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Because of the unusual circumstances of tonight’s game – is Ryan Dempster going to start, is he not? – and because the family and I are going to be on the road, driving tonight, I’m throwing up the Pre-Gamin’ a lot earlier than usual. Fear not: I’ll be following things closely, and will alert you as soon as something breaks with respect to Dempster’s start (or a trade). So don’t take his inclusion here as a certainty that he’ll actually be starting – but he’s still scheduled to start as of this moment.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (38-53) at St. Louis Cardinals (47-45), 7:15pm CT on WGN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

The Series Preview for this series lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Ryan Dempster (5-3, 1.86 ERA, 3.00 K/BB)

versus

Kyle Lohse (9-2, 2.80 ERA, 3.33 K/BB)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

(This is a guess, because the Cards haven’t released their lineup yet.)

1. Rafael Furcal, SS

2. Jon Jay, CF

3. Carlos Beltran, RF

4. Matt Holliday, LF

5. Lance Berkman, 1B

6. David Freese, 3B

7. Yadier Molina, C

8. Skip Schumaker, 2B

9. Kyle Lohse, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David JeJesus, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Bryan LaHair, RF

6. Steve Clevenger, C

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Luis Valbuena, 3B

9. Ryan Dempster, P

  • Aaron

    This will be an interesting couple of hours to watch. Then again, they may let him go out there and throw, and keep the trade talks alive through the weekend.

    • MaxM1908

      Olney reporting that the talks will continue AFTER he starts tonight.

      Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN

      A handful of teams dabbling in Ryan Dempster trade talks,and some proposals have been exchanged. Talk will continue after he starts tonight.

      • Aaron

        I guess if he throws another 6 or 7 scoreless it would be that much more leverage to secure a bigger haul.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    http://m.mlb.com/chc/news/article/2012072035233394/ Almora and Soler aka “Baseball Brothers”

    • Cyranojoe

      Brett linked to that in the bullets. Good read, super exciting… well, maybe it shouldn’t be so exciting, it’s just two kids getting along, but still…

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        Ah sorry Brett, missed that one… But as you said ^^ very good read. Exiting to know these two will grow and develop together.

  • Toby

    I predict that some Cub fans won’t like any LAD deal if Lee is not included. Cubs could get #2, 3, and 4 Dodgers prospects, but if Lee’s not included will see the FO as a failure.

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      I personally would take Reed over Lee but I know Lee has a lot more upside…

    • LWeb23

      Hell if we got #3,4, and 5 I would be happy. That’s a heck of a haul.

    • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

      Toby You are wrong , If we get 2 of these 3 Reed , Evoladi or Alan Webster. It woul be a great deal. I think Theo wants Evoladi, so he can go right into the rotation.Webster is struggling in AA. Reed is in double A also, as a reliever ( LHP )

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        That would be a great deal.

      • Toby

        I think some are missing my point. There are some who are so fixated on getting Lee that any other sort of deal seems like failure and the Cubs didn’t get true value for Demp much like getting Cast from Detroit.

  • thejackal

    dont know alot bout baseball this year doing fantasy game to help out BN any ieas fielder or braun tonite

  • thejackal

    forget lee dodgers have a couple other nice prospects i dnt expect lee in a deal for a 2 month rental i hope dodgers get ramirez aramis gm says money not issue dont be suprised if aram a dodger

  • I traded for Ryno. Dallas Green.

    why start dempster? skip him till sunday. what if a fluke happens tonite and he gets hurt; bunts a ball into his face, gets run over at 1st covering the bag, his spikes catch on the mound?………….if team theo thinks by sunday he’s gone; it’s FREAKIN’ stupid to start him tonite.

    • Kevin

      Agree 100%. Do not start Dempster!

  • Fastball

    Doesn’t seem like the Cubs are really that close to pulling off a deal for Dempster. If he pitches tonight then the deal with LA must not be acceptable. Maybe Theo should sign him to an extension for 2 years and then try to trade him. Doesn’t appear that the market is bearing the fruit Theo thought he would get.

  • HuskerCub

    What are the chances he starts this game wearing a Cardinal uniform ;)

  • Kevin

    Breaking News!

    The Dodgers have a trade proposal for Ryan Dempster on the table.

    Same story to follow……….

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Haha yeah these rumors/reports are getting extremely annoying.

  • North Side Irish

    Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi
    If #Cubs like #Tigers Class AA reliever Bruce Rondon, I could see a fit between the teams for Ryan Dempster. But long way from that to deal.

