The Cubs came out of the All-Star Break playing pretty good baseball.  They started the second half by taking 3 of 4 against the Phillies, capped by a pounding of Cy-Young candidate Roy Halladay.  And if it weren’t for a Marmol implosion on Saturday, the Cubs would have swept the four game set with the Phillies.  The good news is that the Cubs are now 3-1 in the 2nd half.  The bad news is the Cardinals are 4-0 after sweeping the Dodgers. 


As it stands now, the Cubs are tied with the Brewers at 9 ½ games behind the Cardinals and 9 games behind the Reds.  The Cubs don’t have much life left in them, and we should know more about their fate after the next 9 games.  6 of them are against the Astros.  The Cubs start a 3 game set with the Astros at Wrigley tonight, then the Cardinals come in for 3 and then the Cubs travel to Houston for 3.  If the Cubs don’t take at least six or seven of those games, they are officially done.  It would take a miracle for the Cubs to get back into the race, but going 7-2 over the next nine games would be a good start. 


First things first though, they need to win the opener against the Astros tonight.  The Cubs are facing a revitalized Wandy Rodriguez who is very capable of shutting them down.  The good news is the Cubs are starting to hit.  The middle of the lineup is no longer filled with automatic outs.  Amazing how much better your team can look when your #3 and #4 hitters aren’t hitting .150, isn’t it?


Here are the updates:



JULY 4/ JULY 11/ JULY 18

Byrd- .304/ .317/ .320

Castro- .271/ .270/ .294

Fontenot-  .302/ .292/ .290

Soto- .277/ .284/ .286

Theriot- .275/ .278/ .273

Soriano- .277/ .269/ .272

Colvin- .271/ .263/ .270

Fukudome-  .267/ .252/ .251

Baker-.239/ .233/ .246

Lee- .227/ .233/ .238

Nady-.238/ .225/ .223

Hill- . 221/ .213/ .213

Ramirez- .178/ .207/ .213



JULY 4/ JULY 11/ JULY 18

Gorzelanny-  3.31/ 3.16/ 3.12

Silva- 2.96/ 3.45/ 3.45

Dempster-3.54/ 3.61/ 3.57

Lilly-  3.76/ 4.08/ 4.07

Wells- 4.67/ 4.61/ 4.33

Zambrano-  5.66/ EXILE ISLAND

Marshall- 2.03/ 2.03/ 1.91

Cashner-  2.93/ 2.41/ 2.61

Marmol-  2.08/ 2.16/ 2.91

Russell- 4.18/ 3.62/ 4.13

Stevens- 5.71/ 5.71/ 5.71

Atkins- Minors/ 6.00/ 6.00

Howry- 6.26/ 5.93/ 6.97

Grabow- 7.36/ DL/ DL

Schlitter-Minors/ 15.00


Most Important things:


The Cubs still need to decide what to do in the trade market.  They’re probably not buyers, even if they go on a hot streak before the deadline.  The only question is how big of sellers will they be.  There isn’t as much interest in Lilly as the Cubs were hoping, so it wouldn’t be shocking if they kept him for the remainder of the year and tried to re-sign him.  If they miss out on him after the season and lose him in free agency, they’ll get a draft pick in return.  That may be more valuable than who they can get for him right now.


Then there are still those other decisions to be made.  Fukudome has been pretty much benched for good in lieu of Tyler Colvin.  The Cubs are trying to find a taker for Kosuke, but it won’t be easy.  The Cubs could always try to move Carlos Silva to a team looking for starting help for the rest of the season.  With the resurgence of Soriano this year, the Cubs could try to dangle him as trade bait.  My guess is no one’s biting with his contract.  They may be able to move guys like Xavier Nady and possibly Ryan Theriot if they are willing to give him up.  If Theriot would be moved, that leaves a gap for next year moving forward as Mike Fontenot is probably not your long term answer there.  We tried that once.


If Lilly and/or Silva are traded, it will be interesting to see who takes their spot in the rotation.  Zambrano could get a shot again, or maybe the Cubs would let Andrew Cashner step in and get his feet wet once they have thrown the towel in on 2010.  Jeff Samardzija is still waiting in Iowa for another shot as well.  It’d be tough to move Cashner out of his set-up role in the bullpen now that he’s done such a great job there.


If you were running the Cubs, how much longer would you wait until you’d start making some trades?


Who would be on the list of guys you’d trade?

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