July 2012

Countdown to the Deadline: Dempster Updates; You’ll Get Mad

I really tried to make it through a whole day without talking about Ryan Dempster but it’s impossible at this point, especially when more information keeps coming out.  The information that is coming out is positive to start with but by the time you get to the last update you feel like you got punched in the gut and spit on, the spitting wasn’t really necessary.

Jayson Stark reported today that the Cubs and Dodgers remain optimistic that they can reach a deal involving Dempster.  I can live with that news, part of me just wants this done so everyone can move on.  However, Cubs fans need to be prepared that the return is not going to be what is was earlier this week.

***

Executive Joel Sherman is reporting that the Cubs might want to “kick in an extra $1 million bucks” for Dempster to go to Atlanta.  It’s come to this?  I’m okay with it if Major League baseball is because that just sounds odd, but it’s on the internet so I believe it.

***

David Kaplan reported that a Cubs/Dodgers deal is getting “close” – then shared a few details about the Braves deal that fell through, for now.  Brett at Bleacher Nation had a really solid write-up, here are his thoughts.

Here’s a more complete take from Kaplan, which goes into a bit of the backstory on the Braves’ deal. The gist is, the Cubs thought they had an understanding with Dempster that they could negotiating with either the Braves or Dodgers, and then they got a better offer from the Braves. When Dempster through up a roadblock (albeit possibly temporary), asking the Cubs to try once more with the Dodgers, the Braves pulled their offer so they could explore other options. Theo was apparently furious. And that’s where we stand, as the Cubs try to get an acceptable deal from the Dodgers. The Cubs, Kap says, are trying to net a “handful” of pitching prospects, which suggests they will generally be of a lesser tier than Delgado.

Gut punch number one right there.  Again it’s a report that is second-hand, but it falls in line with everything that we have heard prior, that Dempster would allow a deal to the Braves, yet when it’s put your money where your mouth is time Dempster gets “blindsided” all of a sudden.

***

Kaplan also chimed in with this nugget, this is the first I’ve heard that a multi-team deal might be in the works.

Team Theo and Co. are looking at a number of scenarios, with sources telling me this afternoon that a multi-team trade that would send Ryan Dempster to his preferred destination, the Los Angeles Dodgers while netting the Cubs a handful of prospects built around starting pitching is getting closer to happening.

The Cubs are exhausting all options to get a deal done for a guy that said less than a month a go that he loved that he had options and he would do everything he could to help himself and the Cubs organization moving forward.  I wonder if he said that while doing his Haray Caray impression, such a funny guy.  But this latest joke is absolutely hilarious.

***

Finally Jon Heyman adds to the dream crushing.  The Cubs offered Ryan Dempster to the Dodgers for fringe top 100 prospect Allen Webster, a downgrade from Randall Delgado but a serviceable prospect for Dempster.  The Dodgers said no, flat-out.  Starting to sound like Dempster has alienated the Cubs, the Braves, and now the Dodgers might actually prefer Garza over Dempster, what is Dempster to do now?  If I had to guess I think some sort of deal gets done tomorrow, the only reason I say that is I think someone is going to cave, Dempster or Theo and Jed.  It’s horrible that it has come to this when just under a month ago it seemed like Dempster would do everything in his power to accept a deal.  I understand the rules of baseball so I’ll save you the reply of “he’s earned the right.”  Yes I know, but I really don’t care at this point, the act is wearing thin, and the more I see of this circus the more I think Dempster is just that, an act.

Thanks for reading,
– George

July 27 – 29, 2012; vs. Cardinals – Series Preview

St. Louis Cardinals Logo - A cardinal in a batting stance

The Cubs get an opportunity for revenge right away as they face off against the Cardinals this weekend in Chicago.  The Cubs just saw the Cardinals last weekend in St. Louis and it wasn’t pretty as the Cards swept the Cubs and the Cubs didn’t put up much of a fight.  One run was all that the Cubs scored last weekend against the Cardinals, that’s hard to do.  The Cubs bounced back against the Pirates however as they took two out of three from the Central Division contender in Pittsburgh, which is also hard to do.  The Cardinals were struggling in the second half of the season until they met the Cubs last weekend.  Counting that weekend they are 6-1 in their last seven games as they try to chase down the Reds and Pirates who sit above them in the Central Division.  It will be interesting to see if the same Cubs team that starts this series will be there to finish it as we roll towards the trade deadline.  On paper this matchup couldn’t get anymore lopsided as the Cardinals are number one in the NL in runs scored and the Cubs are last, but the Cubs pitching has been outstanding as of late, they will need to be to win the series.  Full preview/breakdown after the jump.

