The Chicago Cubs’ season, and the direction the franchise takes in the near future, could depend on the results of their current roadtrip.
General managers from other teams are beginning to assemble lists of underachieving teams like the Cubs and White Sox, while anticipating that both teams will be sellers within a couple of weeks.
Factually, the Cubs’ window of opportunity to win with this corps group may be close to shutting for good.
This team’s offensive woes were hard to predict, when you consider Aramis Ramirez was completely recovered from a shoulder separation in 2009. The former All-Star third baseman is hitting .162 with four home runs and 20 RBIs. Incredibly, he has struck out 43 times in 43 games, a pace more than double that of his average.
And first baseman Derrek Lee was returning from his most productive RBI season last year. Lee, who struggled until late May of 2009, hitting .232 with six home runs and 23 RBIs. He is slugging .366, Ramirez .269 and the league average is .405.
Both Lee and Ramirez have full no-trade clauses in their contracts. Lee is a free agent after the season while Ramirez has two years left at $15 million per season. But he also has a 10-day window in November for an opt-out clause if he wants to pursue free agency after this season.
At some point, even the players who love playing for the Cubs would consider being traded if the present losing trend continues. The Philadelphia Philles have a scout following the Cubs over their next three series. Many more will be circling the Cubs and Sox like buzzards if June follows the trend of April and May for Chicago’s teams.
The Cubs and Sox play each other six times over the next 3 ½ weeks. Those games alone could send one of the teams into a full selling mode.