    Looked good enough to make the Futures Game. Interesting idea…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Intriguing yes. But I’d love to at least get a starting prospect out of the deal.

    • Ryan G

      Don’t think Cubs would settle for him. They want more than just a reliever.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Rondon alone shouldn’t get it done, but this guy is a very good reliever prospect. He would easily join Dolis as the most likely candidates to be the closer of the future.

        • Ryan G

          I’m not saying he wouldn’t, just that there’s no way he alone would do it.

  • Fastball

    Fox Sports is saying the Dempster saga could last several more days. reported on Fox Sports about an hour ago.

  • EQ76

    I’m just fine with this taking a bit longer.. Jed/Theo need to get the best deal they possibly can for Dempster..If that takes a little bit longer, then so be it. I’d rather have the right deal then make a hasty move.

  • Ryan

    I hope he starts if he isn’t traded, I’d like to shut up the Cards fans here and also see that streak extended. I also hope they can work out a deal with Washington, I’m a big fan of that farm system.

  • gutshot5820

    Ugh.. why can’t this be over. The Cubs have nothing to gain by waiting on Dempster and everything to lose. They should just delay his start if they are still fielding offers. Off topic, but can someone explain to me with the Cubs being a one of the BIg market teams, why they can’t build their farm and compete on the Major league level on parallel fronts as promised. With them having one of the highest ticket prices they should have a payroll of 130-150 million every year, They can trade for a guy like Headley at third, sign Michael Bourn CF plus another impact outfielder, add Sanchez and McCarthy, and they still would have enough money for a closer. If you could sign those guys on 3-4 yrs deal and pay higher dollars per year, they would not block the kids and the farm would be used to replenish the Major league club when the time is right. If they kept Garza, this club could do some serious damage next year.

    Can anyone tell me why this is not a good idea or why this is not possible?

    • dudeski

      A. spending big money on guys like bourn whose game is based on their speed is extremely stupid
      B. trading for headley will wipe out the farm system
      C. mccarthy’s arm is ready to fall off

      • gutshot5820

        You miss my point… opinions on different players will vary but the point is they should be adding free agents on short term contracts to compete starting next year and SPEND the money they are charging for high ticket prices. They can build up their farm and still compete at the SAME time on parallel fronts. Why not? The time to add free agents is now, not in 3-4 yrs, that’s absolutely ridiculous for a Big market team like the Cubs, Especially with the added Wild Card.

        • djriz

          here’s the thing, most free agents worth anything will NOT be looking for short term contracts. if a free agent is out there that will still be in his prime when the FO thinks we’ll be competitive, they would probably go for it.

          • gutshot5820

            So why not overpay and go after the best available free agents you can that will accept 2-4 yr deals? Only the few elite free agents can expect 5 yr deals or longer. If they field a team with a 60-70 million payroll next year, it will be ridiculous. Would you rather see the Cubs at least compete for a WIld Card or have the Ricketts pocket the money? As long as they can compete without hurting the farm development, what is the problem with trying to compete next year?

            • dudeski

              you want the cubs to overpay despite the fact that overpaying is why the cubs are in the mess that they are?

              • gutshot5820

                I think the reason the Cubs are in the situation they are in now is because of poor drafting and development plus a few bad decisions by Hendry. I’m saying they can build the farm and still compete at the same time, especially with the added Wild Card. I guess everybody is brainwashed into thinking it’s okay for the Cubs to stink over the next few years. All I’m saying is they have enough payroll to start competing next year and still develop as an organization on parallel fronts. Either that or lower the ticket prices.

                • nkniacc13

                  It was a combination of poor selection but without the ability to spend like crazy in the draft when you could. They did the final year of the old CBA. Its tougher now to build from the farm system and compete reagulary without over paying for free agents simply because players are wanting to know where is you talent in the system and how soon is it going to be there to help me win try and win a WS ring. Also hasn’t Epstein kinda said 2014 is his target year?

            • Kevin

              Theo has a plan in place and it’s playing out. Let’s be patient and let his plan bring us a winner 3-4 years down the road. If we wanted to spend crazy money with no plan we would have kept Hendry.

              • nkniacc13

                I think there is going to be a few prospect for prospect trades this offseason with the cubs unless some are thrown into these deadline deals as I think Theo and jed are getting a good feel for who they want to keep in the system and who of the highly rated players they aren’t sure will pan out.

