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Cubs Mon Jul 25 2011

Cubs Deadline Moves: Who's Staying, Who's Going?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for cubs.gifThere is little doubt that as the trade deadline approaches the Cubs will be sellers. There are a number of questions surrounding this club as they move forward. A number of big money contracts will be coming off the books this offseason, led by Kosuke Fukudome, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena.

Freeing up money will be a huge plus for this team moving forward as they are hampered by a handful of contracts. The only question remaining is who will be here after the trade deadline and who won't?

Interest in Cubs players have grown over the past weeks as the Cubs have sunk deeper under .500. Here are a few names I think it is safe to say will be here after the trade deadline.

Kerry Wood returned to Chicago this season and it is likely he'll be staying here because he has talked publicly about his family's deep roots here. Wood would be a nice addition to any contending team's bullpen, but it is unlikely he'll waive his no-trade clause.

Carlos Zambrano is another player I don't expect to be traded. Many have clamored for Zambrano to be dealt after a handful of outbursts and tirades. I would've agreed with trading him in years past, but now Z appears to have turned a corner. While his numbers aren't spectacular, that's due in large part to a few blown saves. His record would be a lot better. Trading Z isn't a necessity at this point. He seems to have finally figured it out and should play a role in future.

There are few on the fence guys such as Ramirez, Pena and Alfonso Soriano that could be traded if the right deal came along. However, Ramirez has flat out said he will not waive his no-trade clause. I believe the Cubs would be foolish to trade him anyway, considering there isn't a definitive option at the minor-league level to replace him.

Sure, Josh Vitters was initially expected to be the next great Cubs third baseman, but he's batting .188 at the Double-A level. I say keep Ramirez until someone is absolutely ready to replace him because I guarantee third base will become a revolving door again if Ramirez is traded.

The same can be said for Pena. Financially, it might make sense to cut ties with Pena at the end of the year, however, like third base, first base appears to be void of any obvious replacement for next season. Pena should be retained for his defense and the way he goes about playing the game.

I just don't see the Cubs going after Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols this offseason after they've been clamoring to get rid of big money contracts. Staying in-house with Pena would make sense. The only question is would he take less money to stay?

The toughest of all to move would be Soriano, who is owed a boatload of money, but the Cubs have stated they would be willing to eat a majority of that contract in order to move forward. If they can get someone to take him, then by all means go for it.

Out of all the players discussed, Fukudome appears to be the ideal candidate to be moved. It is the final year of his deal and the Cubs don't appear poised to resign him after this year. There are several teams that could use a decent left-handed-hitting outfielder. Cleveland has been linked to Fukudome since Shin-Soo Choo went down with a thumb injury.

The trade deadline will be here Sunday and it will be interesting to see what this Cubs team looks like the next day. Almost everyone not named Starlin Castro could have a new logo across his chest. Whatever happens, Cubs fans can only hope that if any big deals are made that Jim Hendry and company will get something of value in return.

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