ATLANTA -- If Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry can swing a deal before the July 31 trading deadline, he said Tuesday it would most likely be for a player who can help the team this year and beyond, and not a hired gun.
"Every kind of deal is different," Hendry said. "As far as a short-term rental type of player for a couple months who would be making significant dollars, that might not make much sense if you felt you were completely out of it. I'm hopeful we can hang in there for a couple weeks."
The Cubs trailed the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals by 11 1/2 games entering Tuesday's contest, but the addition of the Wild Card has kept more teams alive for the postseason, and that affects how general managers approach the deadline.
"The Wild Card keeps you alive a lot longer than it used to," Hendry said. "Let's not forget we were 5 1/2 out in the division when we traded for [Aramis] Ramirez and [Kenny] Lofton [in July 2003]. We just need to finish up here better than we played the last week, and not try to add somebody but re-tool and reload and do a better job ourselves."
So, are the Cubs buyers or sellers?
"I haven't gone through a 'selling' mentality at all," Hendry said. "The core of our good guys are guys you want to keep anyhow. If the situation occurred that made sense down the road to move someone, I'd consider it if I thought it made us better for the future."
The Cubs will likely add players without having to trade anyone when shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and pitcher Scott Williamson return. Both could be back in August.
"We're going to be able to add on within ourselves," Hendry said. "The ideal type trade would be one that included you keeping a guy longer than this year."
The Cubs can't just pick a player and insert him into the lineup.
"You'd love to be able to snap your fingers and get some people to plug in, but it's very hard to do that," Hendry said. "Deals aren't made that way. We're talking to clubs. We never go more than a couple weeks without talking to [general managers]."
Mood swings: Cubs manager Dusty Baker said he would consider addressing the team prior to Tuesday's game. He was not happy about the effort on Monday in a 4-0 loss to Atlanta, calling it a "total breakdown."
"I'll talk to them," Baker said. "I didn't want to talk to them when I was in that state.
"It's one thing getting beat, it's another thing when you're losing," he said. "I wasn't too happy yesterday, no."
Funks: Corey Patterson isn't the only Cub who's been struggling at the plate. Michael Barrett entered Tuesday's game 4-for-46 (.087) in his last 15 games with two RBIs. Neifi Perez hit .229 in June, and was 3-for-16 in July. As a team, the Cubs were batting .246 (35-for-142) in four July games.
Greg Maddux / P
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Mr. 3,000: Greg Maddux entered Tuesday's game with 2,979 career strikeouts, 21 shy of 3,000. When he does reach the magical 3,000 figure, he'll be the second Cub to do so.
On May 25, 1982, Fergie Jenkins became the first pitcher to record his 3,000th strikeout in a Cubs uniform. Jenkins reached the milestone in the third inning in San Diego when he struck out Garry Templeton for the second out of the inning. The bases were empty at the time and the Cubs trailed, 2-1. His 3,000th strikeout was Jenkins' first of that game.
When Maddux does get to 3,000 Ks, he will be only the ninth pitcher with 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. The list includes Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Walter Johnson and Phil Niekro.
Jenkins is the only member of the 3,000-K club who finished his career with less than 1,000 walks. Maddux entered Tuesday's game with 890 career walks.
Minor matters: Jon Leicester gave up eight runs on eight hits over four innings in Triple-A Iowa's 12-2 loss to Round Rock on Monday. David Kelton and Ben Grieve both were 2-for-4. ... Ricky Nolasco threw a four-hit complete game for Double-A West Tenn in a 14-1 win over Tennessee. Nolasco struck out six. Matt Craig was 4-for-4, scored four runs and had four RBIs. Casey McGehee was 5-for-6 with two doubles and four RBIs. ... Yorkin Ferreras gave up three runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings in Class A Daytona's 8-3 loss to Brevard County. ... Grant Johnson gave up six runs on six hits over two innings in Class A Peoria's 21-2 loss to Kane County. It was the most lopsided defeat in team history. Ryan Harvey was 1-for-4 with a solo homer. ... Mark Pawelek, the Cubs' No. 1 draft pick this year, gave up two runs, one earned, on two hits over three innings and struck out six in Mesa's 8-2 loss to the Athletics.
Also, West Tenn outfielder Felix Pie will be sidelined at least one more week and possibly longer because of a bone bruise in his right ankle. Pie originally sprained his ankle and a bruise was discovered during his rehab. Pie was batting .304 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs in 59 games. He was invited to play in the Futures Game at the All-Star break, but will pass.
On deck: Mark Prior will face John Smoltz on Wednesday in Game 3 of this four-game series. This will be Prior's third start since coming off the disabled list. He's 1-1 since he was activated, and has given up three earned runs over 11 innings.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.