The latest from the just-starting-to-kindle mid-season stove…

  • So, Roy Oswalt has officially signed with the Texas Rangers for $5 million (not prorated) and $1 million in incentives. What does this mean for the Cubs? Well, at its outer limits, it’s probably good, or at least neutral, news for the Cubs. The Rangers, to the extent they were in the market for a starting pitcher, were probably looking at most for a short-term fill-in type (they were looking to make the move primarily because Neftali Feliz is injured). That means the Rangers very likely wouldn’t have been in the market for Matt Garza, if he becomes available. It’s possible they would have looked at Ryan Dempster, but the Rangers wanted someone as quickly as possible (Oswalt could be ready to pitch in as few as two or three weeks), and the Cubs might not deal Dempster until late July. That is all to say, Oswalt going to the Rangers probably didn’t harm the Cubs’ market for Garza and Dempster (again, assuming they are made available).
  • Speaking of Garza, Phil Rogers wonders why the Cubs would feel pressured to make a decision on Garza by the trade deadline. He suggests that the Cubs can just wait this year out, and make a decision about whether to trade Garza next year. Phil: Garza’s value in trade drops dramatically if the Cubs wait to trade him in the offseason. Further, you risk injury or extended ineffectiveness absolutely destroying his trade value. If the Cubs are going to trade Garza, this season is the time to do it.
  • Speaking of Dempster, Rogers believes Dempster is worth more to the Cubs than another team, and, if traded, wouldn’t net “a ton” in return. It depends on your definition of “a ton,” but Dempster is likely to be one of the top few pitchers available this Summer, albeit as a mere rental. The Cubs will be able to get enough in return to justify making a trade, of that I’m certain. The questions, instead, remain: will Dempster accept a trade, do the Cubs want Dempster back next year, and do the Cubs think Dempster would accept a “qualifying offer” (approximately $12.5 million for 2013) if they tried to keep him and get draft pick compensation for him after the season? Ultimately, I think a trade is the most likely outcome, but it’s a mighty close call.
  • Bruce Levine chatted yesterday, and offered some thoughts: (1) Josh Vitters isn’t going to replace Ian Stewart any time soon; (2) Theo and Jed are studying Matt Garza’s starts closely to decide whether he’s the “ace” they want to commit to long-term; (3) Alfonso Soriano might be playing too well to release but not well enough to be traded; (4) teams aren’t yet thinking about adding bats, and are instead focusing on pitching; (5) Geovany Soto cannot be traded until he shows he can hit; (6) Bruce thinks the idea of trading Dempster in July and then re-signing him in the offseason is unlikely (I always tell folks that kind of setup never happens, though I can’t help but wonder if Dempster is the exception, given the unique circumstances of the Cubs’ building process, Dempster’s affection for the Cubs and Chicago, and the fact that Dempster would have to agree to the trade in the first place); (7) the Cubs aren’t looking at a Jeff Samardzija extension just yet; and (8) Bruce keeps trying to find out Jorge Soler information, but nobody is talking.
  • ETS

    Maybe the Texas signing of Oswalt will put pressure on the Angels to acquire pitching (IE Demp or Garza or both)

  • @cubsfantroy

    I’d rather keep Garza and ink him to a 3-4 year extension. Although I don’t want them to overpay which is exactly what Garza wants. I don’t see him as a number one, but he wants number one money. I don’t see Soto going anywhere unless the Cubs are hoping for a low A ball prospect with no chance to move up.

    • hansman1982

      It seems to me that Garza is almost trying to hurt the Cubs ability to trade him by having high demands for an extension. Seems like he wants to stay with one club until he hits free agency at the end of next year.

      • ETS

        Eh, guy has already been traded around. You can’t blame him for wanting more stability in the future, but I don’t see the cubs giving him a NTC so my guess is he gets traded.

  • Poopypants McGee

    I guarantee that Dempster resigns with the cubs this off season when he is traded this year. I bet that is the only way he waives his no trade clause

    • White Sox Nation

      Hey Shit in the pants your everything that is wrong with the so called Cub fan !!!! Dempster has waived his no trade which was no big shock to smart fans. And this isn’t fantasy Island and he will not be traded and resign back here next season… So go drink another ButtWiper Beer or PBR you moron so shut your yapp and go Shit yourself some more.

      • Brett

        You’re close to the edge, dude. Clean it up. Knock of the name-calling, and the smugness. You can make your point without that stuff.

        • MichiganGoat

          Well it is White Sox Nation, so what can you expect?

          • White Sox Nation

            Expect that I know more about the Cubs then most of the so called Cub fan’s and if you noticed I like most White Sox fan’s don’t dislike the Cubs in fact I root for them unless of course they are playing the White Sox! But I would expect your comment from a so called Cub fan!

