The Trade Deadline looms, and things remain relatively quiet …

  • Last night, the White Sox finally got their pitcher, lefty Francisco Liriano from the Twins. His stock had plummeted over the past couple years, and the Twins were able to net a fringy utility player who was around 10th on the White Sox’s top prospect list coming into the season (and, a reminder, their farm system was largely considered to be the worst in baseball), and a 23-year-old pitcher putting up decent numbers between AA and AAA. How does the trade and the modest return impact the Cubs? Well, it takes the White Sox out of any Ryan Dempster discussions, though, to be fair, I never really thought they were going to have the pieces to get it done, however much Dempster might have liked to stay in Chicago (if he can’t go to LA). As far as the return, eh. Liriano is a rental who is suffering through the worst season of his career (on the heels of a very disappointing season in 2011). I don’t think a crummy return for a guy like that is going to impact the return for a guy like Dempser, or Matt Garza, or even Paul Maholm. In other words, if I’m a team looking for a back-end rotation option, I prefer Maholm to Liriano by a country mile, and I think an prospective trade would reflect that.
  • The other trade that happened yesterday, which could have an impact on the Cubs, was the A’s picking up back-up catcher George Kottaras, 29, from the Brewers for an intriguing reliever, Fautino De Los Santos. The latter turned 26 before the season, and is just a reliever, but the guy strikes a ton of people out, and has the upside of a good late-inning reliever. It’s not a bad return for a back-up catcher, though Kottaras is probably a bit better than your average back-up catcher – he’s hitting .209/.409/.360, thanks to a career-best, and probably unsustainable, walk rate. His career line is a pretty good .221/.326/.402, and he’s under team control through 2015. Why might this impact the Cubs? Well, if they look to deal Geovany Soto, whose numbers are similar to Kottaras throughout their careers (with Soto having, perhaps, the lower lows, but having the much higher highs), this could be the kind of deal they point to in order to start discussions. The big difference, though, in addition to the expected future performance of each (Soto still projects as a starter, while Kottaras is a fringe-starter, excellent-back-up type), is that Soto makes a whole lot more money this year, and next year, if you tender him a contract in his final year of arbitration. The Cubs could throw in some money in a Soto deal, but I wouldn’t expect the return to be too much better than De Los Santos, in terms of overall talent.
  • Reed Johnson talks about his sniper bunt yesterday, which won the game. “I was kind of waiting for [third baseman Matt Carpenter] to move in a little bit, and you peek out of the corner of your eye and he’s still back there and still back there, and I’m digging in and then you figure, ‘I guess he’s going to stay there,'” Johnson said. “Even if I don’t get that bunt down, I foul it off or it’s a ball, I suck the third baseman in more and I get a chance to hit it by him for an RBI.” Naturally, then folks start writing about Johnson as a trade chip, which has been true for a month. Ideally, the Cubs could include Johnson as a sweetener in a pitcher deal, because his value on his own is not super high – that’s just the nature of a fourth outfielder, even a really good one like Johnson.
  • The Cubs haven’t officially named a starter for Monday (the spot that would have been taken by Matt Garza), in part because they don’t know if they might have another starting pitcher by then. I think you’ll see Justin Germano held out today with the expectation that, if a move doesn’t happen that brings in a pitcher, he’ll go on Monday.
  • Jeff Samardzija says his sinker just wasn’t working for him yesterday, so he had to adjust and use his four-seam fastball quite a bit more than usual. He walked a ton of guys, but still left with a quality start – that’s what you like to see from a front-half starter, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff.
  • More Gold Glove love for Darwin Barney, who is pretty clearly the best glove at second base in the NL right now (with apologies to Brandon Phillips).
  • And, a reminder, the Blogathon is coming. I tried to begin my prep last night with a “good night’s sleep.” The problem? I ate too much at The Wife’s birthday celebration, so I woke up with a fierce stomach ache at 4am, didn’t get back to sleep until 6am. Fingers crossed that my sleep tonight is flawless.
  • DocPeterWimsey

    One word: melatonin….

    • hansman1982

      get yourself NyQuil gel caps. The dosage is two capsules. Take just 1. It will knock you out with no hangover.

  • RY34

    at the end of the deadline, no cubs will change team in my opinion.

    • J-Nasty

      You have to have patience. There could be several offers on the table and the FO is just waiting to see if someone will come over the top right before the deadline.

