Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Let's make a deal

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The Cubs have some payroll flexibility to add a veteran player without long-term contract commitment, and Jim Hendry is making daily rounds of calls on position players and pitchers -- mostly left-handers such as Joe Beimel and George Sherrill.

But what do the Cubs actually need?

Determining the right answer to that question might be harder than actually pulling off a deal.

A lefty for the bullpen gives the Cubs the kind of depth to not only take the burden off Sean Marshall, the only lefty out there now, but it also provides the luxury of considering a move of Marshall to the rotation to cover the rotation's injury du jour, if necessary.

But what about going after a starter to cover Ted Lilly's absence for what appears to be at least the next three weeks? (Randy Wells' and Kevin Hart's combined 8-5 record and 2.90 ERA notwithstanding)

Or what about a catcher to cover what could be a lingering problem for Geo Soto and that oblique injury? (Jake Fox's good-looking stint behind the plate Monday night notwithstanding)

Or a bat for the bench? Or some infield depth?

Or a salary dump of, say, $30 million -- all right, forget that one.

But given a few million of 2009 payroll room and an ideal world of trading partners, what should the Cubs pursue most in the final days before Friday's deadline?

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What the Cubs need that is imperative is another left handed reliever. I think they can make the playoffs without another left handed arm down in the bullpen, but if they want to make a serious run in the playoffs I don't think they can do it with one lefty down there. I am enjoying the watching the Cubs young pitchers grow and develop and come through in big spots lately but I don't know if they can keep that up through the whole season without having a back up lefty for Marshall. By no means would I move Marshall into the starting spot this year to cover for an injury unless it gets ballistic. He is to good coming out of the bullpen and has not been nearly as consistent starting yet. Also, a middle infielder capable of starting at second would be nice. If I only get one player I'm taking the left handed arm in the bullpen. I believe that Bradley is coming around and even when he isn't hitting he draws a lot of walks. He and other proven stars on the Cubs are starting to come around and I think that will be the case for the rest of the season. At second I'd like to see Lou use Blanco more often. His glove is very solid probably the best glove the Cubs have on their roster at second. No one Lou puts out there is hitting and I know that's the down side with Blanco, but with some experience I think he will improve and even if he doesn't it won't be worse than what the Cubs are getting now out of that spot in the order. Blanco also brings speed to the lineup that can do some damage when he gets on base.
Joey Lee

They need to go after Sanchez from Triple A Pirates... Need a solid 2nd basemen.

The impressive second-half start, compared to the mediocre first half, proves the correctness of the adage 'you're never as bad as you look when you're losing, and never as good as you look when you're winning.' That said, one does have to appreciate how much the Cubs farm system is producing. At the moment, there are six pitchers plus five position players that were on the Iowa roster in the last two years, with a couple more there that have contributed. It has been the quality of the 40-man roster of the Cubs that has kept them in contention, and will likely be the telling factor in the final stretch. Another somewhat over-looked strength has been the work of Larry Rothchild, who has quietly shaped the hard throwers into capable pitchers.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on July 28, 2009 12:10 AM.

Any answers for Lou? was the previous entry in this blog.

Lilly's knee fixed, funny bone fine is the next entry in this blog.

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