Cubs' meetings to address direction

Updated: June 23, 2011, 11:28 AM ET
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs will bring in their top scouts on Monday and Tuesday to have meetings about the direction of the team with the trading deadline just five weeks away, according to a baseball source.

General manager Jim Hendry and assistant GM Randy Bush will preside over the two days of meetings. Hendry's objective will be to give the scouts direction as the team looks to acquire new players or move some off the present 25-man roster.

Hendry will talk to his top scouts about which teams the Cubs might match up with best as far as trades. The Cubs have a number of players with big contracts that not all teams could or would absorb.

The game plan will include going after top prospects and young players from other teams. Three Cubs players -- Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez -- with no-trade clauses or 5-and-10 no-trade rights have responded to media inquiries about whether they would accept trades.

Zambrano told FoxSports.com recently that while he wants to stay with the Cubs, he would accept a trade if the Cubs wanted to deal him.

"If they come to me and want to trade me, obviously it's because they don't want me here anymore," Zambrano told the website. "I always say that. I'll be here until the Cubs decide to trade me."

On June 6, Ramirez told ESPNChicago.com that he would not accept a trade.

Soriano told ESPNChicago.com on June 16 that if the team wanted to trade him, he would not stand in its way.

"It's not the worst thing," Soriano said of being traded. "When I got traded from the Yankees [for Alex Rodriguez] to Texas, that was a difficult one. But when I got traded to Washington, that's just part of the game. We work for the team. They do what they want to.

"I expect to stay here. This is my fifth year, but if they say they want to trade me, then why wouldn't I want to go somewhere else. I wouldn't stay here."

Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome has a limited no-trade clause and can veto a deal to a handful of teams.

The question most baseball people will ask the Cubs is: How much of each contract is the team willing to absorb? Chairman Tom Ricketts will have to be involved in some of these decisions.

Zambrano has $27 million left on his deal, which runs through 2012. Ramirez has $7.5 million left this season, as well as a $2 million buyout and a $1 million bonus he receives if he's traded.

Soriano has about $65 million remaining on his contract, which runs through 2014. Fukudome is in the last year of his contract and has a shade over $7 million left.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.