            • JoeyCollins

              The ricketts are not just pocketing the money, there are other aspects than the ML salary. The difference is if you continue to trade prospects or sign FA to short contracts then you might be contending for the wild card every year but that’s it. Id rather be competing for the division every year and making deep playoff runs. That’s how you win a world series and maintain a competitive team.

              • I traded for Ryno. Dallas Green.

                like the Yankees….???……you have blinders on.

    • Frank

      The Cubs’ ticket prices are high, and they are a big market team, but they are hamstrung by a bad TV contract compared to those of many other teams–even teams in much smaller markets–and the relative lack of income streams from the ballpark due to restrictions imposed by things such as Wrigley’s landmark status. Thus the overall income for baseball operations isn’t what it could be–at least right now. This isn’t all of the problem, but it is part of it.

      • gutshot5820

        If they fielded a winning team they could easily have a 130-150 mil payroll. A tv contract and money for the stadium will only vault them into the elite in payroll.

      • Kevin

        Can the Cubs have the landmark status lifted? What benefit does it really give? Personally, I believe it actually restricts the Cubs.

        • King Jeff

          It absolutely restricts the Cubs and I don’t think the city would lift the status. It’s something that the Cubs are always going to have to work around as long as they stay at Clark and Addison.

        • Pat

          They had the option to refuse it in the first place, but once accepted I don’t think they still have a choice. There’s a good FAQ on the national parks service website (nps.gov) that has a fair amount of detail on the process and ramifications of landmark status.

          • Pat
          • Pat

            I was under the impression Wrigley had national landmark status. Apparently it is only City status (although they are eligible for national (as is the Cell???)). If Chicago’s local restrictions are as bad as New York’s that will cause issues. Although it only applies to the outfield wall, scoreboard, and marquee.

            • Scotti

              Not true in the eyes of the City. They believe that it applies to the entire bleachers. This is why the City demanded that the Cubs get approval for the RF video board. The Cubs agreed to go through the process (and obviously were approved).

  • cwesley

    Muskat is saying he’s in the clubhouse prepping for start.

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Thed better know what they’re doing. The only reason I can see him getting this start is if a team interested in Demp wanted to see him throw a certain amount of pitches. Other then that there isn’t a very good reason to have him pitch again(as a Cub.)

      • Quintz

        I can’t imagine a team calling the Cubs and saying “We are ready to make a deal…..except we would like him to start for YOU tonight and throw 100 (or however many) pitches”. That would make little to no sense. Whatever they might gain in confidence that he could do it would be nullified in that he couldn’t start for them for another 5 or 6 days.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    #Mets from @pgammo: One GM predicts “when the next 11 days are over, Wheeler will be the best player acquired in a deal the last two Julys. What package could the Cubs put forth to nab Wheeler from the Mets? Garza, LaHair, and Russel or Camp + a prospect? Would that be worth it or is that to much to give away for a young, cost controlled, potential ace?

  • http://BeacherNation TobaccopouchinIvy

    If nobody meets our asking price, keep him or spin off a supplemental pick next winter. There’s really no need to accept less than his value, as he can easily pitch at a high level, for another 2-3yrs. like he is now due to his TJ arm/stuff/expertise.

    • CubsfanKevin

      i did not know you were a member of the Cubs front office?!

      • Quintz

        You didn’t realize that each and every one of us (me included) knows better than the guys who are paid a fortune and have been doing it professionally for years what is best for the Cubs?

      • http://BeacherNation TobaccopouchinIvy

        Just a Cub’s fan, like you:) Sorry, I thought we could express our opinions here. I’ve been following the Cubs for ~62yrs.[also former season-ticket holder] As a surgeon, I know what the tendon transplant allowed Tommy John to accomplish.

  • packle

    I think Gammons is refering to the fact Wheeler was traded last year in the Beltran trade. He’s infering he doesnt expect a prospect of Wheeler’s stock to be invoved in any trades this year.

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Oh okay. Thanks packle, that tweet makes way more sense now.

  • MichiganGoat

    According to the Detroit Free Press the Tigers are still in on Dempster article was published at 2pm EST, I don’t see it as anything we haven’t already heard but here you go: http://www.freep.com/article/20120720/SPORTS02/120720035/detroit-tigers-trade-rumors?odyssey=nav%7Chead

  • nkniacc13

    I just don’t think they are that close to a deal wih anyone.

    • Jumbo

      I don’t think so either – or maybe they are just being greedy.

