Countdown to the Deadline: Dempster Madness Recap

For a second there yesterday, well more like thirty minutes or so, we all thought that Ryan Dempster was traded to the Braves, not so fast!  After some backtracking on numerous fronts, a cryptic I don’t know what’s going on tweet from the Dempster foundation, and Dale Sveum blaming the internets, Ryan Dempster threw a bullpen session as a member of the Cubs.  Still not sure what happened yesterday, here’s a brief recap.

At roughly 1:22 PM CST news broke that Dempster was indeed traded to Atlanta.  MLB.com’s Mark Bowman broke the story, Bowman is the beat writer for the Braves on MLB.com, the Carrie Muskat of the Braves if you will.  There was no report of who was coming back to the Cubs from the Braves, so I was cautiously optimistic.  The fact that a MLB.com reporter broke this story made me feel like it was done.

After a number of other outlets took the story and ran with it, ESPN, and MLB Network to name a few, Keith Law offered the second part of the deal.  Around 1:51 PM CST Keith Law confirms that Randall Delgado was included in the deal from the Braves side of things.  Cue mass excitement and shock from Cubs fans, and baseball insiders on twitter.  Joe Sheehan was shocked that the Cubs were able to grab Delgado for Dempster.  Kevin Goldstein suggested that Cubs fans should absolutely be thrilled with this deal.  Not going to lie, after hearing this news I was ready to publish a Randall Delgado post about how awesome it was that the Cubs were able to get a 22-year-old arm from the Braves.

As the excitement was building a truly “Cub moment” slapped me and the rest of Cubdom across the face around 2:38 PM CST.  Ryan Dempster’s foundation posted on their twitter account that there is no trade, they haven’t heard a thing.  Welp.  David Kaplan of CSN Chicago followed with “No trade”, wait, what just happened?  Multiple major outlets were reporting this deal as done, now we are hearing there is nothing in place?  This could only happen in a “trade” involving a Cubs player.

As we stumbled into the three o’ clock hour we got further confirmation that Ryan Dempster is still a Cub.  How do we know this?  Because he’s standing right there in the clubhouse in a Cubs uniform!  What is going on??  Cubs beat reporter Paul Sullivan dashed our hopes and dreams first, then he was followed by noted dream killer Doug Padilla.  Doug really isn’t a dream killer, I’m just calling him that for effect, Sullivan on the other hand, ehh.

With the visions of Randall Delgado wearing Cubbie Blue still fresh in our minds, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the deal is now up to Dempster.  Wait, there is hope?  You mean a deal really is in place and it’s only up to Dempster, who has made it widely known that the Braves are his number two team and given the fact he wants the best return for the Cubs there is no way this could go wrong!  Unfortunately that was really the last we heard of this deal being down to Dempster, the Atlanta Journal Constitution chimed in later in the evening backing up Nightengale’s statement, but all other outlets that originally reported a done deal are now tight-lipped for obvious reasons.

If you want a more detailed account of everything that happened I suggest you head over to Bleacher Nation where Brett as a stomach turning detailed account of it all, including 28 updates, it’s worth a read for sure.  My take on this is that there is a deal in place, or something close to a deal in place.  I think Dempster just has to say yes and that Major League Baseball has to approve the deal because there is a significant amount of money involved in it.  That’s just a guess, but if it really is down to Dempster saying yes, what happens if he doesn’t?  How would you feel about that considering Dempster has said all along that he want’s what is best for the Cubs, and that he would like to return next year.  Is he getting cold feet, or is he just excorsizing the rights that he has earned in the big leagues?  Let us know what you think, I will have updates as they come out today, I’m sure there will be plenty.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Countdown to the Deadline: Nationals Enter Dempster Derby

Lot’s of news to sift through today on the rumor front, so here goes..

The Nationals are the latest team to get involved with the Cubs and Ryan Dempster.  The thought here is that the Nationals want a veteran arm to help them down the stretch given the innings limit for Strasburg.  Assuming they adhere to that 160 inning limit they will have a hole in their rotation and instead of plugging a system guy into the rotation they want a legit top of the rotation guy, hence Dempster.  Ken Rosenthal wrote about the Nationals interest in Dempster earlier today.

