Shopping Dempster … and Other Cubs News and Notes

The roster moves made Thursday figure to just be the beginning of the changes that are on the horizon for the Cubs. Ryan Dempster could be making his final start Friday in a Cubs’ uniform at Wrigley. Several teams are rumored to be interested in Matt Garza but it is unclear if Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would rather keep Garza or trade him away. Alfonso Soriano seems to have created a little interest with the tear he’s been on over the last month. Then there are players such as Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson that could have value to a contender.

On the injury front, while Geovany Soto appears to be close to returning from the DL, Ian Stewart was placed on the disabled list Thursday and he could be looking at season-ending surgery on his nagging left wrist.

Here’s the update that includes more draft signings …

The 2012 Draft
The Cubs have reportedly agreed to terms with several of their 2012 draft picks and the news of the signings is slowly being announced. Theo Epstein said earlier in the week they are waiting for players to pass physicals before making the announcements.

Baseball America reported Thursday that the Cubs signed their fourth round pick, RHP Josh Conway to a $280,000 bonus … $63,200 less than the $343,200 assigned to the Cubs for their fourth round selection.

The Cubs have now signed: RHP Pierce Johnson (1S, 43rd overall); RHP Josh Conway (4th round); LHP Anthony Prieto (5th round); 2B Steve Bruno (7th round); LHP Michael Heesch (8th round); C Chadd Krist (9th round); RHP Corbin Hoffner (14th round); LHP Nathan Dorris (17th round); CF Izaac Garsez (30th round).

The deadline to sign players selected in this year’s draft is July 13.

Ian Stewart
The Cubs placed Ian Stewart on the 15-day DL Thursday after he was unable to play Wednesday. Stewart has been dealing with soreness in his left wrist all season and the Cubs are concerned he could have nerve damage in the wrist. Stewart is scheduled to see a wrist specialist (Cleveland Clinic) on Monday.

Stewart admitted to ESPN Chicago that surgery on the wrist is a possibility and it could cost him the rest of the season.

Shopping Dempster
Theo Epstein and Ryan Dempster met Wednesday in the grandstand at Wrigley to discuss Dempster’s immediate future. Dempster is on the block and could be moved sooner rather than later. Reportedly ten teams are interested in trading for Dempster … but he must approve any trade and controls where he will finish the remainder of the season.

Some think Ryan Dempster could net the Cubs a top ten prospect and most feel Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will try to acquire quality for Dempster instead of quantity. Epstein and Hoyer will “not be shy in asking for top pitching talent in return for the veteran pitcher” according to ESPN Chicago.

The White Sox could be a destination for Dempster and Paul Konerko and Matt Thornton would welcome Dempster to the South Side.

The Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox are also rumored to be interested in Ryan Dempster.

News, Notes and Rumors
According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Orioles had one of their top talent evaluators watching Cubs starting pitchers and Alfonso Soriano on Wednesday night.

According to Bruce Levine, the Toronto Blue Jays are also watching the Cubs this week and could be looking for a bundle deal that might include pitchers and hitters.

Geovany Soto could be activated from the DL on Monday for the start of the series on the South Side. Soto caught again Thursday night (seven innings) and the Cubs would like to see how he is after catching a full nine innings Sunday.

Prince Fielder said Dale Sveum could be long-term difference-maker for the Cubs.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Tony_Hall

    The next month looks to be the hot stove league on steriods.  The amount of activity with the Cubs roster will be high, as players are signed, traded, cut, moved up, moved down across all levels of the system.  

    It would be hard to believe that all of the players we feel should be traded, will be in such a short time, but it is possible, with the new playoff system, creating so many teams that think they have a chance.  That leaves only a few sellers, especially early.  

    My list of who I would like to see traded is: Dempster, Maholm, Marmol, Soto, Barney, Soriano, Baker, R Johnson.   Matt Garza, even with the rough 1st half, I would rather keep, unless someone is willing to pay the high price that would make it a no brainer.  He may not be an ace, but he is a pitcher any team would like to have in it’s rotation. The money doesn’t bother me at all, as the payroll is going to have room while this team has so many young players under control for the next so many years.  Front load his deal and make it work out for the team and the player.