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Countdown to the Deadline: Latest Rumors NOT About Dempster

Lost is all the Dempster hoopla is the fact that the Cubs are still in a building process and have a number of assets that other teams can use.  Here is the latest chatter about some of those assets, this post will be a Dempster free zone starting… now.

It’s about time that Alfonso Soriano’s name starts getting mentioned in some of these trade rumors.  Soriano’s is in the midst of a resurgent season and surely a team in the AL could use a slugging DH.  Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports that at least one team has inquired about Soriano.

Morosi on Soriano-

With Soriano, the issue is – and has been – money. He has roughly $6 million left on this year’s contract, followed by $18 million in each of the next two seasons. The Cubs likely would need to include a substantial amount of money to facilitate a trade. On top of that, Soriano has a full no-trade clause.

The Dodgers, Giants, Indians and Pirates are among the teams that could benefit from Soriano’s power

***

Morosi also chimes in about Matt Garza, yes he is still on the Cubs, we just haven’t heard much about him since he left injured last Friday and he won’t pitch again until Monday July 30th (maybe).  The Cubs are talking with multiple potential suitors for Garza.  Morosi also reports that the Dodgers appear to be serious in their attempts to get Garza as a Zach Lee for Matt Garza deal may have been discussed, at this point I don’t think that is a reality.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark temper’s that interest as he reports that clubs have not been assured that Garza will make another start before the deadline, and is more likely to be dealt in the offseason than at the deadline, if at all.

***

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported back on 7/23 that the Orioles have been making calls with the hopes of addressing their corner infield issues.  One of those guys they have kicked the tires on is Bryan LaHair.  These talks have been preliminary, there is nothing serious as of yet, but if another team is interested in LaHair the Cubs would jump at the chance to get anything for him.

Thanks for reading,
– George

7/25: Around the Minor League System

The July 25th Chicago Cubs Minor League recap.

The most exciting team in the history of the Universe was off tonight, that’s right no Almora or Soler tonight.

FULL BOX SCORE

The Boise Hawks and Yakima Bears went toe-to-toe with each other and Yakima was the last one standing.  The Boise Hawks were in comeback mode all night as they trailed 6-3, and 8-6 before tying the game each time.  The Hawks scored twice in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game at eight but gave both runs right back in the top of the ninth and fell to Yakima 10-8.  Felix Pena got the start for Boise and struggled.  He gave up six runs, four earned on seven hits while walking none and striking out two in four innings of work.  The loss however went to Matt Iannazzo who gave up four runs on seven hits in 1.1 innings of work.  Daniel Vogelbach is at a new, higher level in the Cubs system but continues to pound the baseball.  Vogelbach was 3-for-5 in the loss with a double and an RBI.  Rock Shoulders, Dong-Yub Kim, and Gioskar Amaya all had two hits for Boise in the loss, Kim hit is fourth home run of the season.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

Another game and another outstanding effort from Peoria Chiefs starter Joseph Zeller as he weathered a rough first inning to earn his second win of the season as the Chiefs hung on to beat Cedar Rapids 8-6.  The Chiefs used an enormous seven run third inning to break this one open, but had to fight to hang on as Cedar Rapids scored twice in the 8th and 9th to make it close.  Zeller went six strong innings giving up two runs, both unearned on seven hits while walking one and striking out two.  He lowered his ERA to 1.32 on the season.  Javier Baez was the only Chiefs player with multiple hits as he was 2-for-5 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.  Pin-Chieh Chen had the only extra base hit for the Chiefs as he was 1-for-3 on the night with a triple (8), two walks, an RBI, and a run scored.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

