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And, so it begins. A 30-hour journey into the depths of insanity, depravity, and baseball rumors.

I am currently blogging – here, on Facebook, and on Twitter (hash tag #BNBlogathon for those who want to jump into the fray themselves) – for 30 hours straight, until slightly past MLB’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. I’ll be doing recaps on the process throughout the day, but you’ll also see normal posting (Bullets, Series Preview, Pre-Gamin’, EBS), as well as an uptick in rumor/trade posts.

This will give you a taste of what the recaps will look like, and also

News and Rumors Since the Last Recap:

None. This is the first recap, so there’s nothing to recap. Fortunately, or unfortunately, nothing much happened while I was taking my pre-Blogathon sleep, which went well, by the way.

Most Interesting Tidbit Since the Last Recap:

It’s not since the last recap, but Ken Rosenthal just reported it – if you’ll recall, there was some confusion about whether a deal involving a 10/5 player was subject to a 24-hour waiting period (giving the guy plenty of time to think about the trade). If that was true, deals involving those guys – think Dempster or Soriano – would have to be agreed upon today, so they could be finalized tomorrow. Rosenthal says that changed in the new CBA, and there’s no longer such a waiting period, which is good news for the Cubs.

Current Thoughts About the Chicago Cubs’ Trade Deadline Strategy/Execution:

There isn’t much to analyze at this point, other than the Cubs’ apparent desire to be patient, and keep asking prices sky high. For now, it seems like a fair strategy, given that the deadline is still 30 hours away. Then again, trades already seem to be favoring sellers, so maybe it’s time to get on with it.

Current Beverage/Stimulant of Choice:

None yet. About to have a bowl of caffeine-free cereal.

Strangest Thought Passing Through My Mind:

None yet. I am refreshed, focused, and not at all crazy.

Current Mood:

Nerd-level excited …

  • BD

    Based on what has conspired, I think the FO will use Veterans to not only add some youngsters, but to upgrade existing youngsters. Meaning. as an example: let’s trade a C+ prospect with a pitcher to get back 2 B+ prospects, etc.

    Either way, I hope our big league team is a lot younger tomorrow night, and our top 10 prospects list has some more players to consider.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      This +1. I’d be extactic if they can do some of these transactions. I also think that’s how Soto, Johnson, and other lesser guys will have the greatest impact.

  • cls

    Can I just watch you decent into madness while I simply point and snicker?

  • Smitty

    Brett, I hope that you will be kept busy, thus making it virtually impossible for you to get tired because you will be so pumped about all the “awesome” trades the FO made.

    If the next 30 hours are like last night, I will be saying several prayers for your sanity.

    Good Luck!

  • EB

    Good luck Brett!

  • Justin Koehneke

    Brett,

    Do you see the cubs adding an impact player in free agency next year?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      As of this moment, I doubt it – though there are going to be, like, a total of three or so true “impact” players available.

      • andrew

        I’d say the tiers of free agents will be

        Impact guys (young allstar talent):

        Bourn
        Greinke
        Hamilton
        Melky cabrera
        Anibal Sanchez

        Intriguing guys (either young pretty good talent or older very good talent):

        Upton
        Victorino
        Napoli
        Ross
        Swisher
        Dempster
        Peavy (assuming option isnt picked up which it probably wont)
        Marcum
        Oswalt

        Then there are a lot of guys that could be decent flyers as well. Overall it doesnt look great but there are definitely splashes to be made in the outfield and on the mound which the cubs might need help in if any combinatin of dejesus/soriano/lahair get traded.

        • MichiganGoat

          Bourn is the one guy I really hope the Cubs target, a true leadoff hitter is something we haven’t had for a LONG time.

          • terencem

            I don’t see where they’d play Bourn and I don’t like the idea of signing a speed-based free agent following the best season of his career when the team is still a couple seasons from competing. That’s a lot of money to tie up on a center fielder when they will need more help in the rotation and at third base. Seriously, it’s like the Cubs don’t have a third baseman right now.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          How about Brandon McCarthy?

          • Whiteflag

            Like.

          • BeyondFukudome

            Rather have Charlie McCarthy. At least he’d be useful for firewood (sorry, Phil).

          • ETS

            Wrigley needs GO pitchers. I say go after McCarthy hard.

