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I’m headed out to celebrate The Wife’s birthday (which actually falls on the first day of the Blogathon, as it will every year I do it unless the Trade Deadline is moved – she’s thrilled), but, before we go, here’s the latest from around the rumor mill (and, no worries, I’ll be checking in throughout the night and posting updates as appropriate) …

  • Jayson Stark with a glum report on Ryan Dempster, after yesterday we learned that Dempster is, indeed, willing to consider going to teams other than the Dodgers: One source’s appraisal of the odds of Ryan Dempster and the Braves both reversing field and paving the way for a deal that would send Dempster to Atlanta: ‘There’s always a chance, but I would doubt that seriously.’ Other teams believe Ben Sheets’ three great starts have dramatically reduced the Braves’ sense of urgency to trade for a starter.”
  • Kevin Goldstein added that there’s no chance the Cubs can still snag Randall Delgado from the Braves, even if Dempster decides he’ll go there. When I suggested to Goldstein three reasons why – lost leverage by the Cubs, the lost start Dempster could have given the Braves, and the Braves deciding maybe Delgado (plus another player) was too much for Dempster – Goldstein agreed that those, combined, are the reasons Delgado is almost certainly out of the picture.
  • Matt Garza will not start on Monday as we’d hoped, but he will throw a bullpen session that day. Sure, it could just be a coincidence that Garza is throwing the day before the Trade Deadline, but it could also indicate the Cubs are still holding out hope for an acceptable offer. Keep in mind, they purposely have not put him on the disabled list, despite the fact that he won’t have pitched for two weeks by the time of his next scheduled start, in order to preserve the ability for a trading team to start him right away on, for example, Wednesday. The Cubs have also been sure to play up the, “yeah, he’s not pitching yet, but he had a totally clean MRI!” angle. Are they going to trade Garza? Probably not. But are they pretty clearly trying to keep that option on the table? Yes. A couple of “for what it’s worths”: (1) Garza threw on flat ground today, and said he felt great, (2) he says he would start on Monday if it were up to him. Clearly the Cubs are looking out for Garza’s long-term health over the short-term gain of trying to show him off.
  • Bruce Levine uses Garza’s injury to sort of remind the pitcher of his own mortality – in other words, Levine is suggesting Garza might be wise to compromise on an extension right now. He correctly points out, and gets an executive to say the same, that a player’s first big contract before free agency should probably be a little bit favorable to the team. He gets life-changing money before he actually reaches free agency – and protection in case he gets hurt – and the team gets a deal. Levine says he’s asked around, and Garza’s market value is just $6o to $70 million over five years (which I have a very hard time believing). I think Garza wants much more than that – plus no-trade protection – otherwise, this deal would have been done in the Spring. He’s easily worth that much. If this injury somehow leads to the Cubs getting that deal, I’ll be plenty happy with them not being able to trade him. On that note, Garza did said this when Levine asked about an extension with the Cubs: “There are always possibilities because I am an optimist. Maybe [the arm injury] is a sign from up above saying it is not time for me to go anywhere [else] yet. Maybe there is work to still be done, and I am the guy for the job.”
  • But Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs aren’t likely to seriously entertain extending Garza, mostly because of their emerging much younger core. The two sides, he says, haven’t had extension discussions since the Spring.
  • Josh Johnson and James Shields, because of circumstance as much as ability, are generally now considered the top two available arms on the market. The Rangers seem now to not be so high on Johnson (which isn’t necessarily good, given that the Rangers are likely not in on Garza or Dempster), thanks to the price tag and injury concerns. The Marlins are apparently also worried that, if they don’t get a package that everyone describes as ridiculous, they won’t be able to justify to their fans fan selling off yet another veteran piece. Executives expect Shields to be dealt, with the Braves, Dodgers, Indians and Rangers having the most interest.
  • An intriguing and encouraging report on Alfonso Soriano from Jayson Stark. No, nothing is close, but he says the Cubs are now offering to eat $34 million of the $36 million Soriano is owed after this season, if they can get the right prospect. That’s the kind of money the Cubs might have to eat just to make a deal, but here’s the thing: there’s no way the Cubs wouldn’t just keep Soriano if all that was at stake was salary relief to the tune of $2 million. In other words, the Cubs are trying to land an actual, meaningful prospect or two by dealing Soriano. That would be awesome. Keep in mind, Soriano has no-trade rights.
  • But Ken Rosenthal reports that, although Soriano’s name has come up with the Dodgers, the Cubs might prefer to let Soriano finish out his hot season, and try to deal him in the offseason. Then, Rosenthal says, an AL team might be willing to take Soriano for as much as $12 million per year. (No freaking way.)
  • George Ofman, in a way that suggests interest, says Paul Maholm would make sense for the White Sox, who just lost out on Zack Greinke. Maholm is effective, eats innings, and is quite cheap. Why aren’t more teams popping up in rumors, actually? The most likely explanation is that teams don’t trust the guy they’ve seen the last five weeks, and instead believe Maholm is a marginal 4/5 type. Those guys have value, and are sometimes traded at the deadline, but they aren’t an upgrade for a number of contending teams. Because of his relatively cheap team option for 2013 ($6.5 million), though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cubs hang onto him.
  • The Braves appear to be looking for a right-handed, lefty-killing outfielder. Reed Johnson, perhaps?
  • The Brewers have reportedly traded back-up catcher George Kottaras to the Oakland A’s. Not a big deal, but it’ll be interesting to see if the return is notable. It could say something about the Cubs’ efforts to deal Geovany Soto, who probably has a touch more value than Kottaras (but probably not as much as you might think).
  • The Rockies traded Marco Scutaro to the Giants and didn’t get diddly poo for him (and they had to kick in cash), if you’re wondering what a guy like that is worth. He had terrible numbers overall this year, particularly away from Coors Field, though.
  • Here are some reminders as we head toward the Trade Deadline, and the 30-hour Blogathon.
  • UPDATE: A sort of nondescript Dempster to the Braves article from Danny Knobler. In short, he says “baseball people think” it’s still possible because the Braves didn’t get Zack Greinke. Not a lot of meat there.
  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Boring night No New Cubs Trade Rumors Oh Well always tomorrow, Monday, and Tuesday morning to early afternoon

