A brief review of speculation and reasoning in the blogosphere to date. With a poll!
Cubs will trade Garza at the deadline.
The awful start to the season implies the Cubs are further away from contending than even some pessimists thought. There's no bigger trade chip the Cubs would actually consider trading than Matt Garza. They could get multiple high-ceiling prospects for him, particularly when teams like the Tigers, Red Sox, and Yankees have problems with their pitching staffs. Besides, he's about to get very expensive, and pitchers are fragile (see Pineda, Michael). Someone will overpay.
(opposing viewpoints after the jump)Cubs will not trade Garza.
The new administration likes this guy, and he's only getting better. He is one of very few successful and charismatic veterans on the team. They'll sign him to an extension, they're just staying quiet about it. They felt out the market for him this Winter, and no one was willing to give up a good enough top pitching prospect. That hasn't changed.
Cubs will trade Ryan Dempster by early summer.
Demp said over the Winter that he would approve a trade if it helped the team, because they were loyal to him when he was hurt and later they let him go back to starting, which has earned him more than being a closer and given him more time for his family. He's gone at the end of the year anyway, given his age and the state of the team, so you might as well get something for him. Plus, the Cubs need to know what they have in Volstad, Wood, Wells, and others. The young guys need to pitch, even if they're not as good as Dempster right now.
Cubs will hang onto Dempster for the rest of the season.
He is a great influence on the younger players with his diligent workouts and positive attitude. There has to be some reason for fans to come to the park later in the year, and the fans like Dempster. No, they won't get compensation for him as a free agent, because of the changes in rules, but if he's still healthy, they might even consider signing him to a one-year deal and keep him at the back of the rotation. You wouldn't get much for him in a deal anyway, except some salary relief, and Theo has already taken several steps to reduce payroll, so they're not hurting.
Cubs will unload Randy Wells as soon as he builds value.
He doesn't have great stuff. He doesn't live and breathe baseball the way they want him to. He'll earn a few million next year even if he has a down season. The extra wild card means more teams than ever will be liking their playoff chances come July, and some of them can't afford to add payroll. Why not acquire a young, cheaper, moderately effective starter like Wells? From the Cubs' perspective, he can probably net them one player who will make the majors someday, and doesn't have to be on the 40-man roster this Fall. There's just no room on the team for him anymore.
Cubs will not deal Randy Wells.
(a) He isn't worth much on the trade market OR (b) He's better than all but 2 or 3 of the starters we have, and will buckly down under the new coaches and be decent again.
I'll leave the other possibilities up to you. Please vote in the poll and discuss below!
Which pitcher will the Cubs trade (first) during this season?
Matt Garza (47 votes)
Ryan Dempster (100 votes)
Randy Wells (42 votes)
Kerry Wood (3 votes)
Carlos Marmol (64 votes)
Chris Volstad (11 votes)
Paul Maholm (14 votes)
Shawn Camp (9 votes)
Travis Wood (4 votes)
Rafael Dolis (1 vote)
295 total votes