Rambling While … Serenity Now, Serenity Now!!

No need to blow smoke, let’s just go.

  • Sure, it would have been nice for Demp to swiftly agree to play for the Braves, but yet again, the Cubs have to get dragged through the “no-trade-clause” haze. And as a fan, it sucks.
  • I remember waiting for the Crime Dog to finally agree back to come to Chicago in ’01 while Aramis didn’t really give a flying frog about playing for a winner last year. I know home is nice, but as many pointed out, a player is on the road half of the time, so it is really not that big of a difference … especially for two months.
  • However, Ryan Dempster has a sick daughter, and no matter what anyone says, that trumps all. He cannot be blamed if he mentions it, nor should he be judged. This excuse is legit, no matter how much you are on the road.
  • With all that said, it is clear that he will go to LA in a heartbeat to be reunited with Theodore and make a run for it all along side Hanley and the boys. So, I hereby grant all fans the right to be “kind of, a little ticked at Dempster.”
  • So, with the 500-pound guerilla out of the way, let’s do some rambling this fine Friday morning …
  • If you haven’t seen it yet, this weekend’s Miller Lite billboard is simply fantastic. A nice little jab.
  • I hope this “Dempster smoke-screen” has allowed the Cubs to fly under the radar and set up some good trade competition for Garza. Did anyone ever really believe they were going to re-sign him?
  • I know it’s not a smoke screen, but whatever.
  • I did like the move saying the Cubs will sit pat with Demp and take the compensatory pick. Solid call by McThoyer.
  • Have any of you ever had too many beers while looking at the Cubs stats and thought, “Dude, we should really hang on to Sori for next year!”
  • No, me neither …
  • And I would also advise that you should not have too many drinks while looking at the Cubs stats. That combination will not end well.
  • Fine, maybe once not too long ago, I saw Sori’s stats and was like … nope, I just can’t admit it because I know it is soooooooooooooooooo wrong.
  • Final thought on Sori: If they can’t get anything decent for him, keep him, let him help the younger guys and go forward. He always gives 100 percent, and that can never be underrated today, which is a sad statement regarding professional sports.
  • Only 13.5 games out of the Wild Card!!!
  • I am starting to get worried about Castro’s plummeting average. I just kept playing it off, but he is now below .280. That’s all. Just wanted you all to know that I am officially worried.
  • Soto is hitting .186. How many lives does this guy have? The boys upstairs have to be ready to move on very soon. It has gotten to the point where the Jerome Walton comparisons are not even funny anymore. Sad.
  • If I am Theo, I have Kerry give Demp a call, and being like, “Dude, throw us a bone … please.” I have to think he MIGHT listen.
  • There is me going and being all positive and hopeful again.
  • With two months to go, plenty can still happen to shape this squad for many years to come, so let’s try to enjoy Soler and Almora, Baez and Vitters, and very much hope that B. Jax figures it out soon.

Finally, here is to you and to the United States of America over the next 17 days! Let’s hope for a great Olympiad!

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." - David Brinkley
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  • Dorasaga

    When Theriot said he’s finally with the right side of the rivalry, fans were mocking him for enjoying his part in a real competitive organization, with a winning tradition. Now, Dempster activated his rights to slow down being moved, instead of jumping on another boat of winning, online critiques demonize him.

    I guess no one can be satisfied. In the end, Go USA!

    • calicub

      What Theriot said stung, but when you take a step back and analyze it you can’t really blame him. He sat and played (well) for the Cubs for a few years while the team, and organization tanked. He was traded away for peanuts and understandably was frustrated. He signed with the cards in the offseason, an organization, love them or hate them does it right. And now has a ring to show for it (even if the light hitting stumper wasn’t good enough that they had to bring in Furcal to replace him halfway through the year)

      On the other hand when yo have a guy who has given his heart and soul and a peice of his paycheck for this club you just have to scratch your head as to why he turned down a trade which was clearly the best for this organization moving forward. Up until a few days ago i had nothing but respect for the guy but you cannot, simply cannot forgive a man for going back on his word.