      The main reason I want the deal done today is I’m afraid Dempster will lay an egg tonight.. or get hurt. Either way, I feel like his value can only fall from where it is right now.

      • nkniacc13

        Here’sa thought maybe they have an offer from the cards and right now it maybe the best one and they want to pitch Demp against the Cards instead of letting him pitch against the Cubs?

  • nkniacc13

    Whats everyones gues on how many of the 25 man roster as on 5pm CST gets traded by the deadline?

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Levine reports on ESPN Chicago (in car, don’t have link) that Red Sox have made an offer for Dempster. So that would be your second team, together with Dodgers.

  • Wester

    Are the azl cubs off tonight? Was hoping for a soler watch…also, how do you change the icon next to your name?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, I think the next Soler sighting will be tomorrow. As for the pic, we use gravatar.com. Go there, set up account using same email you use here, and poof, pic will show up.

      • Joe

        Excellent, thanks Brett!

      • Wester

        Excuse me…was using fake email to try and figure it out myself. Let’s try that again…
        Excellent, thanks Brett!

        • Wester

          Ahhhh…raspberries, I’ll play with it later

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            It’s working for me. Takes a bit to populate across the net. (Hilarious, by the way.)

            • Wester

              Hey hey! There we go

  • nkniacc13

    Brett I still think there is another of the 10 teams that have made an offer that we don’t know about yet

  • stillmisskennyhubbs

    “I’m throwing up the Pre-Gamin’ a lot earlier than usual.”
    That’s ok, lots of pros barf before a big game. It relieves the tension.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s funny you say that – The Little Girl just puked in the car. Six hours to go.

  • http://BeacherNation TobaccopouchinIvy

    LOL Brett, she’s already savy enough to know when the Cubs are being low-balled!

  • gutshot5820

    Dumb, dumb, dumb to let Dempster pitch today!!!1

    • Carew

      It wont do anythin to his value. He was due for a rough start unfortunately. Still early though

      • Toby

        Which do you think: kool-aid or samuai sword?

  • Njriv

    Even if Dempster get lit-up today, I do not think it will hurt his value that much. A guy can only pitch the way he was for so long, all pitchers get blown-out from time to time.

    • cwesley

      I agree. His stats for the season should weigh more than one start in July.

  • Wester

    This is making me very sad

  • Sean

    Brett — in your opinion, how much could this shaky start against the Cards by Dempster hurt his potential return in trade talks with other teams??

    • Wester

      Although I am not Brett, and am very sad Dempster didn’t get his 34th scoreless inning, if I was theo and someone told me that they are lowering their offer because of one bad inning I would say thanks for playing, good luck to you. Plus, what if he doesn’t give up another run, and still has a quality start?

      • Wester

        Well there goes that…but still zero percent change

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      0.

      It will have no effect. Professional GMs are not that reactionary. They have a lot of scouts and advisers who look at far more than line scores when deciding how valuable a guy is. They know who Dempster is now. They know if they want him. They know how much they are willing to pay. The only question is whether or not they can reach a deal with the Cubs.

      Nothing Dempster does today, short of getting injured, will have any affect on his trade value whatsoever.

      • gutshot5820

        That just your opinion Luke. But there is no upside. They definitely won’t be getting any BETTER offers is he gets shelled tonight.

        • Wester

          I gotta agree with both you and Luke. They won’t get any better or any worse offers based on tonight’s performance, barring injury. (essentially agreeing with Luke)

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I don’t see why not. There are between two and five(? more?) teams still competing for Dempster. That competition will set his value, not anything he does tonight.

          If the Nationals want him, they will have to outbid the Dodgers, the Red Sox, the Tigers, the Braves, the Royals, the Cardinals, and anyone else in the mix. Each of those teams has a good idea how high they will bid, but they won’t go straight to their maximum offer. The Cubs will have to work up to that, and that process will take place completely independent of anything Dempster does tonight.

          Again, GMs are not reactionary. They are professionals.

          That said, I am surprised Dempster is starting. The injury risk alone make me think he’d be a late scratch.

        • Carew

          You’re bein too negative. Shit happens

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      None.

      • Sean

        Thanks guys, I’m reassured. I am keeping my fingers crossed we can get a good return for him as I am a big fan of Demp and always have been. I have had a signed ball from him on my desk since I was fifteen, and just want to see him go to a quality organization like LA or Boston if he must leave the Cubs.

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