  • Joe

    Hopefully this trade silence for the cubs will end with a couple of good trades for us!

  • Nick Pipitone

    I watch the cubs just about every day. Win or lose. It’s getting difficult to continue to listen to bloggers and media types continue to speculate on who could be traded where and when. That being said this site seems to be the best at offering levity and a dose of realism to all the rumors. It’s amazing to me how many players on this team are expendable in the eyes of so many fans. Barney is having a great year, soriano is too. They are certainly not liabilities. And while reed Johnson and Jeff baker certainly aren’t the future of the cubs, they haven’t necessarily hurt the team either. If we are going to, in fact, fulfill theos desire to add waves of pitching, we simply don’t have the trade chips to do that. Dempster and garzas value has been greatly diminished — I actually find it ironic that we have to trade pitching to get pitching. As time goes on it becomes more and more apparent the shambles hendry left this team in, and it’s a shame. Still, there’s so many reasons to watch– Castro, rizzo, shark, Barney’s defense, Maholm has been a surprise, and dejesus was a great pick up. I believe we will catch the brewers and finish in 4th, an admirable improvement from where we were last year. But there’s still so much more to be done.

    • FromFenwayPahk

      Good post, Nick.

    • Diesel

      I have always like Barney and Soriano definitely has been hustling much more this year. I am please with the effort of this years team if not the results. Last year a lot of guys looked like they just didn’t care and Quade surely didn’t light any fires under anyone. Hell considering how long he managed in the minors and coached in the majors he sure did not seem to know a lot of things. Go Cubs!

      • Cheryl

        I agree. Sueve seems to have motivated this club. He still sticks too much with the righty-lefty thing but overall he’s done well.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    just remember this is the cubs. i expect to get it shoved up my cubbie loving butt again. wow theo and jed please give me some ray of hope!!! thought things would be different this year how wrong i was still got way too many jim hendry bumbs on this roster.

    • quintz

      Historically, 50% of trades take place on the last day of the deadline. This isn’t that uncommon.

  • Kevin

    Theo must have pissed other GM’s off, what other reason for no trades?

    • @cubsfantroy

      Because you don’t trade players just to trade them. They are trying to get the right deal, and if that doesn’t work, they keep what they have. And there are a lot of teams that won’t make a deal or very minor insignificant deals around this time. There is still 2 days left.

      • Carew

        well they should trade soto just to trade him. and baker too

    • Kurt

      Maybe, just maybe we don’t have a President/GM that’s willing too take it up the backside as has happened too often in the past tenure of Cub GM’s.

      It amazes me how people used to get upset when they thought we got hosed on a deal…and now it seems that some would accept any outcome just to make a deal!

      After watching our pair in the front office in the short time they’ve been in charge, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt…even if no trade goes down.

      Let’s not forget, they apparently got far more than what I feel Dempster was worth in Delgado….only to have Ryan shows us (apparently) that his word is of no value. The point here is that Thoyer would have pulled off an impressive trade for the organization for a rental pitcher, if Dempster hadn’t gone back on his word.

      I’d rather no trade happened than caving and selling low…have seen too much of that with this organization, in previous administrations.

      I trust Theo to do what’s best for the club, even if it winds up being that he does nothing at all..

      • anotherjp

        That’s right, doing nothing is a decision and would be best if all we’re going to receive in return for our talent are minor league roster fill or potential bullpen arms. We have that already and might need to let this trade deadline pass without making a move to let teams understand we’re serious about getting good value. One case in point is the Giants and A’s are both interested in Brandon League as a closer option. Is he supposed to be better than Marmol– really? Dude has saved nine games, blown six, and only strikes out half the batters per inning that Marmol does. The only reason Marmol or other Cubs haven’t been dealt yet is that the FO is determined to get impact type prospects with high upside.

        • quintz

          Couldn’t have said it better. The trades you don’t make can be impactful as the ones that you do.

          You didn’t mention the $13M albatross following around Marmol that makes moving him nearly impossible.

        • Pat

          League’s whip is almost a half point lower though, additionally he is walking under 4 per 9 innings as opposed to 9.5. Also a bit cheaper. I can completely see why teams would value him above Marmol.

