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The Wife and I head home today after a nice Chicago visit. Bullets…

  • Every article everywhere about yesterday’s 3-0 Cubs win over the Red Sox has one theme (aside from the whole Theo Epstein thing): if it was Ryan Dempster’s last start with the Cubs, it was a great way to go out. Forgetting the fact that we don’t really have a reason to believe this particular start was his last with the Cubs (even if we’re pretty certain he’s going to be traded in the coming weeks), I’d rather just focus on the fact that Dempster is pitching the best baseball of his career right now. You’d have to be tone deaf to ignore the obvious impact his performance could have on his trade value, but I’m not exactly interested in treating every single one of Dempster’s next three, four, five (however many) starts as his swan song. For now, I just want to see Dempster pitch well – for a number of reasons – and we’ll celebrate his time with the Cubs when he’s actually moved on.
  • For his part, Dempster remains a head-d0wn, just-do-my-best kind of guy. “I’m not naïve. I’m not oblivious to what’s going on,” Dempster said. “It’s one of those things where if I focused on that, or worried about that, I wouldn’t be doing a very good job as a teammate. Whatever ends up happening ends up happening. Right now, I’m here and love being here and everybody knows that. I love the city of Chicago and playing for the Cubs.”
  • I said a couple weeks ago that the Cubs had to be hoping that Carlos Marmol could string together just a few decent outings in middle relief so that they’d have an excuse to put him back in the closer’s role, where he could theoretically regain just a shred of trade value. And, yesterday, that plan came to fruition as Marmol got the closer’s job back. It was a dicey 9th (not entirely his fault), but he got the save without giving up a run. Dale Sveum had to pop out to have a chat with Marmol at one point, and Marmol said it was not a friendly discussion. “He didn’t tell me any nice thing,” Marmol said. “He let me [stay in]. It was nice, and I appreciate it. He said to just throw strikes, ‘I don’t want to take you out of the game, let’s go.’”
  • Dempster won $500 from Tony Campana by getting a triple before the speedster did. How has Campana not turned a double into a triple yet?
  • Luis Valbuena will be the primary starter at third base while Ian Stewart is out. “There’s his defense, a left-handed bat, he can drive the ball; I’ll keep him in there,” Sveum said. “He was swinging the bat real well down there so you try to keep that left-handed bat in that lineup as much as you can.” Not Adrian Cardenas? Not even sharing time? Shrug. I’ve gotta believe a small part of the reason we’ll see more of Valbuena than someone like Cardenas is because Valbuena’s defense (theoretically), like Stewart’s, helps the Cubs’ pitchers. And, the better they do over the next month, the better things are for the Cubs’ front office.
  • The Cubs are thinking about going with three catchers when Geovany Soto is ready to return from the disabled list. Since Steve Clevenger can play other positions, it might make some sense, but, then again, who gets the boot from the bench? Cardenas? Then your only back-ups at shortstop are starting elsewhere (Barney and Valbuena). Baker? Only if he’s traded. The concept of carrying three catchers, one of whom can “play elsewhere” is interesting in theory, but in practice, it makes for some difficult roster decisions unless there are trades in the works.
  • A great article on Matt Garza and his military dad. I won’t call the man the cat’s pajamas because of the obvious whimsy, but I will say that the guy sounds like a seriously impressive dude.
  • Josh Beckett, who was scheduled to pitch tomorrow night for the Red Sox, will have his start skipped as he deals with shoulder inflammation. Lefty Franklin Morales will take the start instead, although the setup man hasn’t started a game since 2009.
  • Peter Gammons interviewed Theo Epstein. In part, Epstein talks about having to “scratch and claw” to bring needed talent to the Cubs.
  • Congrats to blaker19 for winning the one-day fantasy contest, and to trd110, bolton143, illinibutts, and cubsnation for rounding out the top five. I finished in the top 30%, so I’m pretty satisfied with having beat 70% of you. Keep your eyes peeled for the next one in a few weeks.
  • @cubsfantroy

    I don’t want to see Dempster go. :(

    I am a realist though, so I know it is going to happen eventually.

  • Deez

    Someone better hurry up & trade for Dempster before it’s too late! He’s pitching lights out!
    His value is goin’ thru the roof!

  • Dan

    Dempster will be gone. Fact. So what can the Cubs potentially get for him? 2 top 10 prospects at least?

    • Kyle

      I’d rather have one really good prospect than two okay-ish ones, but I suspect we’ll get two okayish ones.

    • The Show

      I think that’s a little too much for a rental player, maybe 1 on the mid to lower half of the their top 10 and another maybe top 15-20.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        That’s about the best I’d expect, also. But I’m open to being pleasantly surprised at this point.

        • cubspong

          What do you think it would take to get a top pitching prospect like Dylan Bundy? Would a combination of Dempster and Soriano (where we pay for most if not all of his remaining contract) net a prospect of that caliber? Or are prospects such as these unattainable for the cubs right now.

          • TC

            Not even remotely possible to pry a guy like Bundy away, for almost any package. I’d imagine that the Orioles would to ask for Rizzo, Garza, Dempster, Jackson, and Baez to even consider such a trade.

            Bundy is simply not going to happen for any team

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            As untouchable as it gets.

            • cubspong

              Oh okay thanks for your responses. This rebuild is going to be harder than I imagined. Isn’t it going to be hard to build a good team with lasting success if many of the future aces out there are all untouchable? I guess that’s why so many people think the cubs should obtain Hamels and or Grienke?

        • BN Virgin

          Given that criteria, what do you think the Blue Jays offer a package of Aaron Sanchez and Moises Sierra for Dempster? Would that be something the Cubs would go for? Or would they try to get another high upside pitcher out of the deal instead of Sierra?

  • JulioZuleta

    Ryan Dempster is 2nd in all of MLB in starter ERA.

  • Daniel

    I don’t want to give the impression that I’m stepping on toes, or criticizing. But it always makes me chuckle when people think it’s so crazy when an athlete does better than normal when it is a contract year. I respect demp. I appreciate demp. He is a very good guy. But, in many respects he’s just like any other guy out there. I wish there were more guys out there that gave that “contract year” effort every out of their career. Demp is still above average in this regards though, so don’t think I’m complaining too much…

  • LouCub

    If as many teams are as interested in Dempster like have been reported, the Cubs should realistically expect a top 10 prospect from some organization, plus another lower level player or 2…I could realistically see another Sean Marshall type return easily. and I love that trade potentially!!!

  • LouCub

    Garza is the ticket that will land the Cubs 2-3 top tier guys and that WILL happen before July 31st

  • Joepoe123

    International signing period coming up any players u like? I like Jose mujica compared to a young Felix Hernandez and Freddy Garcia and even better he seems like a real cubs way type player

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2012/index.jsp?c_id=chc

  • Joepoe123

    He is ranked 8 out of the top 20 international prospects

  • The Show

    Dempster to the Braves for Julio Teheran.

    • Cub Style

      Shooting for the sky there

  • Freshness21

    Seems like the Bluejays will be on the phone with Theo all morning. They might want Dempster and Wells to help fill that Red Cross rotation

  • Kevin

    Julio Teheran stats dont look good, I would hope the Cubs could get a much better package in return.

    • Ogyu

      Look at his AAA stats, dude. He’s a very highly-rated pitching prospect and probably is more than the Cubs can get for Dempster.

      • Glotzbach

        Demp and maybe Vitters?

  • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

    Not that I would have been in the money anyway, but man, did Mike Trout absolutely kill me in last night’s fantasy free-roll…Fricker!!!!

    • Leroy K.

      How many people were in it? I finished horrible at 93rd!!!! Hope I wasn’t last.

      • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

        I’m not sure, but I finished 12st, so, no, you weren’t in last place. I think there was over 300, so you finished top 1/3…not bad…

  • hardtop

    “Tony Campana by getting a triple before the speedster did. How has Campana not turned a double into a triple yet”

    you have to be able to hit a double in order to have the chance to stretch it into a triple. he doesnt have the power. love the guys hustle but you have to be able t hit out of the infield at some point.

  • Matt Murton

    Valbuena is just as highly regarded as Cardenas, if not more-so. Either way, the bigger issue here is that Vitters isn’t in a place to even be considered for the spot. Sadface

    • Jimmy james

      Given that theo said he wants his players to get a full season at triple a, I am not surprised he wasn’t in consideration…..his stock has up ticked a little this year but he’s at least a year away

  • Brady

    2 things I have to say based off this:

    -How the hell has Tony not gotten a triple yet and yet a man who starts once every 5 days as a pitcher gets one. Just insane and I bet Tony is gonna be kicking himself all the way to the bank.

    -Losing Cardenas wouldn’t be so bad. Baker could play 3rd or 2nd while Barney or Valbuena fills in for him. (I think he can play 2nd and I know he could play 3rd.)

    • NCMoss

      Because Adrian Gonzalez made a beautiful failed diving catch attempt.

      • Njriv

        Also the fact the Tony Callahan cant hit the ball out of the infield.

    • @cubsfantroy

      Baker needs to either be released or traded by the deadline. I don’t want him in the lineup at all.

      That being said, I am a Jeff Baker hater and I have been since the Cubs acquired him. He could lead the Cubs to the World Series breaking every single season batting record and I would still hate him. So yeah…

      • MichiganGoat

        Not sure about why you hate him, buy he does have little value right now but he is versatile player as a utility guy but he has lost his LHP dominance that made him worth having him around.

        • Glotzbach

          That’s true, they should have traded him and Reed last season.

        • @cubsfantroy

          Honestly, I would love to give you an answer as to why I really don’t like him. I guess hate is a rather strong word here, so I will say a strong dislike.

          There is just something about him that makes me not like him. I haven’t since the day he was acquired from Colorado. He annoys me for some reason. So yeah, there is no definitive reason other than I just don’t, if that makes sense.

          • Cubs Dude

            Agreed. Baker sucks balls, that’s pretty obvious. I cringe whenever I see that guy in the lineup.

            • notcubbiewubbie

              JEFF BAKER THE ERROR MAKER

  • Chase S.

    This is kind of a general question, as I’m still trying to study up on some of the sabremetrics and seeking clarity on some of them, including WAR. Would a player’s WAR be affected by the quality of the team around him, for example Starlin Castro’s WAR on the Cubs be different (higher) than if he were on a team like the Yankees? I have to say, I really enjoy reading this blog and reading all of the discussion, as I’ve learned a lot of how advanced stats, CBA, etc work into baseball. Thanks.

    • @cubsfantroy

      Good question. I don’t know enough about all the advanced stats that people spit out, but I am trying and I would love to hear an answer from someone who knows as well.

    • Kyle

      Well, first, anytime you mention “WAR,” you have to understand that there is no one stat called WAR. It’s more of a concept, and there are many different stats that try to measure it.

      But to answer your question, maybe and no. (Does that help? :) ).

      No, the stats that go into most WAR measurements are not team-dependent. If a guy hits a double, he gets credit for that double no matter how good or bad his team is. If some WAR formula determines that the average double is worth one run, and it takes 10 extra runs to win one extra game, then the player gets credited with 0.1 wins toward his WAR.

      Maybe, because we don’t know what Alternate Universe Yankee Starlin Castro would do. Maybe the Cubs being bad has caused him to be lazy, or maybe it’s caused too much pressure on him and made him play worse. Maybe the Cubs’ defensive instruction has made a huge impact and he’d be a worse defender anywhere else. Who knows, really.

    • Ogyu

      WAR. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. :-)

      • Chase S.

        Ogyu: Ha! Thanks for the explanation Kyle. I’ve read a few different explanations, all using a little bit of a variation of statistical measurements like UBR, UZR, etc. so I just wanted a little bit of clarity. All of them, though, also said that it’s an imperfect way to measure a player’s “worth.” My biggest question was weather if stats used in WAR were tangible stats (if that’s the right word) rather than comparing them to would-be stats of the replacement player. I think I’m starting to grasp the concept, but I guess I’m still confused as to what is considered a replacement player (the league avg. replacement player or their literal replacement player (or neither)). More than likely, though, I have no idea what’s going on.

        • Kyle

          The idea of a “replacement player” is a player you can get for free: costs you the major-league minimum and you can get him whenever you need.

