Just because it's a holiday doesn't mean MLB front office executives aren't still wheeling and dealing.
The Astros traded veteran first baseman Carlos Lee to the Miami Marlins Wednesday for two prospects -- third baseman Matt Dominguez and left-handed pitcher Rob Rasmussen.
Both players were considered among the Marlins' Top 10 prospects before the season. Dominguez was taken 12th overall in the 2007 draft, while Rasmussen was selected in the second round of the 2010 draft. Dominguez was rated No. 81 on Baseball America's top prospect list before the 2011 season.
So what does this mean for the Cubs?
The deal proves that it really is a seller's market out there. There are way too many teams within sniffing distance of at least the second Wild Card spot, so those teams that choose to sell will have plenty of suitors.
The Astros had to eat most of Lee's contract, but that's still a really good haul for a 36-year-old first baseman who is a free agent at season's end and hasn't posted an OPS over .800 since 2009.
Lee is hitting .286.336.412 on the season, but his power is way down -- only five home runs after hitting at least 16 every season of his career to this point.
If the Astros could pick up a potential franchise third baseman (Dominguez has struggled with the bat, but is a very good defender and still just 22 years old) and a 23-year-old pitcher for a player of Lee's caliber, imagine what the Cubs could get for guys like Ryan Dempster or Alfonso Soriano.
Of course, Tom Ricketts and his front office staff would have to eat almost the entire contract on those types of guys, but it would be worth it to receive better prospects in return.
If the Marlins made a move, too, it could mean more good news for the Cubs. Heading into its game Wednesday, Miami sat 9.5 games out of first with a 38-42 record, but only five games behind the second Wild Card spot. The fact that they are looking to pick up pieces shows just how much of an impact that second Wild Card has on the market.
Right now, there are only eight teams with a worse winning percentage than the Marlins. If they made a move, it could mean that more than 20 teams would be interested in adding pieces before the end of the month, leaving the Cubs in the driver's seat as they try to acquire the best package available.