            • 100 Years of Tears

              That’s all well and good. But please don’t come here and spout insults. This thread now has a stink about it. I think you’ll find that the people posting at BN are very knowledgeable Cubs fans that can debate in a respectable and educated manner. If you’d like to act like a meat head and make your anonymous insults, please go to the Tribune site,, or Bleacher Report. Those comments tend to be up your alley. Thanks.

        • White Sox Nation

          Fair enough I’ll clean it up you are correct but I cannot stand stupidity . But again I can use better vocab in my post. Smug nah have a great day :) And if that guy wants respect why call himself pooppants just saying?

      • baldtaxguy

        I don’t think its a stretch that Dempster could at least think about the Cubs as an option when a FA. As has been said frequently here, it doesn’t happen all the time. Maybe he wins a WS this year and checks that off his goal list, and decides a mentoring role for a young pitching staff is an attractive situation. I think he likes Sveum, he likes Chicago, the FO…I don’t see it as a stupid thought, just lower probability.

        • White Sox Nation

          Would be nice to happen that way I hope it does but I’m not confident he comes back .

  • Norm

    People will surely be disappointed with the return on Dempster…it could be a top 10 prospect and people would still voice disapproval; but more likely it’s a guy in the back end or not even on a Top 100 list.

    • Luke

      It’s tough to estimate the value of Dempster in a trade under the new CBA.  Under the old rules, the team trading for him could be fairly confident of getting an extra draft pick the following season, and that would increase his value.  That’s gone now.

      On the other hand, that could lead to teams hanging on to the players they might want to make that qualifying offer to (in hopes of an extra pick).  That could lead to a scarcity of pitchers available for trade and serve to increase his value.

      We’re in slightly uncharted waters here.

      • Kyle

        Which is good. Uncertainty creates market inefficiencies, and I have faith our guys are better poised to take advantage of them than others’.

      • baldtaxguy

        And maybe their is a value uptick with more buyers as a result of the add’l wild card…?

  • Mike

    “Rogers believes Dempster is worth more to the Cubs than another team”

    I find that difficult to believe, since he’s worth virtually nothing to the Cubs with the new CBA.

  • Patrick

    I am liking Stewart for now at 3B, the Cubs are not competing and maybe he can have a confidence booster after last years dismal year. Vitters though is doing well in AAA and think eventually they should move Stewart to 2B and see what Vitters can do in the Majors if he continues to do well in the minors.

    RF Dejesus
    SS Castro
    LF LaHair
    1B Rizzo
    2B Stewart
    3B Vitters
    C Soto/Clevenger/Castillo/Hill(hope he’s gone soon)
    CF Jackson

    • John Moore

      Patrick, You may have difficulty in believing this, but Stewart is considered one of the finest defensive third basemen in baseball, why would you move him to 2b? He did preform well for the Rockies at 2b, one of only a few to learn a “new” position, at the big league level, no easy chore, especaily 2b, with the turnnig the double play requirements, Vitters is not athletic, has an inferior arm for the hot corner, and has limited range. You gonna change someone…….best be Vitters. By the way, I like Vitters, and scouted him when he was at Cypress Hi, in California.

      • Patrick

        I know Stewart is great defensively, just an option. I don’t get to see many of the games because I’m in New York, but I’ve heard he would be able to make the switch. I’d be willing to switch that like you said.

    • White Sox Nation

      Again another moron who doesn’t get you would move that sack of shit Stewart who by the way is and has been his whole life a 3B!!!!! So because you want him to play 2B that makes sense and we should just get rid of Barney who is a 2B…. WOW you are really smart baseball person aren’t you!!!!!

  • Nathan

    The Cubs are working out Puerto Rico High School SS at Wrigley today. This kid is already 6’4 and only 17 years old. He will most likely be moved to third base or outfield. If he is available when the Cubs draft, I would not be upset with this pick.

    • Kyle

      I get the impression he’s not going to make it to No. 6.

    • Luke

      That sounds like Correa.  He’ll probably be on the board, depending on what Seattle does.  As far as we know, the draft looks like this:

      1 – Houston – Appel.  Rumors are pretty consistent on this one.

      2 – Minnesota – Buxton.  This one is pretty likely too.

      3 – Seattle – Zunino OR Correa.  Latest reports are that Seattle is settling on Zunino.

      4 – Baltimore – Zunino OR Buxton. If neither are available Zimmer OR Gausman.  Correa is not impossible here, but is a long shot.  Since Zunino and Buxton are likely off the board, most expect them to take Gausman.

      5 – Kansas City – Whichever college pitchers is left.  If they have a choice between Gausman and Zimmer (because both Correa and Zunino went ahead of them), then I think they’ll Gausman.  I’m not really sure they care which they get, so long as they get one.

      6 – Cubs – The most likely scenario (Zunino at 3, Gausman at 4, Zimmer at 5) leaves the Cubs without a top three college arm to draft.  Then they’ll pick from Correa, Almora, and Fried (most likely… but some level of doubt here).  If one of the top three college pitchers is still available, the Cubs will almost certainly grab him.

      • Patrick

        IMO the first 2 picks are likely Appel and Buxton. That leave Gausman, Zunino, Zimmer and Correra, which any of those I would be happy with. Either 1 of the 2 college pitchers will be available, which is most likely pick if they are available. But Zunino is a top catching prospect and Correra could have the highest upside in the draft. Any of these I will be happy about. Go Cubs!!

      • When the Music’s Over

        If the top 3 college starters are gone, and Correa and Buxton round out the top 5, would you expect the Cubs to take Zunino? Would that pick go over well with you? What are the other options if this scenario plays out? Almora or Fried?

        It would be really cool if teams could trade draft picks, but not sure how that would work with the slotted signing bonuses.

        • Luke

          I’m not as high on Zunino as most are.  I would have no problem with the pick, but I would prefer Almora or Fried.

          I don’t think Zunino falls past Baltimore, though.

          • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            I hope we go after Fried. I don’t think it’s a pick we can really go wrong, because our hand is forced. Giolito would be great, but I don’t see the front office taking a risk in the first draft. Hopefully it is either Almora or Fried.

          • Jim L.

            If Baltimore takes Zunino, does that mean Wieters is headed for full-time DH duty when Zunino is ML-ready?

            • Kyle

              That’s a “we’ll figure it out in four years if it’s a problem” problem.

              • Luke

                Exactly.  Odds are it will never be a problem.

                Even for the best prospects, major league success is by no means certain.. or even terribly likely.

  • JulioZuleta

    Hey Brett, not sure if you posted this anywhere yet:
    “Cubs President Of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein Sits Down With “Sportfolio” Wednesday at 9 ET/8CT on Bloomberg TV
    Extensive interview with Cubs top baseball executive highlights “Theo’s Second Act””

    Sounds interesting. We’ll all watch and report (see: do your job for you) while you’re out playing…kickball…

    • Brett

      Ha. Thanks. I do have a DVR, you know…

  • WGNstatic

    I will be interested to see how the new CBA impacts the frequency of guys being traded then resigning with their old team.

    In the past this was complicated by the likelihood of giving up draft picks. For example after Ted Lilly was traded to get him back would have cost a 1st round pick, which frankly was near the value of what the Cubs got for him in the first place.

    With that gone, it will be interesting to see if a guy like Dempster might be resigned by the Cubs after they trade him.

    Of course there are tons of other factors, but…

  • czechxican

    Crazy thought: what if the Cubs are trying to just wear out Soriano to the point that his knees just wont alow himself to play outfield the rest of the year?

    • Joe

      What if Sorri is just “playing” the Cubs and there really isn’t anything wrong with his knees?

      • czechxican

        It is strange isn’t it? I mean, Soriano is having his best year in the outfield since 07 (not the throwing out guys though), and yet he’s hobbling every game by the 7th inning. They never take him out for defensive purposes, and he miraculously makes every start. Something going on here.

  • BleedBlueinWNeb

    mlbtraderumors just posted payroll commitments for 2013…the cubs come in 23rd at just $35 million. nice to see that number so low! lots of flexibility and lots of big decisions still to come as far as shaping this roster for the next 4 to 5 years.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Wow, if they didn’t have Soriano’s on there it would be under $20 million.

  • Diesel

    Dempster would have to give one hell of a discount to the cubs if he blocked a trade and wanted to come back. There is no way management lets him block a chance to acquire a prospect and then gives him the moon. If they do maybe they aren’t as good as we all believe.

  • Dan

    Trade Garza. Trade Dempster. Trade anbody else that is relatively old. It’s time to stock pile on young talent and build around the likes of Castro, Rizzo, etc.

  • Tim

    leave the team to jedstein

  • Cubmig

    Funny no one mentioned or expressed curiosity re: Soler. Soler is now a “mystery” name growing in intrigue….

    • djriz

      Is the deadline to sign Soler (before new CBA) June 2 or July 2? Anyone?

      • Brett

        July 2 (and it’s not really a deadline – it’s just the date when spending restrictions kick in, and he makes a whole lot less money (and the Cubs lose whatever advantage they might have had)).

        • Njriv

          July 2nd, I remember because that’s my birthday

  • Assman22

    Soler will be signed before July 2nd

    • Brett

      I hope you’re right. Last we heard it was “imminent,” no?

      • Cubbie Blues

        It was imminent last year.

    • TWC

      Let’s just hope it’s by the Cubs, eh?

  • Spencer

    I still don’t believe Garza’s value drops “dramatically”. The rest of the stuff in that bullet is legit though.

  • Assman22

    Soler to hit free agency just before or just after draft