Busy day for the Daytona Cubs as they had a double-header against the Brevard County Manatees, and game one didn’t get the day off to a great start.  P.J. Francescon had a rough outing, and has been shaky since his promotion to Daytona which is to be expected.  It’s not like Francescon has been terrible, but today he just didn’t have it as he gave up six runs on seven hits over 3.2 innings while walking four without a strikeout.  The Daytona offense couldn’t keep up as Brevard County took game one 6-4.  It was the Elieser Bonne show in game one for Daytona as the right fielder was 4-for-4 at the plate with two doubles (8,9), unfortunately no one was on base for him.  Rafael Lopez had a solid game going 1-for-2 with a home run (1), two walks and two RBI’s in the losing effort.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

Game two was a pitching duel right from the get go, unfortunately for Daytona the result was the same, as Brevard County won the second half of the double-header 3-0.  Frank Del Valle got the start for Daytona and was outstanding going five scoreless innings giving up only one hit while walking three and striking out four, but had to settle for a no decision.  Jeffrey Lorick pitched a scoreless inning of relief before Scott Weismann got lit up in the 7th to take the loss.  Matt Szczur had a solid game at the plate going 2-for-3 to raise his average to .292 on the season, he also stole his 38th base of the season.  That was it as Daytona couldn’t push across any runs and only managed three hits as this was a lost day all around.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

The Smokies came out swinging against the Suns in a wild one and broke through late to register a 7-5 victory.  Dae-Eun Rhee who has not been very good (understatement) all year, pitched well enough in this one to earn his seventh victory of the season against five losses.  Rhee was the beneficiary of an offensive explosion that was led by Junior Lake.  Lake was 2-for-5 with two home runs (6,7), a walk, and four RBI’s.  Lake wasn’t alone in the destruction of Suns pitching as Nelson Perez went 2-for-5 as well with his fourth home run of the season, and two RBI’s.  Justin Bour continued his solid 2012 season going 3-for-4 with a double (29!) and an RBI, Bour is now hitting .297 on the campaign.  Trey McNutt has had a down year, that includes his recent performances out of the pen, but he was excellent tonight going two strong innings giving up nothing and striking out three.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

The Iowa Cubs jumped out to an early 3-0 lead against Oklahoma City, but if we have learned anything we know that there is no lead too big for Iowa to blow.  It happened again tonight as OKC scored in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th to take a 7-4 lead on their way to a 10-8 victory.  The I-Cubs made things somewhat interesting in the ninth inning by scoring four times but it was way too late.  Chris Rusin got roughed up again as he gave up seven runs on ten hits in five innings of work to record his 7th loss of the season.  James Adduci, Dave Sappelt, and Adrian Cardenas all had two hits in the loss.  Adduci had a great game at the top of the order going 2-for-4 with a double (3), an RBI, a walk, and three runs scored.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Braves’ GM Explains How Dempster Deal Collapsed, For Now

The question that a lot of Cubs fans have been asking is what exactly happened to make the Dempster deal to the Braves blow up?  Well today we are starting to get some answers from Braves’ GM Frank Wren.  Now, a word of caution, these are quotes from Wren but he does not speak for the Cubs, the Cubs have not made any public comments about this and will not as that is pretty status quo now that Theo is running the show.

Via Gordon Wittenmeyer / Chicago Sun-Times

ON WHAT HAPPENED TO LOSE DEMPSTER DEAL: “In his case, from my understanding – and I’m only getting it second hand from the Cubs – they had a meeting with him a couple weeks ago and laid it out, and the primary two suitors were use and the Dodgers. And he had positive things to say about both, and he had a slight preference to the Dodgers because of Ted Lilly. He and Ted Lilly are best of friends and he’d like to go play with his friend. And I think there were also some personal issues that suited better for him. And as it went down, from my understanding, the Cubs informed him in the last week that the Dodgers weren’t really as aggressive as we were and they thought the deal was going to go with us. I think he was given a heads up along the way. I think it may be the way it was presented as far as coming out in the media [Monday]. I think that was blindsiding, not that he necessarily didn’t know this was coming down.’’

