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Past, future trades weigh on Villanueva

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MILWAUKEE -- In 2012, the Cubs traded starting pitchers Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm, and last July, starters Scott Feldman and Matt Garza were dealt.

Will Jason Hammel be next?

"He's very close to being like 'Feldy,'" Carlos Villanueva said of the personable Hammel. "He's been really easy to get along with. He's a guy who has stabilized our rotation. [Saturday] was a big game, and he went out there and did what he's been doing all year."

Hammel, who signed a one-year contract with the Cubs, has been asked about possibly being dealt since Spring Training, and he has done his best to deflect the discussion.

"What's happened here the last couple years, you can't help but wonder if you're going to be one of those guys, too," Villanueva said. "When they sign here, they know. They know the direction this team is going. If I'm him, I'd feel really good about what I've done.

"He really likes this team -- if he gets traded, he'll be helping out a lot," Villanueva said. "I'm sure he wants to stay here. It's hard to go somewhere new and fit in. The fact is we're at the point where this team is now, he might help more by bringing in a couple players."

Villanueva, who began the season in the Cubs' rotation and is now the long man in the bullpen, could also be moved by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"It would be really hard for me if it happens," he said. "I've fallen in love with what the Cubs are; I relate to it a lot. I try not to think about it often because it would be a really sad day. If it happens, I hope it happens when I'm not on the field, so I'm not crying all over people when I have to say bye to people."

The players do talk about the possibility of being traded. Both Hammel and Villanueva have played for a few teams. They know the reality of baseball.

"He's like, 'I don't want to leave,' but there is a possibility he might, and he understands that," Villanueva said. "Guys who have been in the game, and been on multiple teams, know how that goes. In a perfect world, we could stay here and build around the young guys, and we could be part of the uprising of the team. That could still happen -- we're still here. While we're here, we're going ot make the most of it."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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