      THe problem i have with playing hard ball with dempster and relegting him to the pen for the rest of the year, is that it will surely devalue him on the free market, further than this escapade already has, in which case he is sure to accept arbitration.

      All in all i guess what more can you expect from a Canadian.

      USA USA! USA! USA USA USA!

      so excited for the olympics!

    • Aaron

      Nobody likes a sourpuss former teammate. What Theriot did was unacceptable, because he lost his position to Castro fair and square…he knew it too, and his words “come and get it” came back to bite him, because he—like Dempster, and Lee—wanted to stay with the Cubs. When he got with the Cardinals, he knew it’d rub fans the wrong way, along with former teammates, and that’s why he made the comments.

      The reason Dempster is demonized is because he lied….plain and simple. He lied to management, he lied to Braves players, and he lied to the media/Cubs fans.

      I have lost all respect for him because of that. IT’s one thing if you’re a veteran in his position with 10-and-5 rights to block a trade when you’re on a winning organization, or if you’re on a losing one, and you block it to a last place (or close to it) team….but it’s an entirely different animal if you block a trade to a world class organization like the Braves after you said you’d most likely accept a trade there.

      Dempster not only made himself look bad, but he made Cubs management look foolish in perhaps their most important trade deadline ever. As Theo and Hoyer both said, an opportunity to be a seller like this comes along once in a great while, and they said they had to get it right. They hit a home run with the Delgado plus another prospect deal, and Dempster squashed it, after proclaiming his love for the organization and wanting to do what was best for them if they got the right package in return.

      He deserves to be booed. Who wants a player that lies like that, AND more importantly, seems to be okay with being on a losing team?

      • Dorasaga

        I am frustrated for Dempster not traded in an effort of rebuild, and apparently he is not helping the team this way to the max (accept the trade). Most of our fan interpretations are redefining the man and the management, but nowhere I see “lie.” What about his words that he has not thought about his move to the Braves?

        He was not informed in advance to the media. It’s unfortunate that he was not happy, but he was not saying yesterday, “I love to be traded.” Then after reporters asked him what he thinks about being traded, he was not saying, “I will not be traded.”

        He did not assert any position about potential trade targets, prior to the leak, for us (or the trade partners) to take. Neither was the management shown as fool. It was a matter of choices. You know, trade happened spontaneously but folded before anything materialize, in an instant, too. Dempster said something undiplomatic at this time of the year; he’ll be booed? Then fine.

        He wasn’t prepared to think for his own situation and could not avoid his words from guiding the Braves to respond. Both sides made “defensive” moves, and moved on. It’s not a lie.

        The Theriot situation I go with Calicub. Theriot said something that expressed his long time frustration with the Cubs; I believe the arbitration was the last straw.

  • calicub

    As difficult as this fiasco has been to sit through, it should atleast build some confidence in this new front office. Sure a few of their offseason moves havn’t panned out cough cough Ian Stewart cough cough but my goodness did they surpass my expectations for the return Demp could have netted. Which makes this fiasco even harder to swallow.

    BTW what ever happened to the saber guy Ray Fontane JR.?

    • calicub

      a look through the archives shows his name is in fact Ray Firnbach Jr…. not sure where fontane came from

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Due to time restraints, Ray could no longer write for the site.

        • calicub

          gotcha thanks neil. for h reccord i found his articles interesting

    • Tony_Hall

      Jim Bowden with 5 blockbusters for the trade deadline.

      http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/post?id=4652

      Here are the Dempster and Garza thoughts for those without ESPN Insider.

      Chicago Cubs send Matt Garza to the Atlanta Braves for Randall Delgado, J.R. Graham and Zeke Spruill

      The Braves would control Garza beyond this year, and he would join Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson at the top of their rotation. The Chicago Cubs, who wanted to get Delgado in the Dempster transaction, would get Delgado in this deal instead, along with two other good arms in Graham and Spruill. Getting three young pitchers for their future staff is exactly what the Cubs want to do to carry out their long-term plan. The Garza acquisition puts the Braves in a much better position to contend with the Nationals or try to hold on to their thin wild-card lead. Spruill has a 92-94 mph sinker with an above-average changeup and developing slider. Graham has a power arm and could start or close. He has a 95 mph fastball and a hard slider that has a wipe-out break on occasion.

