Chicago Cubs Trade Rumors - Raul Ibanez, Scott Eyre

14 time All-Star Pudge Rodriguez to the Yankees for Kyle Freaking Farnsworth? Five teams going after Will Ohman? What the hell is going on in this wacky MLB trade market right now? Word is the Cubs are on the hunt for a left-handed bat. Let's see what they're up to.

How's this for a name that gets your motor runnin': Raul Ibanez. Yawn. Big news on the Cubs trade rumor front is that the Cubs are looking into acquiring Seattle Mariners Raul Ibanez. Per trade rumor God Kenny Rosenthal, the M's are seeking 2 quality prospects in return for the 36 year old LFer. Micah Hoffpauir and Felix Pie are 2 of the names being thrown about.

To this I have to say...are the Mariners high? First they're being idiots asking for the moon to move Jared Washburn. Now they want the Cubs to give up on top prospect Felix Pie and a guy who has nothing but hit all year in Hoffpauir? C'mon. Are they trying to improve their team or simply get their names in the 'papes? They can't seriously think they're going to get a better haul for Ibanez than the Pirates got for Xavier Nady or the Tigers got for Pudge Rodriguez, can they?
Ibanez is a career .284/.345/.470 hitter who's hitting at a .279/.349/.464 clip in '08. You know what you're getting there, looks like. Ibanez is a lefty and has 15 HRs on the year. Though 36, he is showing the ability to maintain his numbers. Thus far, Ibanez seems to be outperforming his PECOTA VORP projection. And PECOTA has him remaining effective until at least the 2010 season. Dude stays healthy too. Ibanez has accumulated between 481 and 626 ABs between 2002-2007. Actually, Ibanez isn't starting to sound to bad now that I look at it. But, as always, there's the...

"Yeah, but...". Yeah, but, Ibanez's 2 yr/$11 million contract expires at the end of this season. I don't see any reason why Ibanez wouldn't want to sign with the Cubs, but not sure if locking in a 36 year old is the best move. Ibanez could possibly be a rental. And, yeah but, Ibanez is a LFer. We've already got the Glass Ego out in LF. The guy fought tooth and nail to move from 2B to the OF. Then bitched and moaned about the trial the Cubs gave him in CF. Would Soriano be willing to move to RF? Or would Ibanez play better out there? Either way-the club would take a ding defensively. And this would push Kosuke Fukudome to full time in CF (which apparently is no longer a concern now that his offensive numbers have been on the dip). Not to mention that keeping Jim Edmonds's rapidly declining ass on the roster would be pretty difficult...but somehow I'm totally OK with that (yes, that was sarcasm).

All this is great and all, and Ibanez would certainly provide an upgrade over the combo of ReJo and former Cardinal Jim Edmonds, but if it takes Hoffpauir and Pie to get this deal done, is it worth it? I don't think so. Hoffpauir is what he is. A big huge dude who can rake but is without position on this club. He's not good enough in the OF to be a viable option there and DLee has 1B locked down solid. It makes sense to move Hoffpauir before he begins to show that he's not really of prospect pedigree, is a bit old to be "breaking out" and can't, in fact, walk on water. But what about Pie?

We're all familiar with Pie's struggles at the beginning of the year. Pie is a young player who had a pile of pressure placed on his shoulders and wasn't given a fair (or long enough) crack at sticking in the bigs. So the Cubs ship him back to Iowa where he had done nothing but blast the baseball the year prior. Confidence destroyed, Pie goes into a funk. But don't look now-the kid may be back. In his 10 games since the All-Star Break at Iowa, Pie is hitting .429/.459/.657/ for a redonkulous OPS of 1.117. Compare this to the injured Jim Edmonds's .278/.316/.500 and fading fast since the ASB. Pie appears healthy, his confidence appears to be back, and he could be ready to go. And he's far and away the best defensive player of all those discussed here. Why waste Pie's future and talent, along with that of another prospect like a Micah Hoffpauir, for a potential rental? Kid deserves a shot. Trading Pie off now would be just another in the long line of Jim Hendry "sell lows" on Cubs prospects.

Ibanez would be an offensive upgrade, yes. But unless the price comes down, I think the Cubs need to take a pass here.

The other rumor currently out there involving the Cubs regards moving lefty RP Scott Eyre for, well, really the Cubs sound like they'll take anything at this point. With Jeff Samardzija going well, and the Cubs seemingly willing to place a lot of stock in his fast start, it's being widely speculated that the Cubs will try and trade Eyre to pick up some spare parts. Jayson Stark has reported that the club would like to move Eyre and his expiring contract to the AL. In the alternative, the club would likely have to release Jon Lieber or move Bob Howry. But, having God's greatest gift of being a left-handed not-totatlly-incompetent pitcher, Eyre has the most value. Will Carroll says the Cubs and Dodgers have discussed something for Eyre. And Ken Rosenthal lists Eyre among the available lefty RP's. But that's about it.

Towel Drills will stay on top of all the latest rumors as we lead up to tomorrow's non-waiver trade deadline. We'll be here breaking down any deals that are made and take a look at anything the Cubs's competition may do. Like voting in Chicago, check back early and often.

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