Roy Halladay Ain't Comin, But The Cubs Could Fleece The Pirates Yet Again

Houston Astros vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Upon hearing trade rumors, Ryan Doumit is begging Zach Duke to take him with if he gets traded to Chicago.

Roy Halladay has been ticketed to go anywhere and everywhere that isn't the North Side of Chicago. It's almost sad, too, seeing that each of the Chicago Cubs' top four starters has spent time on the disabled list.

But off in the distance, help might be on its way. And if the Washington Nationals are baseball's starter girlfriend, that means the Pittsburgh Pirates are baseball's neighborhood pusher. Because whenever you need it the Pirates got it and are willing to give it to you.

Not long ago, the Cubs turned Bobby Hill, Matt Brokeback Bruback and Jose Hernandez into Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton. Lofton turned into the lead-off man the Cubs still haven't had since 2003 and Ramirez has become a franchise cornerstone.

And no one has ever heard from those "prospects" ever again.

Fast forward to 2009 and the Cubs have their eyes on another coup of the Pirates' ship.

With Ted Lilly hitting the DL, there is an apparent interest in lefty starters Zach Duke and Tom Gorzelanny. Duke has come across some rough times since going 8-2 with a 1.81 earned run average as a rookie, but that's to be expected from a franchise that hasn't won anything since Roberto Clemente roamed right field.

After going 18-37 after his freshman campaign, Duke has posted a 9-9 record, 3.42 ERA and 1.227 WHIP for the bottom-feeding Bucco's. As for Gorzelanny, the Evergreen Park, Ill., is wasting away in the minors somewhere -- like most Pirates prized prospects.

The Cubs also might have an interest in Freddy Sanchez, as the team is in search of offensive production out of the second base slot. Same can be said about lefty specialist John Grabow and probably closer Matt Capps.

The purging of the Pirates is already underway (as Phil Rogers points out) as Pittsburgh has already traded Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche for a 1970s Pinto and a steaming pile of garbage to be named later.

So, here I am, wondering whether or not Jim Hendry can take Neal Huntington to the woodshed for one more Pirate heist.

My prediction: Duke, Grabow, Capps and Sanchez for Aaron Miles and David Patton.

Let's get it done, Jimbo!