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?
  • BD

    I am hoping the White Sox get Greinke and the Dodgers land somebody other than Dempster. That will prove to Dempster that they really don’t want him, and he’ll finally agree to go somewhere else. Although that would likely kill the Cubs’ leverage with Atlanta…

    • Aaron

      I’m not the expert by any means, but I don’t know if the White Sox have the depth in their system to outbid other teams for a 2 month rental in Greinke. It would destroy whatever is left of their farm system.

      • EQ76

        that’s ok with me.

  • JulioZuleta

    I still really think Garza gets dealt. He’s not strictly a rental. If a team gets him now, they may have to wait a week until he pitches, but they have the rest of this year, and next. Peavy was traded while hurt.

    • Grant

      Agreed with this. Also, based on the reports, I think the medical staff of any team could verify that his injury is minor enough to take a chance on.

      • Brett

        But the price will not be the same as if he’d just thrown two quality starts. Or maybe if he has a brilliant August and September. That’s the issue.

        • someday…2015?

          Brett, would you take Lee and Webster for Garza? Do you think that’s realistic with the injury Garza has?

          • Brett

            For me, that’s a very close call. It’s probably not unrealistic, given the injury, but I’m not sure that the Cubs couldn’t do better in the offseason.

    • JulioZuleta

      I really don’t think it will hurt value very much. It’s not an elbow or shoulder injury. I think instead of 3 r 4 player package, the 3rd or 4th piece will be a PTBNL dependent on how soon he contributes. I sill think you’ll get more for im now than in the of season.

  • Mick

    Hey Brett, nice interview. If and when you do your next podcast please share again. You gave a great “intellegent speculation” as to what went down with Dempster. In the end, I just don’t think the Dodgers really want Dempster all that badly, otherwise they’d be offering up better prospects. If you break down their rotation, they have:

    1. Clayton Kershaw – under team control for years to come
    2. Chad Billingsley – signed through 2014 w/an option for 2015
    3. Ted Lilly – signed through 2013
    4. Chris Capuano – signed through 2013 w/an option for 2014
    5. Aaron Harang – signed through 2013 w/an option for 2014

    Is Demp that much better than Capuano or Harang that the Dodgers would feel it necessary to move one of their top prospects? Before you answer, look at their numbers from this season:

    Dempster: 2.25 ERA 1.04 WHIP 83/27 K/BB
    Capuano 3.13 ERA 1.21 WHIP 113/38 K/BB
    Harang 3.39 ERA 1.34 WHIP 95/52 K/BB

    And then you factor in the playoffs. Do you feel that a rotation of Kershaw, Lilly, Billingsley (if healthy), Dempster, and Capuano matches up favorably to any contending team? I like Kershaw in the one-game Wild Card playoff but the Divisional Series begins the very next day!

    Realisticly, the Dodgers need to find another top of the rotation starter to match up with the Giants, Nationals, Braves, and Cardinals and Dempster isn’t it. That’s why the Dodgers are rumored to be after Garza, Greinke, and Shields while giving the Cubs low-ball offers for what they feel is just an innings eater/injury fill-in w/Demp. Theo needs to sitdown face-face w/Demp and explain to him that the Dodgers don’t want him, won’t sign him to an extension, and he needs to pull the trigger on the Atlanta deal because the Braves actually do really want him demonstrated so by their offer.

    In conclussion, my gut tells me, I’m right about all of this and Dempster will announce he’s going to the Braves today and we all lived happily ever after. The End.

    • Wester

      Right, but compare his number to billingsley…hes been absolutely terrible this year.

  • Steve

    I picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue….

    • el-p

      if i exist right now i damn sure can’t provide you proof

    • EQ76


    • calicubsfan007

      Great time for an Airplane! quote Steve! Hahaha! (=

  • Fastball

    Bruce is saying that Dempster hasn’t said no to any trade deals. Never said no to the Braves. So maybe there is still a deal to be made with someone other than the Dodgers. Still hope for the Braves but maybe somebody else slips in and scoops him up. Maybe other teams are already talking to Theo about Dempster and there is progress being made. Maybe Billy Beane is working a deal. He knows how to keep his mouth shut. I have hope that a deal gets done with someone we aren’t even thinking of.

  • Kyle

    I don’t understand why garza has no trade value now. It seems to be a minor fluky injury. He is a top starter and is mostly durable. Most importantly he is not a rental. If other teams have access to the same medical records and it’s minor I don’t understand why teams still would back out

    • ETS

      Probably is a minor flukey injury, but as a GM you’d never risk much in the way of prospects for a guy who is hurt.

    • quintz

      It’s not that he has “no” trade value, it’s that he has “less” value and couple that with the impending deadline, it gives the Cubs very little leverage when negotiating, thus they would have to sell Garza at below market value and we can speculate that this FO does not make a habit of selling below market value.