          • anotherjp

            Since the Cubs will obviously eat most of Marmol’s salary that shouldn’t be a determining factor for a team as long as they are willing to part with a young prospect with upside. And as far as the BB/inning… that doesn’t matter as much for a strike-out pitcher and Marmol is once again missing bats at better than 11 per nine innings. As far as I’m concerned the #1 stat for a closer is save %, and Marmol has been one of the best in the league since April.

  • FromFenwayPahk

    It was partly a noisy environment that may have roughed up the Braves/Dempster deal the first time. Perhaps right now “silence is the finest harbinger of joy.” (quote from, fittingly, Much Ado About Nothing)

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      Excellent ! And with that quotation from Shakespeare as a harbinger, the Cubs can acquire…..BARD.

      • FromFenwayPahk

        Oh, I hope not. Poor Bard. He tried to do what Samardzija is successfully pulling off (the move from young set-up man/future closer to starter).
        Bard looks broken. He has a 7.00 ERA in AAA right now…Unless a talented Cubs’ pitching scout can see what he’s doing wrong…

        • stillmisskennyhubbs

          Ref. was to “Bard of Avon”,
          not necessarily Bard of Boston.
          Still like the Much Ado quotation.

  • LostInTheIvy

    I think to many Cub fans are stuck in the Hendry era where u jump at the first possible thing and not wait it out for a better package…that loosey goosey approach is why got us these bad contracts and it’s y we r in the position we r in now…let’s just be patient and trust that if a trade hasn’t been made yet that Theo and company are trying to get the BEST possible deal done without just settling! To many fans are wanting movement for the sake of movement but will then be upset if it’s a bad deal..let the FO do their jobs and lets see what happens

  • Timmy

    If there was ever material evidence of the Cubs curse, it’s Ryan Dempster knowingly sabotaging the team after claiming an exorbitant contract for himself in the off-season. He’s having a great year, but that his year is so inherently meaningless and unable to be parlayed into genuine momentum is the character of ‘curse’ itself.

  • ferrets_bueller

    Love the new stove pic, Brett.

    • Flashfire

      Just noticed that. That’s funny.

      • Diesel

        I imagine that is what the stove would look like if my girlfriend tried to cook.

  • Cubs10

    You know, the gf is a huge Angels fan. And with the additions that they’ve acquired, I can’t say that I’m jealous. She was really excited about each and every one of them…Pujols (well, not THAT excited), Wilson, Frieri, and now Greinke (whom idiot espn analysts said was the biggest arm in FA). But then you notice how much they’ve depeleted their farm system and it reminded me of us. That excitement of getting big names off the market, outbidding other teams…it was all nice and everything but it didn’t exactly get us anywhere either. So when she told me how excited she was about all of this, I told her to remember those words 5 years from now…Knowing our luck though, they probably will win a WS. In any case, if our team, through all of this building and suffering becomes a consistent playoff contender, whom the Angels have been for quite a few years, we’ll look back 5 years from now and be glad we didn’t make the same mistakes.

    • quintz

      Hmmmm…..I love me some Cubbies, but if the Angels wanted to do a straight up roster swap right now, I think I’d do it:)

      • Cubs10

        Haha and it just so happens that 2 of their best guys are from their farm!

  • TheJDawg

    Is it bad that the Cub fan in me expects the Cubs to fail at the deadline either by picking up less than stellar talent or no trades at all?? Here is hoping for the best, and expecting the worst…

    • Kyle

      Not at all.

      Nothing is over yet, but things look decidedly less promising for this deadline than they did a month ago. This is turning into the 2008 NLDS of trade deadlines: So much buildup and anticipation, then a huge, soul-crushing dud.

  • Kevin

    Very quiet today, could be a good sign!

  • RY34

    no way in hell maholm should be traded; we need to keep him.

    • leroy k.

      150% agree. He doesn’t even want to be traded.

    • Carew

      Agreed. I think they should keep Garza, Maholm, and Shark all as long-term pieces. But thats just me

      • RY34

        totally agree with you. lets go after a big bat or two and a solid reliever or two.

    • quintz

      Every man has a price……even…….Paul Maholm.

  • cubmig

    Hopefully Theo&Jed see Maholm as a contributing influence to good solid, reliable pitching. It’s one thing to trade for upside, it’s another to let it go.

  • Carew

    So uh apparently the Mets have discussed Soto. Please rekindle those talks!

  • paul

    maybe nobody wants to give us anything for Hendry players only one Dempster and he said no.

  • Cheryl

    Any rumors on possible LaHair trade?