Theo Epstein said yesterday that phone calls between teams are picking up, and that he sees now as the time for the Cubs to be open to deals that could improve the organization long term. So, unsurprisingly, Cubs related rumors are kicking up like mid-June fireflies. Or some other folksy analogy.
- Rumors are really flying about Ryan Dempster, who may well be the first Cubs player to be dealt this Summer (yup, I capitalized “Summer” – that’s my rule, because there is no logical reason that seasons should not be capitalized). The Dodgers are a team we’re likely to hear quite a bit about until/if Dempster is traded. Danny Knobler says the Dodgers are “definitely” interested in Dempster, and Ken Rosenthal quotes a rival GM who calls Dempster a “classic [Dodgers GM] Ned Colletti buy.” The Dodgers are loaded with pitching prospects (most of their top 10 prospects before the season were pitchers), so there might be a fit there. Knobler says he hears that Dempster could be moved around the All-Star break.
- The real question with Dempster continues to be: how much is he worth? You know the competing arguments: either the new CBA’s limitation on draft pick compensation (if Dempster is dealt, his new team can’t get draft pick compensation if he departs as a free agent) will reduce the return on a rental player like Dempster, or the added Wild Card will leave more teams in contention, thus creating a strong seller’s market and increasing the return on a rental player like Dempster. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s David O’Brien discusses both issues when it comes to the Braves trading for Dempster, and concludes that the latter concern is the more troubling one for the Braves. In other words, he thinks Dempster’s price might be too steep for the Braves.
- Speaking of a Dempster trade, would you like to smile in spite of yourself? Well, here goes. Usually, when you look at local (i.e., non-Chicago) write-ups of proposed trades, the suggested return to the Cubs is a pittance. For example, Matt Garza to the Yankees? You might read in a New York paper that Delin Betances would get the job done (ridiculous). You get the idea. So when I read in MLive – a Detroit site – that “[i]f the Cubs are willing to settle for Turner and Crosby [for Dempster], the Tigers would be wise to consider finalizing the trade.” Um, I don’t know how to respond without tearing the corners of my mouth from smiling too aggressively. Suffice it to say that, if the Tigers were willing to deal Turner, alone, for Dempster, the Cubs would probably kill themselves trying to ensure that Dempster accepted the trade.
- David Schoenfield offers some Dempster trade proposals, most of which are for far too much or far too little.
- Ken Rosenthal (article linked above) suggests that the Indians could be a landing spot for Alfonso Soriano, since they need cheap power.
- Nick Cafardo took to the Twitters about the Cubs yesterday, dropping a number of thoughts: (1) he quotes an AL exec on why teams will want Dempster: “He’s pitching well and he’d give you a good character guy/leader,” (2) he expects Theo to be busy this trade deadline, with Dempster, Matt Garza, and Soriano all capable of being moved, (3) he says the Red Sox will explore (and probably have already explored) acquiring Garza, and (4) the Cubs will eat most of Soriano’s contract in order to move him.
- The Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Phillies have been scouting Cubs players of late, says Gordon Wittenmyer. The Blue Jays have a ridiculous farm system, so getting them involved in any kind of deal would be swell. The Phillies are an interesting case as they have many needs, but they are also kind of a sinking stone right now.