Lukewarm Stove: Oswalt, Garza, Dempster, Soriano, Stewart, Samardzija

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Lukewarm Stove: Oswalt, Garza, Dempster, Soriano, Stewart, Samardzija

Chicago Cubs

The latest from the just-starting-to-kindle mid-season stove…

  • So, Roy Oswalt has officially signed with the Texas Rangers for $5 million (not prorated) and $1 million in incentives. What does this mean for the Cubs? Well, at its outer limits, it’s probably good, or at least neutral, news for the Cubs. The Rangers, to the extent they were in the market for a starting pitcher, were probably looking at most for a short-term fill-in type (they were looking to make the move primarily because Neftali Feliz is injured). That means the Rangers very likely wouldn’t have been in the market for Matt Garza, if he becomes available. It’s possible they would have looked at Ryan Dempster, but the Rangers wanted someone as quickly as possible (Oswalt could be ready to pitch in as few as two or three weeks), and the Cubs might not deal Dempster until late July. That is all to say, Oswalt going to the Rangers probably didn’t harm the Cubs’ market for Garza and Dempster (again, assuming they are made available).
  • Speaking of Garza, Phil Rogers wonders why the Cubs would feel pressured to make a decision on Garza by the trade deadline. He suggests that the Cubs can just wait this year out, and make a decision about whether to trade Garza next year. Phil: Garza’s value in trade drops dramatically if the Cubs wait to trade him in the offseason. Further, you risk injury or extended ineffectiveness absolutely destroying his trade value. If the Cubs are going to trade Garza, this season is the time to do it.
  • Speaking of Dempster, Rogers believes Dempster is worth more to the Cubs than another team, and, if traded, wouldn’t net “a ton” in return. It depends on your definition of “a ton,” but Dempster is likely to be one of the top few pitchers available this Summer, albeit as a mere rental. The Cubs will be able to get enough in return to justify making a trade, of that I’m certain. The questions, instead, remain: will Dempster accept a trade, do the Cubs want Dempster back next year, and do the Cubs think Dempster would accept a “qualifying offer” (approximately $12.5 million for 2013) if they tried to keep him and get draft pick compensation for him after the season? Ultimately, I think a trade is the most likely outcome, but it’s a mighty close call.
  • Bruce Levine chatted yesterday, and offered some thoughts: (1) Josh Vitters isn’t going to replace Ian Stewart any time soon; (2) Theo and Jed are studying Matt Garza’s starts closely to decide whether he’s the “ace” they want to commit to long-term; (3) Alfonso Soriano might be playing too well to release but not well enough to be traded; (4) teams aren’t yet thinking about adding bats, and are instead focusing on pitching; (5) Geovany Soto cannot be traded until he shows he can hit; (6) Bruce thinks the idea of trading Dempster in July and then re-signing him in the offseason is unlikely (I always tell folks that kind of setup never happens, though I can’t help but wonder if Dempster is the exception, given the unique circumstances of the Cubs’ building process, Dempster’s affection for the Cubs and Chicago, and the fact that Dempster would have to agree to the trade in the first place); (7) the Cubs aren’t looking at a Jeff Samardzija extension just yet; and (8) Bruce keeps trying to find out Jorge Soler information, but nobody is talking.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.