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The trade deadline is five weeks away, and that means it's time to begin analyzing the sellers and their products. Over the next month we'll take a look at each of the likely sellers and which players will pop up in trade talks and rumors. The Cubs, reportedly open for business, are up first.

The Assets

(Listed in descending order of expected impact)

Matt Garza

Position: SP

Age as of Deadline: 29

Bats/Throws: R/R

Half of Salary: $5.125 million

Contract Status: Free agent at season's end

Stats: 7 GS, 42.1 IP, 4.25 ERA, 2.64 SO/BB

PECOTA Projection: 16 GS, 96 IP, 3.60 ERA, 2.73 SO/BB

Ideal Role: No. 2 starter

Perhaps the most prominent pitcher available on the trade market, Garza is unlikely to net as much in return as he did in 2011. Still, the Cubs should receive enough to forgo potential draft-pick compensation. The one plausible snafu is Garza's health: He's missed more than four months of action over the past year due to shoulder and elbow woes.

When Garza makes it to the mound he does a lot of work with his fastball. He throws a four-seam and two-seam variation, and the pitch sits in the low-to-mid-90s and features arm-side run. When Garza is going for the knockout he breaks out his mid-80s slider, even against left-handed batters. In addition to the slider Garza throws a mid-70s curveball to change sightlines. There's a changeup in his arsenal, too, though he seldom uses it. Garza's big-game experience may appeal to interested parties, and he could be the truest thing to an impact starter on the market—even if he spits too much.

Nate Schierholtz

Position: OF

Age as of Deadline: 29

Bats/Throws: L/R

Half of Salary: $1.125 million

Contract Status: One more year of team control remaining

Stats: 217 PA, .296/.347/.558

PECOTA Projection: 199 PA, .266/.318/.442

Ideal Role: Fat-side platoon corner outfielder

Although Schierholtz has another year of team control remaining, he could find himself on the move for the second trade deadline in a row, having gone from the Giants to the Phillies in last July's Hunter Pence deal. Schierholtz's season is better at first glance than it appears up close: his at-bats have been micromanaged to the point where he's faced nearly 90 percent right-handed pitchers. There's nothing wrong with that strategy—he's always struggled versus same-handed pitching—yet it skews his raw numbers to look better than they would under normal conditions. Schierholtz isn't a great fielder, despite a strong arm, and he doesn't offer a lot on the basepaths, either. At the same time, any contender looking for affordable left-handed thump for this season, and perhaps next, could acquire Schierholtz and plug him into their lineup four or five times a week.

Scott Feldman

Position: SP

Age as of Deadline: 30

Bats/Throws: L/R

Half of Salary: $3 million

Contract Status: Free agent at season's end

Stats: 14 GS, 85 IP, 3.39 ERA, 2.56 SO/BB

PECOTA Projection: 15 GS, 90 IP, 4.23 ERA, 2.23 SO/BB

Ideal Role: No. 4 starter

Jed Hoyer did well during the offseason by signing Feldman to a one-year deal. The big right-hander made progress as a starter with the Rangers last season, and that progress has continued. He operates by mixing three pitches: a low-90s sinker, upper-80s cutter, and curveball—he leaves his splitter sitting on the sidelines. Feldman loves using the breaking ball to start at-bats against left-handed batters, and from there does his best to mix and match his offerings. There's no dominant pitch in his arsenal, which further necessitates he keep the ball down. As long as Feldman is generating groundballs and avoiding walks he fits in as a middle-to-back-of-the-rotation starter.

James Russell

Position: RP

Age as of Deadline: 27

Bats/Throws: L/L

Half of Salary: $0.504 million

Contract Status: Two more seasons of team control

Stats: 35 G, 28.1 IP, 2.22 ERA, 3.25 SO/BB

PECOTA Projection: 33.1 IP, 4.79 ERA, 2.56 SO/BB

Ideal Role: Set-up man

Russell's career numbers are skewed upward because of his abysmal efforts as a starter. He's pitched much better out of the bullpen, where he's able to pitch off his slider from dawn til dusk. Despite Russell's big frame he's not much of a hard thrower, as he'll top out in the low-90s. But Russell makes up for his lack of elite velocity with a deep arsenal, a deceptive delivery in which he hides the ball well, and a high release point. Capable left-handed relievers are always in demand at the deadline, and ones with multiple years of team control even more so. The Cubs could keep Russell if nobody knocks their stirrups off.

