CHICAGO -- There's a certain irony taking place within the Chicago Cubs. As they trade some of their main players for prospects, the team is winning games. Four victories in a row and 11 of their past 17 probably won't stop them from making more moves this month.
Pitcher Matt Garza is likely headed out, while Kevin Gregg and Alfonso Soriano could be, as well. Those players are big reasons why the Cubs are winning -- which might expedite their departure. That's because it's going to take more than a short winning streak for Chicago to get back into the playoff race.
"Even though we're playing really well, there has to be that streak of wins to climb back into something," manager Dale Sveum said before Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels. "Especially when you have three to four teams to climb over. It still takes a 10-game winning streak to say, ‘Ok, now we have a chance.'"
It remains to be seen if the Cubs have it in them to pull off such a run. They have complete 40 percent of a 10-game win streak with five games remaining before the All-Star break.
"We'll see how this month goes," second baseman Darwin Barney said. "It's going to be tough if things change. But right now I think we're all pretty happy with who we have in here and the way we've been battling."
That especially applies to the revamped bullpen. Only two players -- James Russell and Hector Rondon -- remain from the team that broke spring training. It wasn't long ago that original group was considered a strength of the team.
"Coming out of the spring I thought our pen was great," Russell said. "We had a lot of arms and veterans that knew how to handle stuff, but unfortunately it didn't pan out."
Carlos Marmol got hit early and often and eventually was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa barely got past his debut before needing Tommy John surgery. Shawn Camp was ineffective and eventually released. The list goes on and on.
"Yeah, it has that swinging-door kind of feel," Russell said. "I like where we're at right now."
That's because the Cubs have adjusted well on the fly. They picked up Gregg, who's been lights out at the end of games. In trading Marmol, the Cubs got Matt Guerrier, who's barely been touched in four appearances, including back-to-back two-inning stints against the Pittsburgh Pirates recently in wins for Chicago.
"I haven't done that in a long time," Guerrier said. "It felt good."
Pedro Strop has thrown well since being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles, along with pitcher Jake Arrieta. Arrieta is waiting in the wings for a recall when the Cubs -- inevitably -- make their next deal.
"It's basically who's hot, who's throwing strikes and who's doing a good job when you don't have those established guys that have done it before," Sveum said of his new bullpen.