Where Are They Going, Part III

Positions of Need? Check. Players Available for Trade? Check. So, in Part III, let's look at the players the Cubs are rumored to be pursuing via trade.

Jake Peavy-I don't know if you heard this rumor, but supposedly the Cubs are trying to acquire Jake Peavy from the Padres. Yeah, it was news to me too. I actually mentioned this rumor about a week ago, and I didn't think the Cubs had the prospects to make the deal. I still believe that to be the case, but it appears the Cubs are ready to do what is necessary to complete the deal. According to Buster Olney, the latest scenario has the Cubs trading Josh Vitters, their top prospect from 2007, and a third team entering the picture to send the Padres the pitching they need. Considering Vitters was the Cubs top prospect according to Baseball America last year, both pre-season and at mid-season, it comes as a bit of a shock that JH is willing to deplete the farm system this much. While Vitters is only 18 years old and is projected as a 3-sack, I just don't like the concept of the Cubs trading their top prospect at this time to make an offseason trade when there are a ton of FA pitchers available. The only benefit I see is that it avoids the Cubs having to give up a 1st rounder if they sign a picture on the open market.

Brian Roberts-It sounds like last offseason all over again, as the rumor of JH and his ol pal Andy McPhail trying to work out a trade to send the Cubs a leadoff hitter. Roberts will be entering the final year of his contract, so the O's trade demands may be lessened. The O's may be attempting to work an extension, but Roberts has said he wants to play for a winner (his 8 years of Baltimore baseball has landed him with 0 winning season). Roberts had a solid season, hitting .296 with a .378 OBP and 40 SB's. Presumably, the switch hitter would lead off, dropping Sori in the order and play second, moving DeRo to RF full time.

Jeremy Hermida-Hermida was the Marlins top prospect 3 years running. But like another team's top prospect for 3 years, he has yet to really show top prospect stuff. True, he had a .296, 18 HR performance in 2007 after starting a month and a half late, but reverted last year to a .249 average. Hermida isn't the world's finest defender, either. Hermida would add a power bat from the left side and has hit well at Wrigley (.333 BA, 4 HR's in 28 AB's). And maybe a change of scenery would allow him to relax from the pressure of being a bust. But with the trade of Josh Willingham to the Nat's today, it seems less likely that the Marlins would want to part with another OF.

Aaron Heilman-Rumor has it that the Mets are shopping Heilman, and the Cubs are listening. While it seems to me that Heilman has been around forever, he actually is arbitration-eligible for two more years. Heilman has been a workhorse for the Mets the last two years, throwing in 81 games in '07 and 78 in '08. From '05-'07, Heilman had ERA's of 3.17, 3.62, 3.03. But this past year, things took a turn for the worse, as Heilman's ERA jumped to 5.21 and he went 3-8. My guess is that JH is looking to add a workhorse to the 'pen and is betting that last year was an aberration. To add some spice to the mix, the right-handed Heilman is from Logansport, IN; JH always as a soft spot for bringing guys back "home" (Logansport in about 2 hours from Chicago).

Willy Taveras-Taveras probably isn't consider Plan A, B, or even F, but he is a name that the Cubs have considered in the past. He doesn't give the team the needed left-handed bat, but he would give the Cubs a leadoff man. He finds himself available with the supposed acquistion of Carlos Gonzalez in the Matt Holiday trade. Taveras hit .320 in '07, but then .251 in '08. But he managed to steal 68 bags this year. I don't see this one happening, but it's worthy of mention only because he has been mentioned before.

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