David DeJesus

Position: OF

Age as of Deadline: 33

Bats/Throws: L/L

Half of Salary: $2.125 million

Contract Status: One more year at $6.5 million (club option)

Stats: 217 PA, .260/.318/.445

PECOTA Projection: 300 PA, .263/.334/.405

Ideal Role: Fourth outfielder

DeJesus is on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, and is not expected back until mid-July. By then the versatile outfielder will have about two weeks before the deadline to prove his health. A return to center field this season allows him to boast about having the most defensive flexibility of the outfielders listed here. However, DeJesus' game is about being decent all-around rather than standing out at any one thing. Factor in his struggles against same-side pitching, now going on three seasons, and he makes sense in a fourth outfielder role. In other words: He's the down-market alternative to Schierholtz.

Kevin Gregg

Position: RP

Age as of Deadline: 35

Bats/Throws: R/R

Half of Salary: Unreported

Contract Status: Free agent at season's end

Stats: 25 G, 24.1 IP, 1.11 ERA, 3.71 SO/BB

PECOTA Projection: 30 IP, 4.03 ERA, 2.00 SO/BB

Ideal Role: Middle reliever

The most surprising name on the list, Gregg signed with the Cubs after failing to make the Dodgers. His pristine numbers are due to improvements against left-handed hitters. It's worth noting then that Gregg barely uses his cutter anymore, which over the previous three seasons had become his go-to secondary offering. Instead Gregg creates outs by playing keep-away with a low-90s fastball, curveball, and splitter. He's made some cosmetic changes to his delivery as well, though the core remains intact—including a stiff front leg and weak glove side. Gregg will not continue this improbable run of success, yet he should come cheap and could slot in as a middle-relief option.

Alfonso Soriano

Position: OF

Age as of Deadline: 37

Bats/Throws: R/R

Half of Salary: $9 million

Contract Status: One more year at $18 million

Stats: 288 PA, .248/.278/.398

PECOTA Projection: 298 PA, .239/.293/.440

Ideal Role: Designated hitter

Should the Cubs have traded Soriano during the offseason? It's a reasonable question to ask given the 37-year-old's descent from respectable to replacement-level. The Cubs reportedly value Soriano's intangibles—his work ethic, leadership, and other assorted personality quirks—and those are fine qualities to have on a rebuilding team. But one must wonder: Could the Cubs trade Soriano if they so desired? How much of the remaining $27 million would they need to eat for a team to take him on?

It all comes down to the evaluation of Soriano. He still loves to swing the bat and expand his zone as much as he did during his younger, more productive days. Difference is, nowadays, Soriano doesn't pummel the ball as he used to, back when he was a doubles machine. Compounding matters is a putrid walk rate that ties his career-worst mark. No walks and average power production is a bad combination for a player who strikes out a fair amount of the time and adds little quantifiable value elsewhere. The resulting package is a player without an attribute to hang a hat on. So the chances of Soriano getting moved appear slim-to-none, but it takes just one team to believe a return to the pennant chase could revitalize his bat for that to change.

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I think if the Cubs could've traded Soriano in the off-season, they would have. They've been trying to trade him since Theo/Jed took over.
This is not meant to be criticism but more a question of when, how, and why does a player get labelled a platoon guy?

With regard to Nate Schierholtz, while he has always faced more righties than lefties (about 80/20 before this year), over his first five years in the majors he was actually more effective against same-siders.

From 2007-2011 his numbers vs. right-handed pitchers were .262/.310/.402/.712 in 897 career plate appearances, with a BABIP of .298.

To the same point in his career vs. lefties they were .317/.351/.438/.789 with a BABIP of .376, albeit in only 223 plate appearances (19.9% of total PA).

Even after drastic splits in 2012 his vs. righties line entering 2013 was .266/.319/.413/.732 (.301 BABIP) for his career compared to .284/.317/.391/.708 (.342 BABIP) vs. lefties.

Even with his struggles last year and so far this season against them he has hit slightly more line drives in his career against lefties than righties (23.1% vs. 20.3%), although he has more difficulty elevating the ball (28.6% vs. 37.4% FB rate) and turning fly balls into home runs (4.4% vs. 8.6% HR/FB). Then again, he has almost twice as high a percentage of infield base hits that way (12.2% vs. 6.4%).

I'm not surprised the Giants didn't figure that out, seeing him as a fourth outfielder/defensive replacement, but I would have thought the Cubs might see the merits of at least trying him against lefties instead of Scott Hairston (.162/.226/.419 vs. lhp this season).
Would Russell close if Gregg were moved?