    • calicubsfan007

      @Jason: There are probably rumors, but Brett is with his wife for her b-day dinner. Check later on.

      • calicubsfan007

        Edit: Insert “and celebrating her bday”, obviously, a dinner wouldn’t be past 10 pm. Sorry, I am on west coast and it is 7 here.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    oh ok I wasn’t pushing Brett I was just surfing the web on other sites and there is nothing much with rumors tonight.

    Hope he took her out to someplace awesome enjoy the night he deserves it for what he does on here

  • nkniacc13

    White Sox aquire Liriano from twins 2 players

    • Featherstone

      Wow, the White Sox gave up nothing for Liriano. Not sure if thats good because he didnt go to a team we are dealing with or bad because the value for a rental wasn’t nearly as high.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I’m confused. Shouldn’t the Tigers be sending the Twins prospects to get Liriano to the ChiSox?

      • calicubsfan007

        I do think the Liriano thing is good news for us. One less player for the Braves and Dodgers to get.

  • Barry

    Jim Bowden just said on ESPN, “there’s no way Dempster will be around after the deadline.” Just in case you haven’t heard enough Dempster BS…

  • Gcheezpuff

    No new rumors or moves for the Cubs yet… Theo and Jed must have heard about the Blogathon and are saving all the big moves until then.

  • calicubsfan007

    “•The Cubs are at an impasse with the Dodgers over Ryan Dempster while the Braves continue to monitor the situation according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. People in the game think Atlanta could get involved with Dempster again even though their first deal fell through.”
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/chicago_cubs/
    Braves aren’t completely out on “D”.

  • TonyS

    Im thinking its good news for the cubs overall. I think RD would be seen as a superior rental to Liriano so we should expect more than what the sox gave up. Liriano walks far too many batters to be relied upon. Come on Braves! RD and Camp for Delgado and bethancourt.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    It is all good news. Time is increasing the value of Dempster and Garza. Someone will get ants in the pants, it behoves Cub fans to quit criticizing the front office, they have played this well.

  • Njriv

    At the end of the day I just want to see Demp to Atlanta and Garza to the Rangers.

