It’s inevitable that Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry will be receiving calls about the availability of his players, with a half of a season in the books and the reality of watching a team going nowhere at this point. Stoking the fire of future trade talks was manager Lou Piniella admitting that his second base situation is now a platoon.
Teams like Boston, Philadelphia and Detroit are seeking help at second base right now.
“We’ve been playing all three, hoping someone gets hot,” he said. The three are Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker.
All three will get a long, hard look from the aforementioned teams. The Phillies have lost All-Star second baseman Chase Utley for at least two months and maybe the season.
Third baseman Placido Palanco also is hurt. Boston’s Dustin Pedroia will be out six weeks, and Detroit is looking for a veteran to tighten up its infield.
Hendry at this point must decide if trading veterans for other teams' prospects is the direction he wants to go.
Many of the more attractive Cubs' players have no-trade clauses in their contracts, but that doesn’t apply to Theriot, Fontenot or Baker.
Piniella was asked about a player's perspective as the trading deadline approaches.
“When I played, there was a lot of [trades],” he said. “You do your job. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. If you start looking or reading at what is being said, all it’s going to do is keep you from having a clear head. When I played and it was my name, or one of my teammate’s names, you just go out and play do the best you can. You don’t have any control over those things.”
Boston had one of its top talent evaluators watching the Cubs earlier this week. The Phillies’ Gordon Lakey, their top scout, has been in and out of Chicago the last two weeks. And Detroit’s vice president of player personnel Scott Reid, one of Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski’s top lieutenants, is watching the Cubs this weekend.