James Russell appears to be on Cubs trading block

USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs may try to capitalize on some of their role players before the trade deadline.

The Cubs are discussing trading reliever James Russell, according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago.

The team came close to dealing him to the Braves, before Atlanta acquired Scott Downs from the Angels. The deal for Downs, as well as the Indians' acquisition of Marc Rzepczynski from the Cardinals, shrunk the market for a left-handed reliever.

Russell has a large platoon split -- right-handed batters are hitting .322 off of him this season, while left-handed batters are hitting just .179 against the 27-year-old. One team that has shown some interest is the Reds, but the Cubs may not want to make a deal within the division.

The Cubs are also shopping outfielder Nate Schierholtz, with the Pirates having scouted him for the past 30 days. He is viewed by some as a cheaper alternative to Alex Rios, but as a platoon bat he does not provide the same kind of value.

Russell has an ERA of 2.65 in 37-1/3 innings this season, and has appeared in 52 games for the Cubs.

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