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There is a reason that most of the rumors I report are about Ryan Dempster, Joel Sherman thinks it’s because Dempster is the first domino of the trade season.  For that reason, among others, the Cubs do not want to delay the trading of Ryan Dempster and would like to deal the right hander “this week” according to a MLB executive.

Ken Rosenthal speaks to that rumor about the Cubs wanting to move Dempster immediately as he says that the Cubs have started exchanging names with other teams.  He lists the “finalists” as the Dodgers, Tigers, Braves, Red Sox, and the Nationals.

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The Cubs other big trade arm, Matt Garza is also being asked about quite often.  Danny Knobler is reporting that the Kansas City Royals have asked about Garza as they want to add a big FA arm for the 2013 season.  Because Garza has one more year of control after this year he would fit the criteria of being that big arm for the 2013 Royals rotation.  The best news yet for the Royals is they wouldn’t have to convince Garza to sign as a FA, they just need to acquire him in a deal, not exactly an easy task but might be easier than obtaining a big arm on an open market.

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There have been a few reports that the Tampa Bay Rays are willing to move James Shields, and the Marlins might be interested in moving Josh Johnson.  The reason this is news to the Cubs is that it could add arms to the trade market, thus lowering the value of a Matt Garza.  I haven’t seen anything concrete about Shields or Johnson but there are whispers about them being available.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Countdown to the Deadline: Dempster Deal Coming Shortly

I mentioned it in the game recap yesterday, but all signs are pointing to Ryan Dempster being traded before his next start.  Buster Olney offered up a guess on Twitter today when asked if Ryan Dempster would make his next start in a Cubs uniform, his guess?  No.  Now Dempster might be traded in the next couple of days, but remember, Dempster has to agree to any deal that the Cubs agree to.  So technically, Dempster could allow this to go on for as long as HE wants to, I don’t think he would do that to the Cubs or to the team that acquires him.  Olney also mentioned that the Cubs are trying to deal Dempster as soon as possible so that they do not influence the trade market of fellow starter Matt Garza.

So where will Dempster go?  It’s anyone’s guess right now as it seems the number of teams increases with each start Dempster makes.  Bruce Levine is reporting that up to ten teams are in hot pursuit of Dempster, some more so than others obviously.  Levine suggests that some of the teams are as follows, in no particular order, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves.

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Another name that is starting to gain a head of steam in the trade chatter is Alfonso Soriano.  Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has suggested that Soriano would be a fit for the offensively challenged Tampa Bay Rays.  That is of course if the Cubs pickup $44 of the $46 million remaining on Soriano’s deal as one rival scout was quoted as saying.

Jed Hoyer understands that a number of Cubs players are going to be dealt, but he also understands that the fans want a quality product, “That’s where you sort of have to have that long view to make those moves,” Hoyer said. “But that’s why being in that position isn’t one you want to be in very often. You feel like, yes, you can make improvements for the long-term but there is a reason there are teams calling, because there are good players. I think that is never a good feeling.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Countdown to the Deadline: Dodgers Back on Dempster

Just before Ryan Dempster was placed on the DL there were very strong rumors suggesting that he was about to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Well, those rumors seem to be resurfacing.  As Jon Heyman suggests the Dodgers might want to make a huge splash and get both Dempster and Garza from the Cubs.  Now, given the fact that the Cubs want to get as much as possible back for both guys I would really doubt that they would agree to send both pitchers to the same team but as always it depends on the return.

From Heyman’s article

“The Dodgers have long been known to be targeting Dempster and are seen as a favorite for him. But it turns out they’ve had conversations about Garza, as well.

Either one would make a nice addition to the Dodgers, who’ve managed to hang onto first place despite a long absence by superstar Matt Kemp and several other injuries (Kemp is due back Friday, and Andre Ethier is expected back if not Friday, then a day or two after that). Ted Lilly, who is injured for the Dodgers, is close to Dempster from his Cubs days and would presumably recommend him highly.”

Heyman Continues

“The Dodgers have the money to take a decent-sized contract, but the Cubs prefer to get talent back from their top chips. Young pitcher Zach Lee is considered the Dodgers’ top prospect.”