    Dempster can bring back far more than any of us could have expected over the winter, and could still sign back with the Cubs if they have a need to fill a rotation spot for next year (very likely).

    • Zonk

      I agree on a couple points:

      — Trading Garza now would seem like “selling low”.  I would try to keep him
      –The only player besides him that would net a decent return is Dempster. 
      –…Other than maybe LaHair.  Do the Cubs put him on the block?  Does he have enough of a track record to convince other GMs that he’s worth a good prospect or two?  A number of teams have needs at 1B and/or DH, including Orioles, Jays, Dodgers (unless you like James Loney), and Pirates (yes, they are contending)

      –I still cannot beleive that we can trade Soriano.  If he was in the last year of his deal…no problem.  But with 2 more years left after this one, I have a tough time thinking we can trade him to anybody, even picking up most of the tab, which we would of course have to do 

      • Ripsnorter1

        You can trade ANYBODY if you will do these two things:

        1. Pay their entire salary to play for another team2. Receive back players that are either DFA qualtity (re: Koyie Hill, Mike Bowden) or minor leaguers who have no hope of making it to the Bigs anyway.

        Soriano is tradeable.

        • Zonk

          Well sure, but what’s the point if you pay his entire salary?  We’re already on the hook for that.  I get your point though.

          I just have a hard time believing that the residual value, i.e the amount of the tab that the OTHER team will pick-up, is much more than $5 mil.  Given the $46 mil-ish we owe him still, that would mean sending along over $40 mil in cash. 

          • BosephHeyden

            The only reason Soriano would have little value right now is if he went to an NL team.  He’s a DH.  And, judging from how well he’s been doing, he’s a pretty good DH right now.  Like Rip said, you’re eating most, if not all, of his contract, but you’re getting at least on above average prospect back in return.

          • Chadaudio

            I totally agree with all of your points Zonk.  Hold on to Garza for now… there is no benefit of dumping Soriano this year (as much as I hate to say that).

            Just to add, to Tony’s comment, I too secretly hope the Cubs can resign Dempster this offseason, after trading him.  But, if you look at the free agent market this winter, Dempster will probably be in the top 5 free agent starting pitchers… could be out of our rebuilding philosophy.

        • JoeS_SanDiego

          He is actually very tradeable to an American League team…..if he can stay off the field there is hope.

    • cubtex

      Why would they try and resign Dempster next year if they trade him? He is having a good year so he will command a decent salary. He won’t sign a deal like Kerry Wood did and say its the Cubs or retire. My guess is that he will probably get close to 10 mil per. They won’t be winning again next year so it doesn’t make sense.

      • Tony_Hall

        Why…because they may have an opening that they need to fill.  If he is willing to take a 1 year deal, at $10M or even higher, AND there is a need for a SP for at least the 1st half of the season, then he would be a good fit. 

        • cubtex

          Do you really think Dempster would take a one year deal coming off a good year like this? Doesn’t make sense Tony. He needs to capitalize on this year and set himself up with a 2 or 3 year deal and call it a career

          • Tony_Hall

            He might.  Let’s face it, he likes Chicago, and by getting traded in June and July, increases your chance of playing for a ring, as you get to go to a team in contention.

          • cubtex

            I really doubt it and he knows he could be traded again next year to another contender since the Cubs will not be in the race. Most people will not leave millions on the table to sign a 1 year deal. I got to believe many teams would be willing to go 2 or even 3 years to get Dempster during free agency.

          • Tony_Hall

            That was my point, he has a better chance of getting on a playoff team, by signing with the Cubs and being traded in June or July to a team that is going to the playoffs, then signing with a team he hopes will be good enough to make the playoffs.

            At this point in his career, and the amount of money he has made, I believe winning will come first.

  • Tony_Hall

    I have a feeling Ian Stewart could spend the rest of the season on the DL, regardless of if he has surgery or not.  If they save his option for next year, they could send him to AAA next year and let him work out his hitting there, with hopefully a good set of wrists.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Here’s your chance to see what Vitters can do.

      They’ll play Valbuena or Cardenas instead. Ugh!