          If the Cubs suddenly needed a 3b tomorrow, and they had to either pick up one off the waiver wire or call all the teams in the league and see who the best minor league 3b they could get for $1 or a bag of balls, the guy they could get would be replacement level.

  • Leroy K.

    “He let me [stay in]. It was nice, and I appreciate it. He said to just throw strikes, ‘I don’t want to take you out of the game, let’s go.’”

    The Red Sox announcer said Marmol, looked surprised when Sveum came out to talk to him. I was thinking to myself, “well fool, you loaded the bases duh. I would come out to talk to you too.”

  • Kevin

    What’s the best prospect and/or package of prospects the Cubs can expect for Dempster?

    • Matty Ice

      I said this yesterday, but with how well Dempster is pitching, the lack of starters on the market and the abundance of teams(thanks 2nd wild card) that need pitching, if Theo and Jed don’t get a top 50 guy or a couple top 100 guys then it should be considered a dissapointment.

    • Kyle

      Honest answer: We don’t know.

      The Kevin Goldstein podcast had a great little rant about trade predictions this week. It’s just impossible to know what MLB front offices are thinking until they’ve acted.

      I really doubt we’ll get someone in the Rizzo/Baez/Soler/Almora echelon, but other than that, nobody knows.

  • Stu

    Trade Dempster when his value is at its peak. Makes perfect sense.

    I would keep Garza and sign him to an extension. His trade value has gone down a little this year with his “performance”. You can always trade him next year with an extension in place. They need to have someone at the top of the rotation.

    Trade DeJesus with his trade value about as good as it will be and a decent trade value.

    Keep Lahair to pair up with Rizzo to give some exciting left-handed power for the next 3-4 years while the kids in the farm system mature.

    Trade or release Baker as he is just a fill-in and is blocking other players who need at-bats.

    Get Marmol in a position to look like a legit closer and trade to someone who is desparate with an injury to their closer.

    Keep Soriano because they need some right-handed power. Wouldn’t get much in return.

    Play Cardenas to see what you have in a 2nd baseman. Barney is already a known quantity and the Cubs can see if he can adjust to being a sub for both Castro and Cardenas.

    • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

      Where you going to play LaHair if you still have Soriano ? Barney is 3 times better than Cardenas and Valbuena.Barney is a solid ball player.He is playing a terrific 2B.He has 2 errors all year .He is hitting close to .280 You can bat him anywhere in the lineup ad he produces.Ihink Demp will net a number 2 or 3 pitching prospect, and a good lower level player.

    • GoldFinch

      Wow! I LOVE excellent comments. You just struck at the “heart” of what should be done!

  • Toby

    What is the fascination with Cardenas?

    • Glotzbach

      Its because he’s shown in the minors he can hit well, but he gets little to no playing time. He has around 30 or so at-bats and most of them came from pinch hitting like twice a week.

  • Mike S

    Brett,

    Any chance that we can get Zach Lee away from the Dodgers with either Dempster or Garza?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      My from-the-hip thinking is possibly for Garza, not for Dempster.

  • Kevin

    Demster and LeHair could probably get it done.

    • Cubs Dude

      The whole sitting LaHair against lefties in favor of Jeff Baker thing has to kill LaHair’s value. I love LaHair, but really how much value can a guy who platoons with turdmaster J. Baker bring in a trade?

  • Kevin

    The cubs are making decisions so they position themselves to get the #1 pick in next years draft. This platoon thing against lefties is just an excuse not to play him. If, in fact, this reduces LeHairs trade value then it’s best to keep him

  • Deer

    LaHair is terrible against lefties. If he wasn’t being platooned, his avg. would be in the .270s by now. Whether he should be getting that chance is a separate question.

    • Cubs Dude

      I would take a .270 avg with a few more homers and more rbi’s with a chance to see him everyday. At least he adds some type of presence in the lineup even though he does suck against lefties. Other teams know that LaHair must be really bad against lefties too.

  • Cheryl

    Vrery little. But the sooner LaHair is out of this platooning situation that Sveum has created with Baker the better. But look for his at bats to get worse when they platoon Baker, LaHair and one of the catchers.

  • Jimmy james

    Can’t wait for the rizzo baker platoon :)

    • Glotzbach

      lol Fuck that!

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