      He probably will fine, but if your trying to trade for him you are coming from the “worst case scenario” angle (whether you believe it or not) and that is where negotiations begins.

  • BD

    Also- it seems like Dempster and the White Sox would be a good match. Do they have anyone similar to Delgado (clearly not as good, but a SP prospect). The only two I am familiar with are Molina and E. Johnson. Thoughts?

    • baldtaxguy

      I wonder whether given this BS storm, the CHI sox would be a bail out destination for him?

  • Leo

    Brett is it true that the reason the Dodgers are making the Cubs such a low offer is because they will not give a top prospect for a rental player so the Cubs are asking Demp to agree to an extension and he won’t agree. Fyi ESPN was the source.

    • Grant

      The reason the Dodgers are making the Cubs such a low offer is that they’re the Cubs only option. With Dempster’s intransigence, It’s not like the Cubs can go somewhere else if the Dodger’s offer is too low. The only other option the Cubs have is to hold onto Dempster, offer him $12.5 mil at the end of the season, and pray he doesn’t take it.

  • John

    Watch out for the airplane reference—more of them will soon apply with the way this week has gone….or it could be the nargles are swarming- take your pick- but in order for us to build a future we have to be able to move some stuff before it completely looses value….

    • Steve

      I sure picked a bad week to quit amphetamines…

    • calicubsfan007

      Surely you can’t be serious. I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley!

  • Fishin Phil

    Brett, if you ever do get an “ignore button” here, I suggest you use it on Phil Rogers.

  • Cubzfann

    I believe we all really know what happened with the Dempster to Atlanta deal…..
    Theo: Ryan, just got a great offer from the Braves. Are you still in?
    Ryan: Yeah! The deal sounds great. I can’t believe they are giving up one of the top young arms for me! Maybe I can be the next Maddux for the Braves.
    Theo: Thanks Ryan. You have been great through this entire thing. I can see a place for you with the Cubs when you decide to quit playing.

    Later that evening……
    Ryan: Honey, I’m home!
    Wife: Hey Ryan! How was your day?
    Ryan: Great! I have awesome news! I got traded today to Atlanta! The Cubs got a good return that will help them in the future, and I am going to a winning team with a great history of pitchers! I have already talked to a few of the players in Atlanta and they are excited.
    Wife: Is that where Ted plays?
    Ryan: No Babe, that’s LA.
    Wife: But you said we would be with Ted and his wife.
    Ryan: No, I said we might, but it is okay, Atlanta is great. They have Chipper!
    Wife: But I was looking forward to seeing Ted’s wife all the time. I like her alot.
    Ryan: Well, maybe we will go there in the off season. I will be a free agent you know.
    Wife: I don’t want to wait until the off season. I want to be where they are NOW!
    Ryan: But I already told Theo it was okay.
    Wife: I don’t care if you told the Pope, Ryan! I said NOW!
    Ryan: But I already called some of the guys in Atlanta.
    Wife: Ryan, is it your job to make them happy or me happy? Well?

    Ryan: (ring,ring) Theo. Ryan here. Listen. Atlanta is not going to work. I want to go to LA.
    Theo: NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

    There you have it. You guys know how it is.

    • Gabriel

      LOL – luckily I did not marry a woman like this! My wife would say “Atlanta?! SWEET! isn’t that where Chipper plays? sounds exciting! I’m gonna start looking at houses!”

    • cjdubbya


      Happy wife, happy life.

      • Cubzfann


    • quintz

      My guess is that Ryan wishes that is how it was going with his (soon to be ex) wife.

    • calicubsfan007

      Nice, that’s hilarious (=! But, from what I hear, a lot of women consider Chipper to be quite a valuable asset (;.

    • Steve

      Epic WIN Cubzfann!

  • Leo

    Cubzfan that was the funniest thing I’ve read in a week.

  • someday…2015?

    Cliff Lee staying put. Looks like from what the Marlins want Josh Johnson is staying put. That leaves these SP available. Rated 1-5… 1. Grienke 2. Garza 3. Shields 4. Dempster 5. Maholm. We still have a chance to make an impact at this deadline pending teams interest.

  • Dustin

    The Dodgers and Cubs have had some discussions about including Alfonso Soriano or Bryan LaHair in a trade for Ryan Dempster, Danny Knobler of reports. The Dodgers continue seeking offense as well as pitching, but it’s a definite longshot that they’ll acquire Soriano or LaHair, Knobler writes.

    • Brett

      Thanks, but scroll up.

  • CubsFan4Life

    Hey Brett, Thank you for doing such a tremendous job of keeping us informed about everything Cubs. This is definitely the best website for Cubs information. I have a feeling that you are going to be very busy on Monday and Tuesday, so get some rest this weekend. I know Theo and Jed will also be very busy before the deadline. Congratulations to Ron Santo’s family. Ron was an amazing man. I’m sure Ron is watching the game today, so Let’s Go Cubs !!!