      • SuzyS

        Just made mention to my friends that we might be better off with a road trip to Boise or Peoria…then going to Wrigley. Actually…that sounds like a great plan…
        This year we go to games only at Boise or Peoria…Next year it’s on to Daytona and Tennessee. (Tennessee’s closer). It might be tough to hang out in Iowa for a full season the next year…But then we could visit ” that field”, you know, where Ray Liotta/James Earl Jones/Kevin Costner/and Burt Lancaster brought some “magic to life”. So, I guess
        after that…the Cubs and Wrigley might be really exciting again…We sure hope so anyway.

        That’s really a lot of work…just to avoid bad seasons at Clark and Addison….Calling Moonlight Graham…Calling Moonlight Graham.
        Is there a Doctor in the House????

        • Cloycub13

          “Got to get home or Felicia will think I got a Girlfriend” Wink… Still one of the greatest movies of all time, I Play James Earl Jones speech right before the season starts every year, and usually at least once in the winter.

          I also love when Ray Liota is talking about the smell of the grass and sniffing his glove or a ball, just for the smell of the leather!

          Shows me that even though I am a Cub fan I am also a fan of the game, and although the Cubs are dreadful…I can take joy in the fact that baseball is on TV, in the air and it is summer.

          Now, on to remaking this franchise! 

          • PleaseStopLosing

            “People will come Ray… people will most definitely come.” Love it; filmed a half hour from my hometown.

      • BosephHeyden

         I wasn’t all that impressed with Valbuena’s skill set yesterday.  Obviously, it was his first game in the majors, and you absolutely must give a guy like that a few more games.  But I always figured Valbuena would be doing exactly what Cardenas is doing right now:  starting maybe once or twice every two weeks, but primarily coming in off the bench.

        But hey, I figure we see Vitters the same time we see Rizzo.

        • DWalker

          maybe. They also might be concerned he still hasn’t developed at AAA like they hoped he would and are gun shy that calling him up will do more damage then good. The Rizzo call-up last year is weighing on them.

          They are also wanting to cycle players, so they may have made this call up to see what he can do and see if he has more potential then some others on the rostor.

        • cubs1967

          Valbuena has been in the majors before. with seattle and cleveland; over 700 at-bats for career.
          he sucks; that’s the real problem. back-up at best.
          real problem is trading for stewart to begin with; bad trade, results are proving it.
          hope vitters gets called un in september

        • Ripsnorter1

          Valbuena–not impressed, eh? First game and all….yeah.

          Oh wait: He’s a 5 year vet. 
          Cleveland wasn’t much impressed, either, after that .193 campaign in 2010 when he got 310 PA, and a massive .209 campaign in 2011.  Kinda reminds one of Ian Stewart. 

          He’s just another Team Theo pickup. They are collecting .193 hitters.

          Koyie Hill
          Ian Stewart 
          Luis Valbuena
          Adrian Cardenas
          et al

          Here’s a link to his stats……

      • Zonk

        Probably for the rest of the year we’ll see a Valbuena/Mather platoon, and a September call-up by Vitters.  No reason to rush him.

        Valbuena has had a nice year at Iowa, but is really more of a 2B, and didn’t hit enough to keep his job in Cleveland.  I can’t get too excited.

      • cubtex

        I agree. No pressure situation. Team is not winning and Vitters could get a cup of coffee with the big club and who cares if he makes some mistakes as long as he is learning and we can see if he is the future.

      • Tony_Hall

        Vitters will be a Sept call up at most.  I expect him to come to ST with a chance to be the 3B, but most likely will spend the first couple of months in AAA next year.

    • Zonk

      We will lose club control though temporarily…..because unless we are willing to pay Stewart at least $3.5 mil (highly unlikely), he is going to be non-tendered, and will be a free-agent.

      Now, I don’t think Stewart gets a guaranteed ML deal at this point; probably just a minor-league deal and NRI to Spring Training.  On that basis, I would take him back for sure.  Why not?

      But someone could outbid us.  I think the Cubs offer as wide-open a 3B as any team, but still….

      • Ripsnorter1

        I don’t think he has much value to other MLB teams. 