      Chicago Cubs send Ryan Dempster to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ethan Martin and Garrett Gould

      The deal would have the caveat that the Dodgers would get a 48-hour window to sign Dempster to a contract extension. Martin will sit in the 95 mph range with an above-average curve and a developing slider that he started throwing last year. When his command finally arrives, Martin will, too, and the 2008 first-rounder has finally started to show some promise this year at Double-A Chattanooga. Gould was the primary pitcher who would have gone to Miami in theCarlos Lee trade before Lee used his 10-and-5 rights to nix the deal. Gould will sit in the 92-93 mph range and couple that with a major league average curve ball and changeup. The Cubs will have stockpiled five power arms to build for the future in just two trades.

  • Tom U

    My apologies to Brian, as I am continuing a conversation from another thread. However, I read a comment from Dorasaga this morning about the possibility of not having players ready for promotion above the Single-A level, and had to respond. As just a sample, here are five players that have been held back:

    Justin Bour (1B, Tennessee) – Since Anthony Rizzo was promoted, Iowa has filled his position with Blake Lalli, Blake DeWitt, and (gulp) Diory Hernanadez. Skeptics may say the Bour is only hitting .299, but in the pitching dominant Southern League, that’s good for fourth. Bour leads the league with 78 RBI, and his 10 homers are good for 13th. In the more hitter friendly PCL, who knows how high those numbers could be?

    Logan Watkins (IF/OF, Tennessee) – Again, skeptics will point at a .282 average, but that was brought down by a poor April and May. In June, he hit .352 and July .328, as well as .328 since All-Star break and .340 in his last 10 games. By the way, the .282 is good for 13th in the SL, while he is second in triples (9) and 10th in stolen bases (19). While not having the same top end speed, he is a Tony Campana-like igniter with better batting skills. On defense, he borders on gold-glove caliber at 2B and nearly as good in CF, while being above average at short.

    Frank Batista (closer, Tennessee) – After amassing 44 saves in the the past year and a half, Batista would be knocking at the door to the majors in most organizations. Over that period of time, he has a 2.37 ERA and 74 K’s in 97 innings. Yet, he sits behind management heart-throb Michael Bowden, and Rafael Dolis and Alberto Cabrera, two “stuff” guys without the production to match.

    Rubi Silva (OF/2B, Daytona) – Talk about production, Silva has battered around .300 all season, and over .400 in the first month. He is currently 6th in the FSL at .303, and tied for the league lead with 11 triples. His 51 RBI are tied for 11th. He is an outstanding outfielder, and above average at 2B. He has the speed and athleticism they desperately need at Tennessee, but the promotion of .198 Dustin Harrington has to be a kick in the teeth.

    Matt Loosen (RHP, Daytona) – Loosen leads the FSL with 9 wins and a 1.00 WHIP. His 91 K’s are 6th. What’s more, he already has Double-A experience. What more does he have to prove?

    • Aaron

      Agreed on all points….Dolis and Cabrera should be Exhibits A and B of cautionary tales on why you do NOT go after those type of guys in trades, and this is especially true with the Dodgers’ pitchers they’re probably offering.

      As for Bowden, he has to go. I would just put him back in a starting role to replace the injured Wells, and bring up Batista. Why Rodrigo Lopez is still in the organization as a human pinata is anyone’s guess. Batista needs to move up to AAA, and then the big club. I would argue that Rhoderick (before blister issues) was even better than Batista, but I digress.

      Silva, at 23 years old absolutely must move up, and like you said, Watkins moving up would create a chain reaction whereby I would even argue Baez could leap to Daytona, Alcantara to Tennessee, and Lake to Iowa. It all just makes too much sense.

      The decision to keep Loosen at Daytona is probably the most egregious. He’s clearly not challenged by it.

      • BosephHeyden

        It’s a rebuilding process…just not with any of the current prospects

    • redlarczykg

      Tom,
      The two that really stick out to me are Loosen and Baista. The Cubs farm system is very short on quality pitching, so why would the Cubs slow the progress of these two?
      Like any organisation, politics seems to always over rule common sense. When I met Ron Kittle, before he made the Sox, he told me how the Dodgers held him back, beacuse they didn’t like his attitude. Right now I don’t see Theo and Jed really make a difference in player deveolpment. If I’m misinformed, please explain.

