The Chicago Cubs are no strangers to the trade market and the team is expected to start their activity soon.
According a report from Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Cubs expect to trade starting pitcher Jason Hammel within the next two weeks. The report mentions what has been known for a few weeks now and that is that the Cubs plan on trading Hammel early in order to set the market for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija later.
Two weeks from now would be around the same time that the Cubs traded starting pitcher Scott Feldman a year ago.
In the Feldman trade, the Cubs acquired starting pitcher Jake Arrieta and reliever Pedro Strop. Arrieta has a sub-2 ERA for the Cubs this season while Strop could very well be the future closer for the Cubs.
The report does not link any teams to Hammel though recent rumors have suggested that the Seattle Mariners are the front-runners for the veteran pitcher.
Hammel has been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs this season. In 14 starts for the Cubs this season, Hammel has posted an ERA of 3.02 to go along with a FIP of 3.02 as well.
What the Cubs do at the trade deadline will speak to what the team plans to do in the off-season. There has been speculation that the Cubs will begin to spend money and construct a competitive team for the 2015 season. If that is the case, then it is likely that the Cubs will be looking for prospects that are at or near the Major League level.
Hammel will be the first domino to fall this season for the Cubs.