      • Tony_Hall

        Good point, but it’s not like they can’t fit that salary into their budget for next year, if they want to, but most likely he will be released.

  • Tony_Hall

    As far as what to get back in all of these trades.  

    Pitching, pitching and more pitching.  

    They need to get back 1 or 2 young pitchers who are ready to go in the majors. 

    Many of the players they get back will be a year or 2 away or more, so the need to have a portion of the return ready to go either now (needing an opportunity and their current club has the player blocked) or early next year.Now the return can’t be all pitching, but any hitters need to be for the now, versus down the road, as I feel confident that the supply of position players will create enough players coming up to the majors, but it will be a few years.  

    The summer trade deadline is going to be an important time for the new regime.  By getting more for a few of these players, than any of us could have expected (before the season), it will accelerate the rebuilding process. 

    • Zonk

      I agree, and I would concentrate on young, power arms.  If they are in A-ball, no big deal; this is going to take awhile unfortunately.  And teams are more willing to surrender unpolished prospects.

      And besides, only Dempster or Garza are worth an arm that is approaching ML-ready.  Everyone else we are lucky to get a question mark. (except LaHair maybe, but I have a tough time reading his trade value)

    • SuzyS

       Tony and Zonk, While I tend to agree with the pitching assessment…I believe we really to address the “General” position if possible.
      I’m not really comfortable with Soto, Castillo, and Clevenger…going forward.

      If we make most of our moves at the July 31st trade deadline….It should be a relatively quiet offseason in terms of trades.

      2 of my favorite catchers ever were Carlton Fisk…and I hate to say it…but A.J. Pierzinski (Sp?). In other words…no nonsense, hard nose players that can actually control a game.

      I don’t really see anyone close to that in house with the Cubs…and I think it is really important that we find a catcher as close to those ideals to handle all the young arms coming in.

      Old school baseball thinking…(which I subscribe to in many ways)…is you must have strength up the middle…(C/2nd/SS/CF) to begin to build a true championship team.

      I agree, we need lots of power arms….but also…really strong candidates to catch those arms.

      • cubtex

        I agree Suzy. Many are quick to want to dump Soto but I am not sold on Castillo or Clevenger being everyday catchers either. I would like to see Theo try and lure a young catching prospect back in one of the deals he makes as well. The Yankees have several young catchers so if they are one of the suitors that could be a possibility.

      • Tony_Hall

        I hear you on the catcher position, but my philosophy on catchers is keep them coming, developed in the same way, so as to be defensive 1st, and offense it secondary.  Keep them for 2-4 years and keep the backup as a 0-2 guy and don’t allocate much dollars to the position.  UNLESS, you find a Yadier.

  • Ripsnorter1

    This is all very exciting.

    It’s just like last year’s winter meetings, when Team Theo signed David DeJesus to replace Funko.

    And to heighten our expectations to a crescendo, last night Jed’s former team, the San Diego Padres, won again, and now they are two games behind us for the race for the worst team in MLB.

    • SuzyS

       Rip…thanks for the smile…

    • cubs1967

      dempster is the only player to bring back value.  garza too if they move him.  sori and soto won’t get much; the rest will be guys never to be seen before for reed-baker-etc.
      in the end alot of hype; like when theo showed up; not much real value and if team theo is using the same scouts as we did for the marshall trade and stewart trade; then it’s basically the cubs donating players to other teams; not getting assets back.

      • cubtex

        Theo really needs to hit HR’s on the Dempster and Garza trades! He is definately due!

  • cubtex

    Iowa Cubs are here in Austin again next week so I will be sure to check out a game or 2. They will be playing Round Rock June 19th thru the 22nd.

  • SuzyS

     This article gives us insight not only into Baez the prospect…but also how what the Cubs thinking is in regards to handling prospects…and bringing them along in the right way:

  • paulcatanese

    Cubs considering 3 catchers, so that Clevenger can pinch hit or play first once in a while?
    What sense does that make? Does it mean Soto is back to number 1?
    Why? At this point Clevenger is clearly the better player. Is this more of the mentality of playing someone (Soto) to build up trade value?

    So far I have seen that work only once( Soriono).

