The Cubs have been very busy in July, making seven trades already, but they might not be done yet. There are still pieces left on the team, some more certain to leave than others, so let's take a look at what to expect over the next five days leading up to the trade deadline.
The Upcoming Free Agents
Kevin Gregg: After a stunning start to his second stay with the Cubs, Gregg has really struggled of late. That said, he's a virtual certainty to be dealt before the deadline hits. The Braves and Tigers have been mentioned with Gregg and with the recent Jason Grilli injury, the Pirates may start looking at Gregg too.
Dioner Navarro: Certainly not the first name that comes to mind when thinking of Cubs trade candidates, but Navarro has put together an excellent season and is sure to interest contenders in need of catching help. The thing is, scuttlebutt on interested teams is almost non-existent. The Tigers and Yankees are two teams that could use some additional options behind the plate. Some are concerned with who would be the backup catcher, but I don't think the front office is all that concerned with it. Expect Navarro to be on the move, possibly as part of a package, since it's unlikely he brings much back by himself.
Matt Guerrier: Another guy who has flown under the radar a little bit as a pending free agent. Guerrier may have repaired some of his trade value since coming to the Cubs, posting a 2.53 ERA in 10⅔ innings. Again, there are no rumored teams interested, and Guerrier isn't expected to bring much back.
Free Agents After 2014
Nate Schierholtz: Schierholtz seems like a guy who would draw a lot of interest from teams in need of a cheap, lefthanded corner outfield platoon option who can hit and play some solid defense. He's been listed most prominently connected with the Pirates, but don't expect the Cubs to just give Schierholtz away. The Cubs can offer him arbitration following the year and he'd be expected to get a relatively cheap deal, giving them (or the team that trades for him) good value.
David DeJesus: DeJesus has been hurt, but he's been good since he came off of the disabled list, showing few residual effects from his injury. DeJesus has a $6.5 million option for next year ($1.5 million buyout), which doesn't figure to be as good of a deal as Schierholtz's. That being said, he's a veteran presence who seems to play the game exactly the way the Cubs front office envisions. Again, the Cubs aren't going to give him away, so a team is going to have to offer something of significance to take him from the Cubs.
Carlos Villanueva: As teams look to patch rotation holes due to injury, Villanueva could be particularly attractive due to his ability to play the swingman role. Again, no teams have been specifically mentioned, but he could be an intriguing option for teams that want to patch up the back end of their rotation. The Orioles, Indians, Nationals and Rockies are just a few teams that seem to fit that criteria.
Cody Ransom: Ransom has shown some surprising pop this year as the righthanded part of the third base platoon and that's led to some great numbers. Again, we haven't heard any teams rumored with Ransom, but the Yankees seem to have a need at third base too. It's unlikely that Ransom will bring a significant prospect.
2+ Years Of Team Control
James Russell: For a while this year, James Russell looked like he could be the setup man of the future. The issue is that righties have started to hit him again and that's been a problem throughout his career. At this point, the Cubs are using him as more of a left handed specialist. If that's how they seem him going forward, I think the likelihood that he gets moved is very high. The Orioles, Braves, Pirates, Rangers and Diamondbacks are just a few teams that have reportedly kicked the tires on Russell.
Luis Valbuena: Forming the lefthanded side of the Cubs' third base platoon, Valbuena has been a pleasant surprise for his plate discipline and defense. He isn't going to set the world on fire, but he could be a solid left handed hitting option off the bench or as part of a third base platoon for a playoff team. The issue is, the Cubs have three more years of control of Valbuena after this year. Are they really going to get back surplus future value for Valbuena? It sort of seems doubtful, unless they think he's overperforming, so I think it's unlikely he gets moved.
Darwin Barney: How much longer can the Cubs put up with his awful offense in order to get his great defense? Like Valbuena, the Cubs have control over Barney for the next three years, but he's headed to arbitration and will start to cost a bit more. If Logan Watkins had better numbers in Triple-A, this move might be more feasible. But it seems to only make sense if the Cubs are ready to move Valbuena there full-time. A trade of Barney might be a year too early unless someone is willing to give up something of significance to get his glove.
Jeff Samardzija: With the recent flood of pitching into the market, I think it's highly unlikely he goes.
Who stays, who goes?
If I had to guess, I think Gregg and Navarro are almost certainly moved. I think it's very likely that James Russell is gone. And I think there's a pretty good chance that one of Schierholtz/DeJesus is on the way out too.
Teams to keep an eye on
The Pirates have needs at both corner outfielder and bullpen, so there are many Cubs in play as a possible package deal there. The Yankees seem to have a lot of holes that fit the Cubs pieces and they could look to raid the Cubs for cheap options. I think the Royals could look for options under contract for next year, particularly in their outfield, which would put Schierholtz and DeJesus in play. And judging by the last 2 years, you can't count out the Rangers, who may have an outfield need and reportedly have shown interest in James Russell.
So now I throw it to you. Who do you think will be traded? Who do you wish the Cubs would keep? What teams do you think are good fits?