COMMENTARY | The Chicago Cubs undoubtedly left some possible trade chips on the table -- David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz, Kevin Gregg -- but they also managed to ship off quite a bit of talent. So far, the result is a team that -- record-wise -- is better than it was last season.
While that has to be encouraging for long-suffering Cubs fans concerning the rebuilding process, the record will more than likely deteriorate some seeing as the departed talent has left holes that need to be filled.
Overall, it seemed to be a successful period for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
This is one of the best moves the Cubs have pulled off this season, and it mainly comes from that perspective of how little they had to give up and how neatly the signing of Feldman worked out.
Feldman was undeniably a nice surprise for the Cubs this season, but when he was signed it was hard to see him as more than trade bait. Clevenger has been a defensive backup catcher most of his tenure with the Cubs -- with some work at first and third base thrown in occasionally.
Arietta (27) and Strop (28) both look to have respectable upsides. Arietta had a strong first start for the Cubs on July 30 -- six innings, one run, two hits -- and Strop has been a consistent arm out of the bullpen. With the exception of the July 30 doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers (that went wrong for every Cubs player), Strop has been downright stellar. Manager Dale Sveum even said he saw a "closer's potential" in Strop.
Not a bad return for a middle-tier starter and longtime backup catcher.
Marmol's situation was, unfortunately, a no-win scenario for the Cubs. He had been so bad for the Cubs that there wasn't much interest around the league. Considering his high salary ($9.8 million), Marmol was dead weight. The only potential move for the Cubs to make was to acquire an equally struggling player and hope a scenery swap was the ticket to a reemergence.
That is what they got in Matt Guerrier -- a 34-year-old reliever who most likely won't be in town that long. Guerrier had some solid seasons (2007, 2009, 2010), but was never as electric as Marmol was. Neither pitcher looks headed for a substantial rebound, but Marmol was the one with the higher ceiling at one point.
The Cubs did the best they could do, but even that wasn't all that good.
Alfonso Soriano for Corey Black (New York Yankees)
This was another scenario that painted the Cubs into a corner. The Cubs did manage to save almost $7 million by trading Soriano and were also able to snag a mid-tier pitching prospect from the Yankees in Black.
That being said, the Cubs lost a substantial bat in their lineup for virtually no immediate return. But unlike Marmol, the Cubs were able to get something in return for a player that was on his way out at the end of next year anyway. At 37, Soriano's value wouldn't have been higher next year.
The deal was smart and cost-effective for the Cubs, but the value wasn't that high.
Matt Garza for Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, C.J Edwards, and either Neil Ramirez or two players to be named later (Texas Rangers)
This deal was a gold mine for the Cubs. They received one of the top third-base prospects in Olt, a major-league experienced pitcher in Grimm, and a 21-year-old pitcher with major upside with Edwards. Who the Cubs ultimately choose to round out the deal doesn't seem to make or break the value of the trade.
We obviously don't know how these players are going to perform down the line, but you have to consider that the Cubs just received a couple of significant long-term pieces (plus a few wild cards) in exchange for a two-month rental of a pitcher the team could conceivably bring back in the offseason should they actually want to -- I doubt it, but they could.
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Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him a chance to closely follow and report Chicago sports as a freelance writer through Yahoo! Contributor Network and Yahoo! Sports . He is also a senior in college majoring in English and Creative Writing.
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