As the trading deadline approaches the Chicago Cubs are pondering a number of moves that could shape their future.

Numerous teams have called on the availability of left-handed reliever James Russell and outfielder Nate Schierholtz. Although neither are star players each can be a difference-maker in his own way. Schierholtz has been scouted by the Pittsburgh Pirates for the past 30 days. Russell was almost traded to the Atlanta Braves last week.


Any possible deal for Schierholtz was held up due to a sore shoulder he was dealing with for three weeks prior to the All-Star break. Pittsburgh began looking seriously at White Sox right fielder Alex Rios during that period. Since the break Schierholtz has been on fire. He has contributed two game-winning home runs as part of his recent productive week of work. Schierholtz is under contract for next season and is arbitration eligible. A short porch in Pittsburgh’s PNC Park right field stands would seem perfect for the lefty-hitting outfielder. He has a career high 14 home runs with more than a third of the season still to play.

Russell has been the ultimate workhorse for the Cubs over the last two years. His 77 appearances were second on the team to Shawn Camp’s 80 games in 2012. This year he is in the top tier of games appeared in with 54 putting him on pace for 83. Russell looked a bit fatigued when he gave up the game-tying three-run homer in the seventh inning of a 6-5 loss in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader.

“The velocities are fine they are all normal” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He just can’t make that pitch and get that ball on the ground.”