Nate Silver has an interesting piece over at BP on the Cubs' habit of grinding down the value of players they're about to trade, making it impossible to get decent value back. Silver ascribes it to a lack of confidence of decision-making ability, and suggests that the Cubs are relying heavily on "What did you expect me to get for these guys?" as a defense for the lousy return they've gotten on trades in recent years.
I'm not so sure. From my admittedly jauniced viewpoint, it looks more like the Cubs are more interested in winning PR battles with their fans than games on the field. Rather than get blasted - or risk ticket and merch sales - by shipping a popular player out of town, the TribCo behemoth instead devours its own like Kronos snacking on his offspring. If everyone is convinced that Michael Barrett, or Todd Walker, or Corey Patterson, or anyone else is a worthless bum by the time the club finally trades him, then nobody gets upset when said worthless bum leaves.
Clever, fellas. Very clever. Now, if only it helped you win games.