      • Tom U

        redlarczykg, I think you are on the right track. What I see is a combination of old regime politics and new regime stubbornness.

        Under previous management, you had to be an “anointed” prospect to move anywhere. This is why players such as Wood, Prior, and Patterson squirted through the system while players such as Theriot, Colvin, and LaHair had to, figuratively, threaten bodily harm to move. The prospects I mentioned simply don’t have the names Cabrera, Lake, Szczur, Soler, and Baez. Therefore, in their minds, they can’t be that good.

        The new management has the “Cubs way” as their excuse, which is why DJ LeMahieu, Ryan Flaherty, Marwin Gonzalez, and Colvin were jettisoned. However, they conveniently look the other way when Javier Baez and Zeke DeVoss, for example, don’t measure up to those standards.

        • Aaron

          I have to agree in some respects, but keep in mind that Cabrera, Lake, Szczur, Baez, and even DeVoss were also selected on the previous regime.

          I just don’t understand their roster management thus far, and I keep beating the dead horse, but it all goes back to their handling of the middle IF depth. I thought Hoyer’s comments after the Rule 5 were very revealing. He said that they really hoped Gonzalez and Flaherty wouldn’t be selected, and they hoped they’d get them back. Rather than start the true rebuilding process, opting to let DeWitt and Baker go, they held onto them, and couldn’t protect those 2. Then they DFA’d DeWitt, signed Bianchi off the scrap heap, DFA’d Bianchi and lost him, re-signed DeWitt, signed Amezaga for depth, signed Cardenas, DFA’d DeWitt again, and signed Valbuena. I mean, it just blows my mind how they managed it. And while you can make the case that Valbuena has hit the ball hard….his offensive production has been absolutely dreadful. Would it have been so bad to just keep Flaherty and Gonzalez on the 40-man to provide that depth, and then add Cardenas to the mix (whom Rizzo said was actually a better hitter than him in Iowa).

          A lot of things they’ve done have made absolutely no sense, and the thing is with their whole Carmine thing (which is technically a knock-off of the Moneyball model), stats really matter, and it seems as though they’re not rewarding the players that truly deserve it, and giving others a pass.

          I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it’s very similar to what Hendry’s regime did.

          • Tom U

            One thing to remember, Aaron, is that the minors are still being run by holdovers of the last management era.

  • Aaron

    This is just getting ugly right now….no trades….not even a little one like a Johnson or Baker to give us a glimpse of the future.

    This makes me even more angry at Dumpster for what he did. Right now, we could be witnessing a start by Delgado, perhaps, but we have to watch this never-ending soap opera play out. The Cubs were clearly trying to deal Dempster first, so it would increase demand for Garza. But while Dempster is still with the team, the offers are going to be less than desirable for Garza, thus enters my prediction that you can see a possible scenario where Garza, Dumpster, and Maholm are still with the team entering the offseason.

    Neil or Tom….Do you guys happen to know if teams are allowed to trade their own free agents with the new CBA prior to June? I seem to recall that is the case, but couldn’t remember for sure.

    What they might end up doing is offering arbitration to Dempster, then he’ll likely sign it, then trade him immediately afterwards, offering to eat some of the cost (just as they were willing to do this year), then trading Garza after that, and hanging onto Maholm for depth purposes. I could also see them trading Soto in November rather than now, hoping the last 2 months of the season, he can pick up his offense a bit more.

    I would imagine that Marmol and Soriano would pass through waivers in August due to contracts, so they theoretically could be moved then. Baker, Johnson, Camp, Soto, Barney, etc. wouldn’t pass through waivers, so in order to maximize return (as team’s awarded claims in August usually don’t offer much), they better deal them sooner rather than later….or in the case of Soto and Barney, they could opt to trade them in the offseason where Barney’s value might sky-rocket if he wins a Gold Glove.

