In his blog post today, ESPN's Keith Law (Insider only) suggested that the Cubs could easily land Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson if they were willing to deal shortstop Starlin Castro and third baseman Josh Vitters in the same package.
I, for one, am very against such an idea for the Cubs. While that deal would certainly improve the 2010 Cubs, given their long-term contractual obligations, they simply shouldn't be looking to deal those kinds of players. The Cubs already owe significant money to Zambrano, Ramirez, Soriano, Dempster, Fukudome and Bradley, and they need a productive farm system to fill in the gaps.
Castro, 19, is the Cubs' best prospect and arguably the best shortstop in the minor leagues. He could potentially take over as Chicago's everyday shortstop in 2011, enabling them to move current everyday shortstop Ryan Theriot to second base, improving the team at two positions.
While Vitters, 20, hasn't developed as quickly as Castro since being picked third overall in the 2007 Rule IV draft, he's still one of the best pure hitting prospects in the game. His biggest flaw is a developing approach at the plate, he rarely walked in A ball in 2009, although his relatively low strikeout rate reflects his impressive hitting ability. He's not great defensively, but he should be able to stick there if his bat develops properly.
Given that Granderson is a pretty flawed player, he's essentially only playable against right-handed pitchers, I just don't see how the Cubs can afford to gut their farm system to get him, especially if it means including Castro, the kind of piece that the Cubs should build around.
At the core though, the Cubs need to focus on keeping Castro. Vitters still has a lot of development left, and if his bat doesn't pan out then it's not likely that he'll offer very much, compared to Castro, who's already good enough to play in the majors defensively.
If the Cubs could tempt the Tigers without including Castro or top pitchers Andrew Cashner and Jay Jackson, then I could certainly see a deal working out. The Cubs have other young shortstop prospects, Hak-Ju Lee, Ryan Flaherty and Junior Lake, specifically, that could entice the Tigers, and certainly Detroit could have some interest in using Jake Fox in the DH role.
Could the Cubs interest Detroit with an offer based around Vitters, Lee, Fox and a pitcher, such as Esmailyn Caridad, Jeff Stevens or Aaron Shafer? The big idea though, is to keep an eye on Starlin Castro.