          • andrew

            honestly I didnt notice him on the list i guess the name doesnt pop out since hes in oakland. the injuries combined with having not as long of a successful track record I think make him very intriguing but not impact because there is too much uncertainty. I think impact are guys that likely to be very valuable for 3-5 years. Sanchez is that to me based on consecutive 3 WAR seasons in ’10 and ’11 and a successful ’12 campaign as well.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I like Sanchez, too, I just think he’s going to get a looooot of money.

              • andrew

                I think all the impact players i mentioned and some intriguing guys will get a lot of money but if the cubs decide to drop that kind of money this offseason, I think some of those guys might be worth it. a lot of what they do this offseason will depend on what the team looks like tomorrow at 3:01 pm.

        • cubs217

          Im intrigued by Upton, Sanchez and Cabrera the mostly because of their age. However, I am concerned that we will have to overpay to get Cabrera due to his performance this year and both Sanchez and Upton are inconsistent.

          • andrew

            Cabrera was iffy to me since hes kind of exploded these last two seasons. Impact players will cost a lot so the price doesnt concern me if the improvements hes made are sustainable, but if he keeps up this kind of production its hard to say over 1400 AB of well above average offensive production from a good fielder can be dismissed. If Sanchez finishes strong, that is 3 consecutive years of being at least a #2 pitcher at worst an excellent #3 pitcher so I think that makes him impact talent. I agree with Upton he hasnt been a huge impact player since 2008 really so hes merely intriguing to me at this point.

      • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

        If I had to guess they will go after guys that are bounce back candidates for next season.

        • Ryan G

          Did someone say Tim Lincecum?

        • Hee Seop Chode

          That was certainly the stragey last year. I wonder what the bounce back track record is for pitchers?

  • 100 Years of Tears

    I’ll be at the game tomorrow night… and as much as I still like him, I really hope Dempster’s not pitching.

  • Flashfire

    Hey, Brett, do you have some Harry Caray impersonations to keep us entertained if nothing happens for the next 30 hours? Or maybe a “where are they now” recap on Abner Abreu and Carlton Smith?

  • Blitzenjohn

    Good luck, Brett. I hope there’s something to write about…

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    I’ve already underestimated how hard it is to keep up with the comments, tweets, and write a post at the same time … hour one …

    • Fishin Phil

      We were much smaller last yearer. Pace yourself Brett.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I think that’s how it’s going to have to be. I can’t asplode in the first three hours.

    • EvenBettersV2.0

      After the Braves/Dempster saga, you are a brave soul for entering yourself into this.

    • Freshness21

      Good luck today Brett!

    • hansman1982

      you may want to consider adding support staff for next year! By year 4 you will be as big as ESPN, by year 5 you will form a singularity and we will all squeal with delight as we are sucked past the event horizon wearing pajama’s made by cats (the creator didn’t understand the original concept but they were like snuggies, only better, so we couldnt resist).

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Ha …

  • https://twitter.com/cubsfantroy @cubsfantroy

    The best thing about missing a lot of the day, at 1:30 in the morning when I come home from work, I will still be seeing/getting updates.

  • donnie kessinger

    I like the idea of packaging to get better prospects… What’s the use of acquiring average prospects – we have a lot of those already.

  • Cub Style

    I want to see something new and shiny when I go to the game on the 10th. NEW AND SHINY!

  • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

    I assume your local Dunkin cashier will get to know you quite well in the next 30 hours. Or have you made the migration over to Starbucks since it’s the origin of Theo in Chicago?

    Oh, right. Baseball. It appears the Braves are out on Beckett which is good news for the Cubs. They didn’t want to take on the financial obligations. I would not put the Dodgers completely out on the Texan though considering they have the deep pockets to absorb what he’s owed. It would also prevent them from having to give up Lee if they assumed 70+% of what Beckett is owed.

    • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

      Check that. If the Dodgers assumed 20-30% of what Beckett is owed. Not 70%.

  • http://www.backingthepack.com Rynomite

    So,

    The Cubs are 17-10 since Rizzo was recalled, and they are 9-7 against teams that are currently .500 or better during that stretch. I can definitely see the desire to trade Dempster since he is a free agent at year’s end, and any time you can make a trade to help your ballclub, you make it. But…

    Certainly the Cubs will not contend this year, but I don’t know if the Cubs need to be in wait until 2014 mode. If they can get a MLB-ready prospect today, go for it. But the nucleus of the current team might be good to enough to be respectable, maybe even compete, while we wait on Baez and the other studs in the lower minors to get here.

