Bruce Levine’s 5 most likely to be traded, yo

Happy Breaking Bad Day … bitch!

After xoomwaffle posted this link to Levine’s article earlier today I started writing something and then lost interest about a half sentence in. That’s been happening a lot lately. I started writing something yesterday and lost interest about 3 paragraphs in. A few days ago I began writing something where I was comparing Starlin Castro to similar players his age since 1901. After a few paragraphs I saved it and haven’t gotten around to it. Thanks to Aisle 424 this site has still been regularly updated.

I have a serious problem when it comes to writing about the Cubs anymore. I stopped paying attention the Cubs in 2010 about the middle of May. I watched a few games here and there, but mostly just because I didn’t have anything else to do. I’d never had less interest in the Cubs in my life. Even when they had really shitty teams I’d still watch almost all their games. There were reasons to watch.

Those shitty teams had greats like Bruce Sutter. My first memories of watching the Cubs are from the 1979 and 1980 seasons. There have been many other greats along the way to watch. I wish I had seen the eary part of Rick Reuschel’s career, but I remember him being my favorite player in the early 80s. There was also Lee Smith. There was of course Ryne Sandberg and later Greg Maddux. In 1992 the Cubs had a young Sammy Sosa while also having Ryne Sandberg, Greg Maddux and even Mark Grace. I was never a big Grace fan, but there’s no denying that he was a very good ballplayer.

Then they had Sosa and Kerry Wood in the late 90s, early 2000s. Mark Prior came along. Carlos Zambrano did too. The Cubs have always had a star player for as long as I’ve been a fan. Even before I was a fan they had star players and were still a bad tea. The point is that there was always a reason to watch the Cubs. That changed a few years ago.

As great as the 2008 season was, it was the first season I remember when the Cubs didn’t have a star quality player on their roster. They had several very good players and that was the most enjoyable Cubs season in my life, but Zambrano had passed his prime already. Geovany Soto was young and had a huge season. Zambrano has only deteriorated, Soriano is a shell of his former self and Geovany Soto’s promising start was never fully realized.

Starlin Castro came long last season and certainly his future is bright, but he’s not a star. He’s fun to watch and has been the only reason to watch this horrible franchise play a game they are inept at over the last couple seasons. To give you an idea how bad that is, Castro has been slightly worse than average at the plate and is terrible on defense. A guy who has essentially been a league average player by one type of WAR and well below average by another type has been the only reason to watch this team.

That’s what this team has become. Along with the star players, my interest in how this team performs is gone. I do hope they can put together some kind of plan to become a better franchise, but I actually don’t care either way. This franchise has rarely been one worth watching because of the overall product on the field. What they sold to us was that we could watch a star or two play on a regular basis. That’s gone. None are coming up through the farm system either. There are a few players who might make decent complimentary ballplayers, but none are stars. Sure, I’ll enjoy watching Brett Jackson or even Ryan Flaherty play for awhile, but their skills aren’t going to overwhelm anyone so they’ll fit right in with the rest of this team.

There’s no doubt that Cubs fans want the team to be better in just about every way possible, but there’s also little doubt in my mind that Cubs fans actually give a shit one way or the other. I know I don’t. I find it very hard to believe that someone who actually cares that much would root for this team. So there has to be something else to entertain us. There has to be something that draws us in and gives us a reason to watch. Based on attendance and what I’m sure are very low ratings on tv compared to recent years, people just don’t give a shit about this team.

The one thing I am somewhat interested in is who the Cubs may trade and who they may get in return, which finally brings me back to the point of this article.  In recent days we’ve heard everyone from Jeff Baker to Tony Campana were untouchable. I’m joking about the last one and don’t actually care about the Cubs having no interest in trading Baker. It seems kind of silly to say you’re not going to, but the reality is that Baker is likely more valuable to the Cubs now and in the next few years than he is in a trade.

Levine names Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Pena, Marlon Byrd and John Grabow as the 5 most likely to be traded.

Levine clarifies Ramirez’s contract and says there is no clause that makes 2012 guaranteed. He’s paid $1 million if traded. Ramirez has previous said he had no interest in being traded, but it’s always hard for me to believe that an MLB player would decline a trade to a contender. Ramirez is owed enough money this season that the Cubs return would likely be very little.

The same is true with Kosuke Fukudome and Carlos Pena. John Grabow is owed about $2 million the rest of the way so I figure if the Cubs trade him they’ll have to send $38.5 million along with Grabow and get a 29 year old prospect in Low A who throws a 139 mph fastball, but throws strikes less frequently than Carlos Marmol does.

Marlon Byrd does have some value so the Cubs could get something decent in return for him, but they’re not going to get a top prospect or anything. The reality with the Cubs roster is that they really don’t have anyone who would bring much in a trade other than Matt Garza, Sean Marshall and Starlin Castro.

I know Levine didn’t include Kerry Wood, but I think there’s a decent chance he’s traded in the next few weeks. It would certainly be nice if the Cubs could trade guys like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano, but that’s not happening. As much as the Cubs would like to get rid of each and their contract, they aren’t going to find a team that wants either player unless the Cubs send a shitload of money in any deal.

The Cubs are what they are. They’re an old team with overpaid players who have underproduced and have little to no value to any other team. The few good players they do have are guys you’d like to have on your roster if you have any intention of contending in the near future, which I’m sure the Cubs think they can. They are retarded so I’m sure they believe they’ll win 108 games next season. To make things worse, they don’t have much talent in the minor leagues. Without spending a lot of money in the near future the Cubs are going to remain at the bottom of the worst division in baseball.

It’s a way of life.


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