    The problem with the whole Dempster and Garza saga is that the Cubs waited too long to deal either of them. I presume that they originally thought they could get a higher return at the deadline for their pitching, but now the market has become saturated with other—albeit lesser—options like Liriano, Marcum, Wolf, Norris, etc. Plus, teams like the Jays and Red Sox–two likely trade partners–are now looking like they won’t be making any big push with trades to get to the playoffs. It’s possible they might go after Garza with next year in mind (along with this year if they think they have a chance), but unlikely now. The window to trade both pitchers and maximize return was prior to the All-Star break…when Dempster was in the midst of a scoreless streak and Garza was healthy

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Aaron, teams can trade free agents in May now, this season it was May 19.

  • Aaron

    Imagine the return the Cubs could’ve received for Marshall (2.63 ERA) at this deadline right now….He’d at least salvage some of the deadline.

    As it stands now, this deadbeat team will be the same boring bunch to finish the season. In other words, not much will have changed since Hendry’s been gone.

    -Garza now is sure to stay with the team with the recent reports of him not starting until after the deadline.
    -Dempster has not only pissed off the Cubs, but his only real suitor—the Braves—and possibly any other team that might’ve had interest in him, so he’s likely to stay
    -Maholm has a very affordable $6.5 million option next year, so he’s likely to stay
    -Soto has minimal value, so he’s likely to stay
    -Soriano has value, but not at the years and dollars left on his deal, so he stays
    -Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija, and Russell, are guys they’d like to build around, so they’re EXTREMELY likely to stay
    -Barney, Campana, Mather, Beliveau, Maine, T. Wood, Clevenger, Valbuena, and LaHair are all earning MLB minimum, and while a few of them are performing well, the likely return is minimal, so there’s no incentive for the Cubs to trade them

    Marmol, DeJesus, Baker, and Johnson…and possibly Soto, are the only guys on the roster that…
    1) The Cubs wouldn’t build around for the future
    2) seem cheap enough (in Marmol’s case, they’d likely pick up half his contract or more) for other teams
    3) are signed short-term, so if they don’t perform, it’s not that big of a deal, with only Marmol and DeJesus signed for next year

    None would bring a good return, so it’s getting more and more depressing, especially when your top pitching prospect (McNutt) has sucked balls this year, and is now pitching out of the pen with limited success as well….and especially when your top pitching prospect drafted in last year’s class (Maples) said via Twitter he’s now expected to see his first pro action at the end of July (moved back from his original tweets of mid-July)
    *if anyone wants to follow him btw, dsmaples is his tag on there

    Ben Wells, prior to going down with TJ surgery would’ve ranked high, and Whitneack, despite coming back from TJ surgery was ranked high, but since coming back, has completely bombed, and looks nothing like the breakout pitcher he was last year.

    In Iowa, you have a bunch of retreads like Coleman, Wells (injured now), Lopez, Rusin (took a major step backwards with his performance), and Volstad….none of whom factors much into the future of this team.

    In Tennessee, you have Jokisch and Struck, who don’t miss bats, but at least have decent stats…I guess I should mention Raley in the same breath as them, considering he’s spent time in Tennessee, as well as Iowa right now. Those type of pitchers really don’t factor much into the future rotation.

    In Daytona, you have Loosen, Kirk, Del Valle, and Burke that are doing well, and only Loosen and Burke have the repertoire to likely stay in the rotation.

    In Peoria, you have Jensen, Peralta, Zeller, and Wells (who had TJ surgery), with only Jensen and Wells showing stuff that might translate long-term in a rotation. Rosario has, but is on the fringes.

    So, the Dempster deal falling through had a profound effect on the future of this team, mostly because HE DOES NOT FACTOR INTO IT TO BEGIN WITH…

    The Cubs have absolutely no prospects you can look at, and say, “he’ll be in the rotation next year”

    So, like I said, it’s probably 2012 again for the 2013 season with Garza, Maholm, Samardzija, and Travis Wood likely headlining a rotation that—at this point—seems likely to include Dempster as well.

    Realistically, if the Dempster and Garza trades had gone through, you might’ve seen a rotation that included Delgado, Samardzija, Maholm, Travis Wood, and probably a cheap FA option like a Bedard, or someone like that, until the prospects in the Garza deal were ready.