    The general sentiment seems to be to blow this thing up, but I’m not sure that dumping Garza, Maholm, and other solid veterans doesn’t just unnecessarily push the timeline to compete back further.

    • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

      Ryan Dempster is a veteran that needs to be moved. Take the emotion of the last week out of it and he’s still a 35 year old journey whose best days are clearly behind him. Keeping him on this roster past tomorrow at 4 PM EST does nothing to help the ballclub future out.

      Garza being kept is probably the best course at this point. We’ve yet to see a team other than Detroit relinquish high prospects for something less than a #1 starter (i.e. Greinke). Unless we’re seeing a top 5 organizational pitching prospect or two top 10 organizational prospects coming back for Garza, perhaps this slight injury was a blessing since Garza is unlikely to move.

      Maholm is probably the most interesting source of debate. He’s given up 1 ER or less in his last 7 starts. A case could be made to another team that he’s worth B to B+ prospect for a contender. Then again, that string of starts has only lowered his rate stats to a 3.74 ERA and his WHIP still stands at 1.24 on the season. He still only strikes out ~6 per nine. The value in Maholm is the lack of home runs he gives up. A team in desperate need of pitching in a ballpark like Texas could be a place where you could acquire some talent from a deep pool of prospects if the Rangers don’t acquire Josh Johnson. The Greinke trade has put John Daniels in a bind. Texas needs another starter. Especially with Lewis going down last week.

      • notcubbiewubbie

        great take on dumpster

      • Cyranojoe

        Inaccurate take on Dempster. His “best days” are not clearly behind him — he’s having a career year right now. I’m not saying he’s sure to do well next year or even next month, but I take objection to the “clearly”. Likely? Probably. But not clearly. Assumptions, my friend…

        • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

          His qualifying offer for next year is $12.5M. Would you wager that kind of money on a 36 year old player? To put it in perspective, the comparable players at this stage of their careers (age 35) are the following:

          - AJ Burnett (having a nice rebound year in Pittsburgh. I can break down the Pitch FX if you like, but Burnett has better pure “stuff” than Ryan Dempster. He also makes $33M this year and next combined)
          - Chan Ho Park (started just 7 games after age 35)
          - Pedro Astacio (started 39 games after age 35. Compiled a 5.23 ERA for TEX, SDP and WSH. Allowed nearly a baserunner and a half per inning during that stretch. Retired at age 37)
          - Steve Traschel (I really hope no parenthetical aside is necessary here)
          - Ken Hill (started zero games after age 35)
          - Todd Stottlemyre (started 2 games after age 37)

          These are just the BBR scores. Ryan Dempster is having a career year in 2012, this cannot be denied. He’s still 35 years old. Baseball players don’t get better at this stage of their careers. Position players generally peak at age 28-29. Pitchers, as Theo even mused during his opening presser when he was hired, are a bit more difficult to put your finger on. They generally have their best years in their late 20s and early 30s. They can see revivals in their later years, but the success is generally not sustained. Dempster is a textbook sell-high case. You’d be taking a risk by retaining him, hoping for a duplicate performance in future years. That risk would cost you, at the very least, $12.5M. I think a cheaper, high upside alternative with room to grow is a better course of action.

          • Cyranojoe

            Yeah, that’s the funny thing, I totally want him to get traded. I agree on your sell-high point, 110%. I think I just jumped on the guy’s word choice. :P

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Trachsel is still pitching. He’s just between windups right now.

            • Lakeshot

              ^ That’s awesome.

        • Sosa23

          dempsters gotta go

    • NCBrad

      Keep in mind thought that the FO is not building this team to just be in contention. The goal is to build a team that can consistently make the playoffs. As constructed, it is unlikely that this team could make the playoffs, let alone win the World Series. And to be able to consistently make the playoffs they need a steady stream of prospects that can contribute at the major league level. The Cubs aging players should be dealt in favor of new prospects.

    • terencem

      You can’t just put the whole month of July on Rizzo. The Cubs have had some great pitching performances from Malholm. Marmol has really turned things around. Dempster returned to the rotation after his short DL stint. Travis Wood has had some very good games. There’s a bit of a bounce that is probably not sustainable. This is still not the foundation for a winning team.

  • andrew

    I would be interested in a post explaining some of the nuances often built into contracts. i.e. what is the difference between a mutual option, vesting option, club option, player option. The last two i think i know but beyond that its baffling.

    • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

      Club – Team can choose to exercise the option or not pick it up in which case the player hits UFA. Salary for the option is predetermined.

      Player – Player can choose to exercise the option or not pick it up in which case the player hits UFA. Salary still predetermined.

      Mutual – Both the player and the team have to sign off on the option. If the player opts out, then he becomes UFA. If the team opts out, the player becomes UFA. Both must exercise the option by the date in the contract to retain the player.

      Vesting – Generally done by statistics. For example, Philly has a vesting option on Cliff Lee (scroll to the bottom here). If Cliff pitches 200 innings in 2015 then his contract for 2016 is automatically exercised for $27.5M, If he pitches 400 innings in 2014 and 2015 combined, it exercises. If neither of those statistical prerequisites hits, Cliff enters UFA in 2016. He can also be bought out of this prior to that happening (the IPs) for $12.5M. He has to accept the buyout though. Basically vesting is if Player A achieves statistical requirement B or wins Award C (Cy Young, MVP etc) then Option D kicks in.

      Hope that helps.

  • a_mazz_ing

    Not going to lie. Today and tomorrow is like Christmas Eve and Christmas. Let’s see if my presents will suck this year or not…

    • Flashfire

      Socks and underwear!

      • a_mazz_ing

        Are they flashy socks and kinky underwear is the real question.

      • Cyranojoe

        I want Tony Campana’s socks and RizzOMG’s testosterone-laden undies.

    • notcubbiewubbie

      hopefully better than the bag of coal last year.

  • cubchymyst

    Brett, best of luck. Wish I could follow it all day but its moving day for me so I’m not going to be able to follow after the first couple hours. Looking forward to reading everything latter tonight to follow the descent into sleep deprived insanity.

  • donnie kessinger

    Ryno makes a valid point. Some of our starters could anchor this rotation for years. If Maholm is the real deal, maybe we should hold on to him. Along with Garza and Smardie, perhaps our rotaion is not that far away. Just keep adding a piece here or there.

    • Ted

      Given that the entirety of our team is unlikely to be competitive before 2014, those who could “anchor our rotation” (I put in quotes because I’m skeptical that this rotation is good when removed from Cub fandom) will be 30+ by the time we’re fielding a major league team. It’s a nice thought — and I’m not averse to spending some money and making us short-term not an embarrassment considering how much money this market has for the Cubs — but unlikely that they can be part of a foundation for sustained success.

  • Nick

    Good luck Brett!
    Go Cubs Go

  • MichiganGoat

    The question that I need answered is #WWDTD – What would Dick Tidrow do? I’m guessing he’s on his way to LA to “convince” the Dodgers to give us Kemp for Dempster

  • Gcheezpuff

    Theory: Theo and Jed were fired a month ago but asked to stay on past the deadline to help finish draft signing. They are now unwilling to trade any players so that the next GM can decide who they want to keep…. J/K

    • Cyranojoe

      It… it’s so crazy, it must be true!!!

  • RICH

    G.Puff

    NICE

  • cubfanincardinalland

    The rush to trade Maholm is just dumb. The guy is a proven major league starting pitcher, 28 years old, entering the phase of his career when many lefties really figure it out. Looks to be the case right now. And he is only going to cost you 6 million of payroll next season. Did you see what it took to sign Hamels fellows? If anything Theo and company should be talking about an extension with him.
    Hearing guys say if we can get a Bplus prospect. Huh, if you can’t get two players who project as quality big league players, forget about it.

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      Paul Maholm is 30 and that is why there should be interest in trading him. No one is saying give him away, but the idea is that players that are performing well might actually net you something useful.

    • Cyranojoe

      Hm, not sure that “proven” is an accurate adjective for Paul. He’s kicking it now, but previously he was pretty close to sub-average. This could be sign of a turnaround, or just a career year. Sell high, buy low, right? I won’t complain if we hold on to him and see if he pans out, but I won’t mind if this FO decides it’s “sell high” time.

    • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

      It’s not really fair to compare Maholm and Hamels. Hamels’ worst career WHIP is 1.286. Maholm’s best, at age 26, was 1.279. Hamels is a strikeout pitcher, Maholm is a control and finesse pitcher. There’s no doubt that Paul Maholm has value to a Major League team, but Cole Hamels is a #1 starter candidate. Maholm is more of a #3 starter and likely a #4. Calling him a proven pitcher when his 162 game averages are 4.30 ERA, 1.407 WHIP, with a K/BB ratio of 1.89 isn’t quite accurate. He had a very nice 2011 and a great run in 2012 after a pretty forgettable start. Getting two MLB ready players for that is an unlikely deal at best.

  • rbreeze

    The way Maholm pitches, he can pitch efectively until his mid to late 30′s. He reminds me of Ted Lilly. No real hard stuff but he knows how to pitch. A foundation of Garza, Samardzie and Maholm may be a nice rotation to build on as the younger guys mature in the minors. The Cubs just aren’t a couple of key acquisitions away from the world series but they are a couple of players away from .500 and respectability!
    The FO will not get rid of players just to get rid of them. They will hold out for value.

    • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

      The FO will not get rid of players just to get rid of them. They will hold out for value.

      I agree with this.

    • terencem

      Lilly is actually a strikeout pitcher, or was. His career K/9 is 7.6 and averaged around 160-170 K’s per season while Maholm’s has a career K/9 of 5.6. They are nothing alike other than being left-handed.

      • terencem

        You just don’t want to hold onto guys like Maholm and hope their BABIP magic works every season. That’s how you become the Twins.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    My point was not to compare him in ability to Cole Hamels. Obviously Hamels is a better pitcher. But Maholm will make 25% of Hamels salary next year. Look at his numbers from 160 innings last season and 120 innings this year. He is a guy who is figuring out how to be an effective starting pitcher. 3.6 era an 1.25 whip. Those are 15 million a year type numbers for a starting pitcher. Theo is all about value, Maholm is a great value right now. I have to get blown away in an offer to give up that value.

    • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

      But Maholm will make 25% of Hamels salary next year. Look at his numbers from 160 innings last season and 120 innings this year.

      He’ll make $6.5M next year. A year that we’re unlikely to contend.

      3.6 era an 1.25 whip. Those are 15 million a year type numbers for a starting pitcher.

      Man, I sure hope not.

      Theo is all about value, Maholm is a great value right now.

      He sure is. But after 2013, if your projections on salary are even close to accurate, he’s not a great value. Especially at age 32.

      I have to get blown away in an offer to give up that value.

      I have to get a high-upside starting pitcher currently not even eligible for pre-arb that is until my control until at least 2017 to give up that value. I agree with your premise that you need to get a return that is comparable to the way he’s pitched in the last 6 weeks. It doesn’t change that Maholm is a sell-high candidate and is the type of pitcher that can be replaced for similar monetary value future out. He’s a sell candidate at both this year’s deadline, this winter and next deadline should he still be here. The problem with the latter two, is you’re not sure if his value will be as high as it is right now.

  • http://twitter.com/SouvenirCity Engine 78

    I wonder how this potential of Cliff Lee to Texas would affect the Cubs? They’re not interested in any of our pitching (except maybe Maholm, and that’s remote) but it would take another top line starter off the market and another suitor off too. I suppose the ancillary effects are minimal for the Cubs outside of maybe making NL teams like WSH, ATL and LAD have a greater desire to acquire a front line starter.

  • Nick

    BREAKING NEWS:
    “The cubs are set to announce a trade this afternoon but source did not name players”

    • Internet Random

      News that isn’t.

    • Falselife

      Oh hai! I bet we get Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in a 3 team deal for Soto and Hee Sop Choi…thanks for breaking this stunning news!

    • hogie

      Assman beat you by about 6 hours.

  • Dustin

    And….your….sources….are…..?

  • Max Miller

    I’m getting furious hearing all these “Dodgers and Cubs still working on deal for Ryan Dempster.” Enough already. They don’t want to offer anything of value for him. Tell them to go stuff it. We don’t need them. I’d rather keep him and boo him the rest of the year than waste all this time trying to make him happy. I’m convinced one reason this season has been so quiet is because the FO’s time has been monopolized over Dempster. I despise the guy now and hope he has a miserable rest of his career. This diva-ness is beyond foregiveness.

    • notcubbiewubbie

      so many flies around a pile of dog crap. come on he really is a nice guy good in the clubhouse!!!! insert laugh track now.

  • Dustin

    Soriano is still being discussed as part of demp to LAD

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