This morning, I explained why you should be watching the Iowa Cubs tonight to see if Casey Coleman made his scheduled start. If the Cubs were going to deal Ryan Dempster before his start in St. Louis tomorrow, they were going to need someone to take his place.
Well, I was onto something: Casey Coleman has been scratched, and Ken Rosenthal reports that a AAA pitcher will head to St. Louis to join the Cubs, just in case he’s needed to start. Putting two and two together, that AAA pitcher is almost certainly Coleman.
It doesn’t mean a deal is about to happen, but it definitely means something is close.
And, what do you know, here’s what I tweeted earlier this afternoon on Dempster: a Cubs source (a good one) told me earlier today that a Dempster trade was “very close,” and the Cubs had two deals on the table for him – the implication being that the Cubs were choosing from among those deals. From the Coleman news, it sounds like my source was right.
I did some digging to try and confirm, and to find out the details of those two prospective deals, and here’s all I could come up with: a separate industry source couldn’t confirm the imminence of the deal, but suggested that one of the two teams is almost certainly the Dodgers, and the other is probably an NL team (so it likely isn’t the Tigers). The Braves would seem the most likely, and boy wouldn’t you love to know what that offer looks like? The Dodgers offer, we’ve heard before, is probably something in the range of pitching prospects Garrett Gould and Chris Withrow.
Dempster played catch with his son at Wrigley for 45 minutes before today’s game, so it’s fair (though not conclusive) to speculate that he knows he won’t make another start at Wrigley. Of course, that, alone, doesn’t mean a deal comes down before his start tomorrow – he isn’t due to start again at Wrigley for 10 days. Maybe he was just being pragmatic. Or maybe he just wanted to play catch with his son. Before the game, Dempster said there was “nothing imminent,” as far as he knew. It’s nice of him to comment, but I’m not sure we can really put any weight in that statement, for a number of reasons.
With Coleman joining the Cubs tomorrow, I’d guess we’re fairly likely to hear something on Dempster “very soon.”
UPDATE: The Cubs’ official word on the Coleman scratch is that it’s just in case recently-acquired Justin Germano (about which, more in a moment) can’t make it to St. Louis in time. I appreciate the Cubs’ effort to preserve leverage, but I say, eh. They could have held out relievers like Jeff Beliveau or Alberto Cabrera (both already on the 40-man, neither is a service time concern) if they wanted to have a back-up plan, rather than scratch Iowa’s starting pitcher. I’m not saying their explanation isn’t legit, I’m just saying … well, I’m sticking to everything I wrote before the update.