As we inch closer to the July 31st trade deadline the Chicago Cubs plans become clearer. We have two more players who you can expect to be on the move in the next two months here in part two of our three-part installment.
Last week we discussed the situation that Darwin Barney currently finds himself in, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better. Barney has shown some improvement at the plate over his last ten games, hitting .250, but his average still sits at a lowly .184 through 35 games. Even though Barney is the best defensive second baseman in baseball, there is still a reasonable case to be made for trading him. The most important being that his contract is set to expire at the end of this season and he does not appear to be part of the Cubs future plans. Another reason is, who wants to pay 2.3 million dollars for a backup second baseman? Especially when there are a number of teams who are willing to pay for him. So far this season, Barney has been linked to the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers. But as we get closer to the deadline more teams may emerge as suitors for Barney due to his reasonable price tag and low risk/high reward potential. Barney could be a great pick up for a contender because defense never slumps, and, who knows, a change of scenery may be just what the 28-year-old second baseman needs to get back on track offensively.
Arguably the biggest disappointment on the pitching staff, behind Jose Veras, Carlos Villanueva has been miserable for the Cubs this season. Coming off a promising 2013 campaign, in which we went 7-8 with a 4.06 ERA in 47 appearances (15 starts), the Cubs had designs on Villanueva competing for a spot in the rotation in 2014. But a slow start, in which he picked up the loss in each of the Cubs first two games this season, extinguished any hope for his future with the team. Villanueva is due five million dollars this year, which is a whole lot to pay a middle relief/mop up pitcher. But despite Villanueva’s poor line this year, 1-5 with a 7.98 ERA in 29.1 innings, there will a market for him at the deadline. Every year, without fail, there are contenders who are looking for pitching depth. Obviously, Villanueva’s performance thus far won’t boost his value, but the fact that he is an experienced pitcher who has experience, both, as a starter and a reliever, will. Also adding to his value is his playoff experience. Even though Villanueva only has 3.2 innings of playoff experience, he still has playoff experience, and the fact that he pitched well (0 runs, 3K’s in 2008 with Milwaukee) will give him a slight edge over a pitcher with no playoff experience. Look for Carlos Villanueva to bring back a prospect or maybe a stopgap utility player.Tags: Baseball, Carlos Villanueva, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Darwin Barney, Detroit Tigers, MLB, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers