In what has been a surprise to many, the slumping Chicago Cubs have been fairly silent as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer approach their first trade deadline in the North Side front office.
While a trade for pitcher Ryan Dempster with the Atlanta Braves is still up in the air, and Matt Garza's future with the Cubs continues to linger, one player the team must look to move before the deadline is starting catcher Geovany Soto.
According to Andy Martino of NYDailyNews.com, the Cubs and New York Mets have discussed a trade involving the former Rookie of the Year winner, but it remains to be seen if the two will actually pull the trigger:
The Mets talked with the Chicago Cubs recently about acquiring catcher Geovany Soto, but a deal is not likely, a baseball official with direct knowledge of the situation said. The Mets could also have traded for Colorado catcher Ramon Hernandez and Boston’s Kelly Shoppach, but could not agree on a price for either.
The team could revisit talks for Soto or another righthanded-hitting catcher in the offseason, the source said.
If a trade between the Cubs and Mets doesn't take place, the team would be wise to continue to shop the struggling catcher before it is too late to get anything in return.
After this season, Soto will be up for second-year arbitration, and given the Cubs' current rebuild efforts and Soto's successor Wellington Castillo waiting in the wings, a move involving the former stud is a must.
It seems unlikely that the Cubs will continue to pour money into Soto's future, especially given his continued struggles since his breakout rookie season.
This July, Soto has batted .250 with 13 hits and five RBI through 15 games. That is a dramatic improvement from the .172 he batted through 36 games, racking up just 21 hits and nine RBI from April to June, making Soto somewhat desirable for teams looking at this postseason.
If the Cubs don't move Soto now, then Epstein and Hoyer will have to enter this offseason with Soto's arbitration on the table, resulting in either the Cubs fighting to keep his spot on the payroll low or just having to move on from the home-grown talent.
The club and Soto avoided going to arbitration last season, settling on a one-year, $4.3 million deal. Given Soto's continued struggles, it is hard to imagine the Cubs' new front office making such a deal again.
The Cubs could look to move him again this offseason, but with his actual decent production this July, the team should look for anyone willing to bite on the catcher.
Perhaps if Soto decides to come back on the cheap, there may be a future for him on the North Side, but given the current situation, now is the right time to just move on.
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