waive the no-trade clause in August when his family returns to their home in the Dominican Republic. Ramirez is not very likely to be moved right now, but with as hot as he has been hitting, there will be plenty of offers out there.

1B Carlos Pena — Pena has been cold as of late but provides gold-glove defense and a solid power bat from the left side of the plate. The Pittsburgh Pirates are the only team showing real notable interest in Pena right now. ESPN’s Jayson Stark says the interest level on Pena has been greatly exaggerated around the league. The Cubs still have interest in Pena for next season. Pena has said he would like to be with the Cubs next season as well, but for now, the Cubs are going to dangle the worm and see if they can get any decent prospects in return.

P Carlos Zambrano — This one is interesting. Zambrano wants to remain with the Cubs as long as there is change (“we stinks!”). The Yankees allegedly were interested, then they weren’t interested, but either way, Zambrano may be that change. Big Z acknowledged that he may be that change. He already has said he would waive his no-trade clause if the team were to approach him with a trade, because he understands that means the team doesn’t want him anymore. While Zambrano comes with a lot of baggage, he also still has a strong arm and some wicked movement on his pitches. It will be interesting to see if Hendry can swing a deal for Zambrano. According to ESPN’s Jon Heyman, the Cubs have already offered to put up big bucks towards the remainder of Zambrano’s $23.8MM contract that runs through 2012.

OF Alfonso Soriano — Soriano is another complicated case for the Cubs. He has clearly wore out his welcome with the Wrigley faithful and his offense is going about as well as attendence at Wrigley Field. Hendry has said he would put up big bucks towards Soriano’s contract as well if it meant moving the oft-injured outfielders contract and moving forward. Soriano is most attractive to an AL team since his defense is less than enjoyable to watch. He still has some decent pop in his bat, but his legs and glove are lacking, so he is not quite the threat the Cubs thought he was when they offered him a king’s ransom to come to the Windy City.

P John Grabow — Grabow is a name that makes sense for any playoff team looking for a lefty to come out of the bullpen. Due to injury, Grabow was never the shutdown-lefty the Cubs envisioned him to be when they signed him. But decent lefty arms are hard to come by, which makes Grabow more attractive to teams seeking bullpen help, like the Yankees.

While the Cubs have been handcuffed with terrible deals to players like Soriano and Milton Bradley (which became Carlos Silva, which turned into nothing) there is finally, almost, a light at the end of the tunnel. The last two offseasons have been very slow for Cubs fans due to the lack of financial flexibility. Look for things to be very different this coming offseason.

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