    I’ve always said if the Cubs were to deal Garza, the best teams to engage would be the Jays, Rangers, Nationals, and Braves.

    It appears that the Jays were all speculation before, and the only teams we’ve heard that are connected recently to him are the Rangers and Dodgers (who for so many reasons, I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole).

    From the Cubs’ perspective, they should be asking for in return for Garza, a package centered around 2 of a team’s top 10 prospects (hopefully both are pitchers), and then a low-A, high ceiling type of arm. From the Jays, I suggested Syndergaard, A. Sanchez, and possibly Marisnick, but I also said in that case, you’d try to expand the deal to get more for by including the likes of Soto or Soriano, and possibly even Maholm.

    The Jays simply made too much sense with all their injuries to the rotation, as well as Bautista and now Arencibia.

    But now the Cubs are stuck in a holding pattern, and it’s absolutely terrible that it all surrounds Dempster….Like I said yesterday, he just made himself Public Enemy #1 with fans and with management.

    What’s funny is the team he really wanted to go to, doesn’t even want him, and the team that wanted him for a top flight pitching prospect likely doesn’t want him now either….He screwed the Cubs, and now he’s screwed for his future is what it looks like.

  • Aaron

    Brian,

    I agree with everything you said above except for the piece about we can’t be upset about the medical thing. That argument rings hollow, especially when considering he’d approve a trade to the Dodgers. Therefore, he can no longer get away with that argument (or should I say…SHOULDN’T be allowed to get away with it). The “being close to family on the west coast” argument also rings hollows, as the way I understand it, they mostly live in the upper northwest. The only way it’d even remotely make sense is if he was hoping to sign an extension with them prior to the trade….It also doesn’t make sense, because then why would he really want to stay in Chicago if all the family was on the west coast to begin with. But that’s not all (lol…I just sounded like the Home Shopping Network right there)…it’s simply for 2 1/2 months (assuming the team he goes to makes the playoffs). Given the salary he makes, I find it extremely hard to believe that he couldn’t find a nice home to rent, or apartment to rent for them to be together. Yes, he’s been in Chicago for almost a decade, but the fact is, he was willing to go to the Dodgers, so that argument also rings hollow.

    Do you get my point? It’s almost as if, until today when I’ve read stuff on CSN and Foxsports….nobody even challenged him on this….or other players in the past for that matter.

    Dempster is a great teammate, and a funny guy, and he always seems to give 100%, but the fact that he’s willing to play hardball with the Cubs when they’re trying to get him to a contender that actually wants him, and he turns it down? What does that say about him as a competitor? It tells me that he’s not a winner

  • Dorasaga

    Just for the record, Aaron, I wrote what’s below right after done with Brian’s rambling, and it wasn’t directed towards you, or any individual (haven’t read yours yet). But this situation frustrates me.

  • roseyc

    Aaron I completely agree with you. Dempster and others who have earned the 10/5 rights is more for let’s say if they(The Cubs) wanted to trade him to Oakland because they have or can get more trade value. His 10/5 can let him narrow the selection which he did and said that LA and Atl are the final two choices. Now he’s not only backtracked on that but is holding the Cubs hostage to his demands. The sick child holds no weight at all. I have all the sympathy for his plight but he will be a FA at the end of the season. He can or might sign an extention but he’s not going to move his family right away anyways. To say all of the ballplayers live in the city where they play is naive. So he wants to stay a Cub for all the reasons defined. The Cubs don’t need him anymore even if he was 15-0. They need more than one pitcher and they won’t win next year with or maybe the year after. His retirement is not that far away so all he’s doing is building animosity in the parting process. Instead of being in a pennant race and enjoying all that goes with it; he’s choosing the bitter route which is not going to end good on any level.So my thing with Dempster is as Vito Corleone once told Johnny Fontaine..”Act like a Man” instead of acting like a spoiled child and destroying all the good will he has bestowed upon the faithful

  • Dnuge44

    Excellent Post & right on with your thoughts !

  • Cubs 31

    Starlin Castro: Is this another Hanley in the making?