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Of course, the Dodgers are not just going to be allowed to swoop in and have Dempster all to themselves.  Per Bruce Levine of ESPN, there are expected to be upwards of 10 scouts attending Dempsters Saturday start in Arizona.

The Ryan Dempster trading market will see a huge surge on Saturday as upwards of 10 teams will have scouts on hand to watch the Chicago Cubs’ veteran right-hander pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks. “

Some of the best players in their game also voiced their opinion of potentially landing Dempster at the deadline, this is the perfect storm for the Cubs, the more I see the more I think they could make a killing in a deal for both Dempster and Garza.

“When you see all the top teams in baseball, they are always deep in quality pitching,” the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp said. “If it is possible to add a pitcher like Ryan Dempster of course you would do it. He has been pitching great and he is healthy again, not to mention he has the best ERA in baseball. He would be a great addition.” 

Future Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones is a big Dempster fan. 

“Ryan is one of the most respected guys in baseball,” Jones said. “He goes out there every five days trying to stick it to you. Any team would be lucky to get him. We could use some help trying to catch the Nationals, so getting someone like Demp would certainly bolster our chances.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Countdown to the Deadline: Cubs Interested in Ryan Sweeney?

Today’s hot, well tepid, rumor of the day is a report out of Boston saying that the Cubs are interested in Ryan SweeneyPer BostonHerald.com writer Michael Silverman the Red Sox and Cubs have been discussing a deal that would bring Garza or Dempster to Boston in exchange for Ryan Sweeney and other players. 

“The Cubs are believed to be listening to offers for two of their starting pitchers: Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster. Sweeney would have to be part of a much larger package if either of those pitchers, particularly Garza, went to the Red Sox. . . .”

It’s an odd name to pop up in this discussion given the fact that the Cubs goal is to stock the system with prospects, specifically pitchers in any deal involving Dempster or Garza, and Sweeney is not a pitcher and not a prospect per say at 27 years old.  Maybe Theo and Jed see something, or maybe they are targeting a 2013 outfielder.  It could make sense, take it for what it’s worth, it’s just the start of a crazy month of rumors.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Countdown to the Deadline: Chicago Cubs Rumors

Depending on how you look at it the next three weeks could be exciting or gut wrenching.  Count me in for being excited, because within the next three weeks Theo Epstein and the Cubs are going to get better.  That’s the plan anyway as the Cubs have a number of attractive players that could net them a favorable return in a trade.

Seeing that we are now at the all-star break, which means a whole four days without Cubs baseball, what better time than now to start our countdown to the deadline.  We will have daily rumor updates, and trade news/analysis leading up to the deadline and then a deadline special on the 31st.  Trust me, you should be excited, check out some of the latest rumors below.

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According the MLB GM’s, Matt Garza is the most valuable pitcher on the trade market right now.  Yes, in a year where Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke are on the block, the majority of the general managers feel Garza is the #1 target.  Why?  Control, and a draft pick.  The Cubs are asking for three top pieces in return for Garza, and they just might get it.  Matt Garza is under team control for another year and a half, meaning if he is traded the team that gets him won’t have to worry about signing him to an extension right away.  A huge difference between Garza, and Hamels and Greinke is that a draft pick will still be attached to Garza, not the case for Hamels and Greinke, thanks CBA.

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Ryan Dempster returned from the DL yesterday and pitched awesome once again.  Per Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, a healthy amount of scouts expected to in attendance for Dempster’s return to the mound.  Demp definitely didn’t do anything to hurt his trade value as he extended his scoreless streak to 27 innings.  The Dodgers, Yankees, and the Braves have shown interest in Dempster, the Dodgers and Yankees showing the most.  The Cubs have also let it be known that they will eat almost all of the Dempster’s remaining contract for this season which should increase the return in a deal.

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The Tigers have expressed interest in Darwin Barney and went as far as approaching the Cubs about a deal.  Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that talks really didn’t progress from there.  The Tigers also expressed interest in Matt Garza, the fact that the Tigers are looking at two guys on the Cubs could lend itself to a bigger deal.  You can read all about that here, Morosi mentions that the Cubs and Tigers discussed a potential deal for Garza back in January but could not reach an agreement.

Thanks for reading,
– George