The latest from the Lukewarm Stove, which necessarily now includes a fair bit of Dempster Saga bits …

  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s David O’Brien leaves open the possibility that the Braves could still be interested in Ryan Dempster if they don’t end up with another option by Tuesday. He adds that the Dodgers have always preferred Matt Garza. Phil Rogers, by the way, agrees that Dempster to the Braves is still a possibility, if the Braves can’t get Zack Greinke and the Dodgers get Matt Garza.
  • Jon Heyman was on the Score this morning, and spoke at length about Zack Greinke, among other things. The White Sox are trying hard to get Greinke, and Heyman wouldn’t rule out any of the big names on the big league roster being traded. The Rangers, Angels, and Braves are also in, and the Braves may be the biggest threat to get Greinke. Heyman thinks Greinke would probably be fine on the big stage. In non-Greinke-other-pitcher stuff, James Shields is probably going to be dealt, despite his struggles, and despite the Rays’ relative competitiveness.


  • On Dempster, Heyman says it would be pretty risky for the Cubs to keep Dempster and make a qualifying offer after the season. The Cubs are probably not very thrilled with Dempster right now, who almost certainly told the Cubs he would go to Atlanta. Heyman wouldn’t rule out an Allen Webster for Dempster swap (though he says the Dodgers might like Webster even more than Zach Lee), and the Cubs will keep trying to get a deal together. Heyman remains unsure that the Braves would even consider taking Dempster at this point.
  • Heyman also said that there are teams in on Garza still, in addition to the Dodgers – Toronto, Red Sox, maybe Cardinals andOrioles – but they want to see him pitch one more game before committing top prospects. Since that isn’t going to happen now, I’m not sure where that interest stands. My guess? It’s basically gone.
  • Phil Rogers went nuts on the rumor mongering this morning, discussing Alfonso Soriano to the Rays (in the same breath discussing them trading away James Shields – indeed, in one proposal, he has the Cubs picking up Shields (come on, Phil)). Rogers proposes a whopper that would send Soriano, Geovany Soto, and Bryan LaHair (plus a bundle of cash) for a big contract (Luke Scott or Carlos Pena – those are “big” to the Rays), Chris Archer, Tim Beckham and a couple other prospects. It’s the kind of thing you’d read on a message board and scoff at, so I’m really not sure how to receive it, coming from Phil. Maybe Soriano makes some sense for the Rays, but it’s hard to see it all coming together like that.


  • Speaking of Soriano, Danny Knobler notes that the Cubs have discussed him with the Dodgers (as well as Bryan LaHair) in a package deal with Dempster. I suspect that’s one of those things where “discussed” means, in their frantic efforts to put a deal together, the Cubs have said, “well, what about including Soriano somehow? Or LaHair?” and the Dodgers said, “we don’t really want them all that much.” Which kind of sounds like how they react when asked about Dempster now, too …
  • Jerry Crasnick hears that all of the Dodgers, Angels, and Rangers are expected to pick up an impact starter before the deadline. With Greinke, Josh Johnson, and James Shields on the market, though, that doesn’t have to include one of the Cubs’ arms.
  • Ken Rosenthal talks up James’ Shields’ value, despite down numbers overall.
  • As for where things stand with Dempster, he’s already on the field throwing a side session with the Cubs. So, obviously, once again, nothing is imminent. (Or is it?!? (No, it isn’t. (But maybe! (No, seriously.)))) He wants the Dodgers, but the Dodgers don’t particularly want him, unless they can get him for super cheap. If you want rooting interests, here they are: you want to hope that the Cubs work out a great deal with the Dodgers for Dempster. If that’s not possible, you want Zack Greinke to go to a team like the Rangers or White Sox, Josh Johnson to not be traded (the price is “extremely high”) or to go to a team like the Red Sox, and James Shields to go to the Angels. The Rangers and Angels, right now, are not seriously in on Dempster or Garza, so the best the Cubs could hope for would be for the Dodgers and Braves to both be pitcherless when the deadline rolls around, with only Dempster and Garza as the impact arms on the market (though Garza’s injury makes him virtually untradable). But why would things work out that way?


  • You also have to remember – ok, I’m talking to myself here (Brett, you have to remember) – that it’s probably unfair right now to compare the Braves’ offer for Dempster and the Dodgers’ speculated low offer(s). The Braves can’t take on much salary, so they needed the Cubs to eat a bunch of the money owed to Dempster. The Dodgers, flush with cash, don’t need that at all. So, understandably, the Dodgers won’t be offering as much. Obviously that’s not a good thing.
  • The Brewers just designated quality back-up catcher George Kottaras for assignment, which, in his case, means a trade is forthcoming. Wonder where he’ll end up, and whether it will have any kind of impact on the Cubs’ hopes to deal Geovany Soto?

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