    • calicubsfan007

      @Njriv: Good Lord, you changed your pic again?!?!?! (;

    • calicubsfan007

      And yes, I agree with you on that. That would be considered a good day.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Garza has asked the Cubs to move him out of the NL if they wish to trade him by Tuesday. He is frustrated with his lack of ability to help himself withe the bat & is convinced his future is strictly in the AL. The Cubs have listened to his wishes and are proceeding accordingly. Cubs have decided NOT to sign Garza to long term deal.
    Both Theo & Jed have been targeting athletic pitchers who can field their position & help the team at the plate.
    Garza’s likely destination remains Boston or Texas although he prefers the West Coast where his family has its roots.
    Dempster may wind up headed for Washington with Atlanta as a possibility – but Delgado will not be the returning piece. Nationals have 3B of interest for Cubs & Braves still offer 2nd tier pitching pitching .Maholm not going anywhere – his deal is too attractive for Cubs not to keep.

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

      Buckel and Perez for Garza. Dempster and Reed Johnson for Gilmartin and Bethancourt. That would make the Cubs big time winners at the deadline… Being able to trade Soriano and Soto is a dream of mine.

    • calicubsfan007

      If this is true about Garza (& he doesn’t back out of this *fingers crossed*), I am pretty certain we could get a ridiculous return from Boston.

      • art

        can’t back out, he’s not 5-10.

    • Brad

      Source?

    • gutshot5820

      Yea right…. Garza is going to get traded to whichever team gives the best offer, regardless if it’s and AL team or an NL team. His “wishes” is going to have no bearing on the decision..

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Dempster to Nationals for 3B Matthew Skole (Ga Tech) -22HR’s & .437 OBP @ Class A Hagerstown in 2012 for this 6’4″ 220 lb. slugger with a great eye at the plate.

    • calicubsfan007

      But what is his competition like in Class A?

    • Sweet Swinging 26

      23 yrs. old at A ball….meh

    • quintz

      Wow do I hope that was just someone scrolling through stats and picking out a player and not an actual name being floated around around.

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

    61 hours to go. Tic toc, tic toc…

  • paul

    dempster better take a trade somewhere we could of had Delgado bye bye Garza we need young pitchers and hope for 2014

  • nkniacc13

    I wouldn’t mind trying to sign Liriano after this year to a deal similar to th deal Maholm got.

  • Jack Weiland

    Spent some time this morning reading through my old 2005 Baseball America Prospect Handbook for kicks … good way to gain some perspective on the trading deadline. Some teams had top 6-7 guys all develop into what they were supposed to be (Arizona, Cincy, etc) and some teams were filled with horrible flops (ahem Cubs).

    Volstad was the Marlins #1 prospect in that book. Garza was the Twins #1 …

    • Jack Weiland

      Oh the White Sox top prospect in 2005? Ryan Sweeney. Lulz.

    • Jack Weiland

      Edit: I was reading the 2007 book, not 2005. I’m dumb.

      • quintz

        You make a good point. All of these guys, even the very top of this year are nothing more than rolls of the dice. You mention 2005. Here are the top 10 OVERALL that year.

        1.Andy Marte, 3B, Atlanta
        2.Delmon Young, OF, Tampa Bay
        3.Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle
        4.Dallas McPherson, 3B, Anaheim
        5.Casey Kotchman, 1B, Anaheim
        6.Ian Stewart, 3B, Colorado
        7.Joel Guzman, SS, Los Angeles
        8.Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee
        9.Daric Barton, C, Oakland
        10.Jeremy Reed, OF, Seattle

        Prior to this season Randall Delgado was #42.

        • Jack Weiland

          Right. Certainly some massive home runs in there, and some massive swings and misses. I found it interesting that in 2007 (I mistyped originally) some teams actually did develop more than half of their top 10 prospects. Some teams didn’t develop any of them. Very interesting.

          And re: Delgado: some guys ranked really low exploded and turned into very good players. Dustin Pedroia was casually compared to David Eckstein in the 07 Handbook, and he’s become so much more.

          More than anything it’s just good to remember that something written about a player right now, be it at Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus or elsewhere does not necessarily mean the player will turn into exactly that. Sometimes they turn into more, sometimes they turn into much less. It’s an inexact science.