    • J Daniel

      TRADE VALUE!  Hope he gets hot before July 31.  I would do the same thing and then Clevenger can go the rest of the way.  

      The only thing that matters this year is to maximize returns on vets to get as many prospects as possible.

    • Coachdon

       I thought Clevenger could play a little third base as well. Or am I misremembering that?

      • Tony_Hall

        I believe he actually came up as a middle infielder.  

    • Ripsnorter1

      It hasn’t worked just yet, Paul. 

      Soriano is still on the roster.

  • Chadaudio

    Side note: If we do trade Dempster, I think I’d rather have Rodrigo Lopez in our rotation, instead of Volstad (as bad as that sounds).  What do you guys prefer?

    • Calicub

      to make rip happy i say bring on Chi Chi!

    • Ripsnorter1

      I want Volstad. 

      I am looking for him to set a new record for most games without a victory. He’s at 18 right now, ….or is it 19? In any case, don’t you think it would be exciting to see him lose 50 games in a row? 

      Think of the draw it will have with Theo Lovers!

    • cubtex

      Are you actually trying to field the best team to win games? Why? Let’s get the #1 pick next year.

      • Chadaudio

        I don’t think that will be a problem, with whomever we have replace Demp.  I keep hoping that Volstad can be a monster out of the pen… he just doesn’t look like he can pull it together as a starter.

        But, shoot, if we trade Dempster and Moholom – then we’ll get to see them BOTH!!

    • cubs1967

      I would vote for Rick Reuschel……….I loved that guy back in the 1970’s…… of my favs.  Lets at least get players we like playing……haha.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Castro is hitting .214 in June….

    Lahair, after hitting .253 in May, is hitting .281 in June, but with only 2 HR and 4 RBi and 2 BB to go with his usual 14 ks.Reed Johnson is hitting .407 in June.

    Campana is hitting .225 with ZERO BBs and 13 K in 40 June AB.

    Clevinger is hitting .132 in 38 June ABs.

    DeJesus…Funko’s replacement….139 in 36 June ABs. But he has been HBP two times in June.

    Stewart hit .226 in June, with Zero RBIs to boot.

    • cubtex

      Campana cannot hit enough to be an everyday player.
      Clevenger is a platoon catcher
      DeJesus obviously is not a middle of the order bat
      LaHair hopefully can be dealt for a prospect
      Stewart was a terrible offseason addition
      Joe Mather is not good
      This team is Starlin Castro and a cast of misfits. I bet we will have at least 5 different starters on the team next year for opening day. At least 5.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I disagree. 

        DeJesus is a $10 million dollar middle of the order bat.It was a spectacular signing by Team Theo.

        Team Theo simply does not make mistakes.

        You ought to be ashamed to call yourself a Cubs’ fan. And you ought to be censored.


        And to think some wanted to deal Castro off to Boston for compensation for this guy.

        He couldn’t keep his Boston team in line.

        • SuzyS

           Rip, Sounds to me like you and Theo would have a great time in the “Cheers” Bar just off the Boston Common. Just imagine the conversatins you’d have!!!!!

          • Ripsnorter1

            There’s a graveyard about a block away from the Commons, 
            Granary Burying Ground. Paul Revere is buried there, and–(this is the honest truth–no exaggeration at all)–MOTHER GOOSE, (of all people!)
            When Theo gets done with the Cubs, it will be like Humpty-Dumpty: unfixable.

            No doubt “Mother” is his favorite author. Here’s one he quotes often:

            If wishes were horses, Soriano would ride.

            If turnips were strikes, Marmol would strike out the side.

            And if “ifs” and “ands”
            Were real,
            Brett Jackson would be the real deal.

          • SuzyS

             Excellent Rip !!!! Been past that graveyard many,many times.
            Of course, I disagree with your
            take on Theo.  He’s been waaaay overhyped….but I’m willing to give him more than 6 month’s to turn it around.

            If he doesn’t…then we can saunter down a little south of Boston to Fall River and another nursery rhyme:
            Lizzie Bordan…..!

  • JoeS_SanDiego

    We can only PRAY that someone asks for Soriano….we could ask for a case of baseballs in return.