I don't know about you guys, but I've haven't been this disinterested in a Cubs team since the mid 90's. It might just be continuing resentment over how 2008 ended or the fact that I disagreed with the majority of their moves since then and since most of it's not working, I just feel no connection to the team. But personal feelings aside, the Cubs are 5 games below .500 and 6.5 back in the division and 7 out of the wild card. They could turn it around, of course, but they probably won't. Knowing Jim Hendry and the Cubs desire to sell seats, they'll wait far longer than most of us would like to pull the plug on 2010, but if they do, here are some possible trade partners with my reasoning. I'm sure you guys will have your own ideas.
Derrek Lee & Xavier Nady:
Pretty much all the teams interested in Derrek Lee would probably be interested in Xavier Nady as a cheaper option. Nady has a NTC through June 15th, Lee has one for the rest of the year. I'm sure Lee would rather play for a contender then go down with the sinking Cubs 2010 ship. Before I get into the teams, one obstacle to most of the Cubs trading chips is the rather large sums of money they are owed. But if you're the Cubs and can move Lee or Lilly, why not just offer to pay the bulk of the rest of their 2010 salaries? It's not like that money wasn't already accounted for in the Cubs budget and the Cubs may actually get a decent prospect or two if they're paying the freight. When it comes to Soriano, Fukudome or Ramirez, I can see why the Cubs wouldn't want to pay future years, but maybe offer to pay the rest of 2010 to unload them?
Back to our suitors for Lee and Nady ranked from least likely to most likely.Another part of the puzzle is there are plenty of other potential 1b options available such as Berkman, Branyan, Konerko, etc.
Colorado Rockies: I highly doubt they'd bench Todd Helton, but there is a need there.
Seattle Mariners: More likely they're sellers, but if they make some kind of run in the next few weeks, the AL West is still very much up for grabs and they need offense and plenty of it.
San Francisco Giants: The call-up of Buster Posey probably took them out along with the signing of Pat Burrell. Nady could at least play an outfield position if necessary.
Texas Rangers: They're in the hunt and prospect Justin Smoak is struggling a bit and I think they're done with Chris Davis as an option.
Anaheim Angels: They lost Morales of course, but hope to get him back in September.
Right, who the hell would want him? Well he's cheap and can play 2b or SS and when he does get hot, he has his uses.
Phillies: I see it as more of a utility role and back-up for Jimmy Rollins if he keeps having leg issues.
Mets: I think they just benched Luis Castillo, doubtful though.
Tigers: Adam Everett is their shortstop and the Cubs and Tigers seem to value the same type of players. This is the team that traded for Neifi.
A left-handed starter will always be in demand. Cardinals, Reds, Tigers, Angels, Rangers, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Dodgers to name a few.
Other than him not hitting and no one would want him right now, he also gets his 2012 option guaranteed if he's traded. The Angels have a need at 3b as do the Tigers and the deep pockets to afford his contract if he does start to turn it around.
He hits like a center fielder, but plays right field and has quite a bit owed to him next year. As I suggested earlier, if the Cubs pay for the rest of 2010, maybe someone will take his 2011 contract. Of course, he also needs to waive his NTC and apparently needs his Japanese hitting coach blankie with him at all times to be effective.
Rangers: Cruz keeps going on the DL and Borbon isn't doing much, but they do have David Murphy.
Padres: Doubtful they take on any salary at this point, but don't have much going for them in the outfield and had liked Fukudome when the Cubs signed him, although that was a different GM.
Giants: Rowand is slumping bad and guess it depends if Andres Torres can keep up a mid 800 OPS.
He's hitting, but they'll be worries that he'll slump like 2009 or needs Jamarillo around to hit. I can't think of anyone that would be willing to absorb any of his contract at this point except maybe the Giants.
I'm sure whatever loyalty he felt to the Cubs has evaporated with his trips to the bullpen. Of course, he'll need to pitch well now that he's back in the rotation for anyone to even consider it. Teams will wait out the Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt situations first.
Dodgers, Angels, Tigers, Mets, Nationals
Of course, injuries may befall some pennant hopefuls and that could open up the trade market. Lilly, Lee, Nady and Theriot are the most likely trading chips that the Cubs will move as they have the least amount of future burden for another team.