    • Brett

      Thanks, CF4L.

  • baldtaxguy

    “On Dempster, Heyman says it would be pretty risky for the Cubs to keep Dempster and make a qualifying offer after the season.”

    What is the risk? That he’ll take the offer?

    • Brett

      Yes, says Heyman.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Why the hell would they take on Carlos Pena? He can only play first and Rizzo is there. And really, with the trade Phil points out, he is insane. It makes absolutely no sense.

    I want whatever Phil is taking.

  • Fastball

    I just broke down and established a Twitter. I’m old school I know. Once I figured it out and set up 28 Follow’s. Brett was my first :) Thought my life was consumed with all thing Cubs before. Now it’s really going to get my wife pissed that I have my phone and my laptop polling Twitter 24/7.

  • Fastball

    I think Phil Rogers was sniffing glue or something. What in the world would we want Pena for. We supposed to re-package him to someone else in a trade. I don’t understand any of that logic at all.

  • SonnyESQ

    My head hurts.

  • EvenBetterNewV2.0

    For Garza can the Cubs throw out a PTBNL? Use that PTBNL as insurance in the form of Garza ending up hurt. Say if he makes so many starts the level of the PTBNL is a lower level high upside talent. If he gets hurt we have to give up a top prospect and possibly cash. Is that possible to help the return?

    • Brett

      Not a bad idea, but I’m sure the Cubs would hate to have to “purchase” that insurance policy.

      • EvenBetterNewV2.0

        Most definitely not ideal, but I hate to say it but they are going to have to be creative if they want to get this done. That being said, they won’t gain anything by waiting until the winter by getting something done. It is a seller market. If in the medicals everyone can see everything will be good, it might be a risk worth taking. It is painful being a Cubs fan. We can’t even have a successful fire sale.

  • clark addison

    The funny thing is that Rogers’ column is now behind a “membership” paywall. Why anybody would pay (or even sign up for free) to read Rogers’ Sux loving stream of consciousness fantasy is beyond my poor power of understanding.

  • Fastball

    cubzfan… excellent interpretation of the facts….are you a court reporter?

    I wonder if the Nanny has a say in the destination. Wonder how that conversation went. CubzFan care to take a swing at that one?

  • quintz

    I seriously feel like Phil Rogers has forgotten that major league baseball doesn’t operate under the same CBA as the NBA. That sounds like one of those crazy NBA trades that makes no sense until you realize they have to match money. It’s not the complete insanity of his “rumors” that bother me, it’s the udder laziness of his fabrications, it’s unnerving that nobody checks him on this stuff.

    • Ogyu

      Umm, I think “udder laziness” is when a dairy farmer doesn’t get out of bed in the morning to go milk the cows.

  • someday…2015?

    I would put money on this deal getting done if it was actually proposed… Garza and Lake to the Dodgers for Lee, Webster, Gould, and a PTBNL.

  • Patrick W.

    I think your point about the Dodgers being flush with cash and the Braves needing salary relief is important, and should also be thought of in the reverse:

    Cubs fans should be as happy with a lesser return from the Dodgers if no salary relief is included as they would be with Randall Delgado from the Braves for Dempster + $3MM or so. If the point of paying some (or most, or all) of Dempster’s remaining salary is to get a better prospect then it is necessarily true that sending Dempster and his entire salary to a team for a lesser prospect should be equally acceptable.

    • Brett

      You’re right … but I wouldn’t be happy about it. The Cubs have the cash, and I’d rather they used it to pick up prospects right now. This is a way to do it.

      • Patrick W.

        Yeah I just opened up this window to say the same thing. In a vacuum my point is true but the Cubs also have the cash to buy a good prospect, and those don’t just get sold.

  • Fastball

    Any trade will do at this point. just trade somebody so we can talk about it.

    • Spencer

      haha i kinda feel the same way. i’m tired of all this non movement.

  • someday…2015?
    • Brett

      Wow. That’s Kerry Wood circa 1998.

      • someday…2015?

        I sure hope Bundy is managed better then Wood.

    • Cubbie Blues

      That curve is sick. The batter thought he was going to get hit until it came back in for a strike.

      • TWC

        … and then stood there wondering just what in the hell had happened.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Sometimes it just ain’t fair.

  • Curt

    when it’s all said and done Brett will the cubs move anyone and if they do will anyone they get back be relevant.

    • Brett

      The answer is still probably (to the relevant part), but only 51%. And to the first part, yes, they’ll trade *someone.*

  • MightyBear

    Braves signed Miguel Batista. Surely that’s not their answer to not getting Dempster? (Go ahead Airplane guys)