          • quintz

            Ironically in 2007 Fexlix Pie was ranked as the 42nd overall prospect by BP.

            That is why when people start talking about the current Cub prospects and have a lineup card made out for the year 2016, I kinda laugh. It never happens that way.

            • djriz

              You are SO right Quintz. It’s fun to dream, but reality has to rear it’s ugly head at sometime.
              Baez, Almora and Soler are all premium (top 50) prospects, and odds are only 1 will ever amount to anything. If 2 made it (or were traded for a useful player) we would be very lucky.

              • quintz

                I was looking at the 2007 top 10 prospects for the Red Sox. Theo had been in Boston 5 years, and we are 5 years removed from 2007, so it’s moderately fair to evaluate them now.

                1. Jacoby Ellsbury, of
                2. Clay Buchholz, rhp
                3. Michael Bowden, rhp
                4. Daniel Bard, rhp
                5. Lars Anderson, 1b
                6. Dustin Pedroia, ss
                7. Bryce Cox, rhp
                8. Craig Hansen, rhp
                9. Kris Johnson, lhp
                10. Jason Place, of

                Of the top 10, it’s safe to say 4 became impact players (Ellsbury, Bucholtz, Bard, and Pedroia). But he really hit it out of the park with those 4.

                Now the Cubs top 10 from the same year.

                1. Felix Pie, of
                2. Donald Veal, lhp
                3. Jeff Samardzija, rhp
                4. Tyler Colvin, of
                5. Sean Gallagher, rhp
                6. Eric Patterson, 2b
                7. Scott Moore, 3b
                8. Ryan Harvey, of
                9. Chris Huseby, rhp
                10. Mark Pawelek, lhp

                I don’t need to give my opinion of how that panned out.

                This at least kinda explains the lack of home grown talent the Cubs are presenting at the Big League level, even if it was nothing more than bad luck.

              • 2 chainz

                wrong, all 3 should reach their potential and be good at the mlb level. you got 2 top 10 picks and 1 who wouldve been top 10 in any draft. Look at the rays and see how many of their top prospects made it. you’re extremely wrong on ur comment sir

                • quintz

                  Maybe all top 10 overall picks “should” make the bigs and be good, but all top 10 overall picks “don’t” make the bigs and become good.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    Also, if every organization were equal (and they are not), then the sum of the top 10′s is the top 300 prospects. We all know that some of the top 100 prospects won’t amount to anything. The odds of failure from the 101-300 level are even higher: most successful players were Top 100 prospects in the end.

                    Now, remember that not all top 10′s are created equally – the ChiSox Top 10 stinks, for example – and the odds get longer still on developing all of your Top 10 guys.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  The Rays have had a lot of hits and misses from their top prospects. But that’s what makes them a great organization: great organizations have lots of hits and misses, bad ones have lots and lots of misses.

                  To the point, djriz‘s prognostication is a fair one: one in three would be about expectation, and two of three would be fantastic: and very lucky!

                  • Jack Weiland

                    My point in bringing this up was precisely the opposite. Sometimes teams DO hit on a higher number of their top 10 than expected.

                    Arizona’s Top 10 in 2007 was:

                    1. Justin Upton
                    2. Chris Young
                    3. Carlos Gonzalez
                    4. Alberto Callaspo
                    5. Miguel Montero
                    6. Micah Owings
                    7. Mark Reynolds
                    8. Dustin Nippert
                    9. Tony Pena
                    10. Ross Ohldendorf
                    11. Brett Anderson

                    Cincy’s Top 6:

                    1. Homer Bailey
                    2. Jay Bruce
                    3. Joey Votto
                    4. Johnny Cueto
                    5. Drew Stubbs
                    6. Travis Wood

                    A higher number of useful ML players than you’d expect looking at the aggregate levels of prospect “success.” Yes, on average, there will be many, MANY more swings and misses than home runs, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility for the Cubs to hit on Soler, Almora and Baez.

                    I’m usually one who preaches more temperance than most fans observe, but saying we’d be happy if one of three of those players develop is not true, I don’t think. Three of three is very possible. Zero of three is also very possible. One of three would make me content, I think, two of three would make me happy, and three of three would make me ecstatic.

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