As many of us have realized, this edition of the 2009 Cubs can't really be dramatically changed due to the overabundance of no trade clauses on our team. As I reckon it, Soriano, Lee, Bradley, and Ramirez all have no trade clauses. Given this reality, the only places we could really improve are SS and 2B (we seem set in CF, and there's no real offensive catchers available or that make sense for us as far as I know. As an aside to that, I was at the games in SD last weekend, and boy is Soto's bat speed slow.) . That said, other than Ramirez's eventual return, what you see is probably what you get with our lineup.
The same goes for our pitching staff, though that hasn't really been a weak spot this season: to my knowledge, both Zambrano and Dempster also have NTC's.
Here's my question that I pose to all of you: how normal is this situation where abundant no trade clauses handcuff a team? Is there any team out there with nearly as many NTC players as us? How often is that used as a negotiation tactic in free agency? Is Hendry's doling things out like Halloween candy the main reason we've been able to retain most of our free agents? If this is a common problem for teams, perhaps Hendry isn't as much to blame as we think; if it's an unusual problem, though, Hendry should be run out of town on a rail when the new ownership arrives. I'm curious to all of your thoughts on these things.