ON BRAVES’ STANCE IF DEMPSTER WERE TO RECONSIDER TODAY: “I’m not going to paint us in a corner one way or another. Let’s just say that we have moved on. And we’re looking for impact pitching, someone that can make a difference for us as we go down the stretch the last two months. We feel we can win our division. But we feel we need to improve our starting pitching.’’

 ON IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN MAKING TRADES THESE DAYS: “I think the Twitter and the internet have really changed the dynamics for how it all works. We were able to keep this deal under wraps for about three days as we worked through a lot of details, and it never leaked out. And then the second we got to … the Cubs taking it to the player, it was out everywhere. It’s a different dynamic than we’ve ever worked in, and it does make it sometimes more difficult to get our jobs done.’’

Really great stuff from the Braves’ GM here as it gives us a second-hand view of what had actually taken place over the past week or so.  It’s interesting to hear that really there is no way that Ryan Dempster could have been blindsided by this deal coming about as he has been in on it since day one.  That’s not exactly great news for Dempster as this process drags on considering that he is already being considered public enemy number one by some Cubs fans.  But let’s take a step back here and a breath, or two, to get our bearings.

To do so I suggest we look at Ryan Dempster’s post game comments today.  Patrick Mooney posted this one on Twitter.  “If that’s still an option down the road, then that’s something I might look at to make the best decision for me/my family.”  To me that sounds like Dempster is waiting to see if the Cubs can make a deal with the Dodgers, if not then Dempster might be open to going to Atlanta, the return might not be the same, but it’s a slightly cracked open door.

Here is some post game video of Dempster from Paul Sullivan.  It sounds like a guy that really hasn’t made up his mind about anything yet, and wants to take more time than everyone else wants.  Thing is, Dempster has until July 31st to make up his mind on where he wants to go, there just might not be anywhere to go by then.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Dempster Solid, But Cubs Fall Short of Sweep

 

Another low scoring game between the Cubs and Pirates ended with the Pirates hanging on for a 3-2 victory to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Cubs.  Ryan Dempster started for the Cubs, and I can’t disagree with that anymore given everything swirling around Dempster right now.  The good news I guess is that Dempster was really good despite being tagged with his 5th loss of the season.  Dempster allowed three runs over six innings of work on five hits, he didn’t walk anyone and struck out six.  Leading 2-1 in the fifth thanks to a Anthony Rizzo solo home run, and an RBI single, Dempster couldn’t hold the lead.  He allowed a solo home run in the fifth inning to Michael Mckenry to tie the game, and gave up the lead in the 6th inning on a two out RBI double by Garrett Jones.  Dempster was visibly upset in the dugout after the inning, and took his frustration out on a Gatorade cooler.  It was nothing really, he just pushed it and threw a cup against the wall, he was later seen apologizing to the Gatorade cooler and asking it if Atlanta was a nice place, wait that’s not right, moving on.  The Cubs couldn’t get anything going the rest of the way as the Pirates pen shut the offense down.  Still a solid series for the Cubs as they take two out of three from the Bucco’s, full box score and highlights after the jump.

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Rizzo Mashes Home Run (Video)

Too many ominous and negative posts today, here is video of Rizzo hitting a bomb today in Pittsburgh.  I hope everyone that can’t see the game because they are at work (like me) appreciate this one!

Cubs lead 2-1 in the Top of the 4th, Rizzo 2-for-2 with HR, and two RBI’s.

- George

Buster Olney: “As of Now, Cubs Plan to Keep Dempster”

In a day that just won’t slow down, Buster Olney is now reporting that the Cubs are planning to keep Dempster and make a qualifying offer at the end of the year so they will get a draft pick, unless offers improve.  Olney also reports that the Cubs and Dodgers are not close to a deal, and as we all know that is the only place Dempster will go based on what has happened in the last couple days.  This trade deadline has basically turned into a disaster for the Cubs as they went from having two really solid pieces to deal in Dempster and Garza to one injured starter (Garza) and one starter that wants what’s best for him despite his recent comments and that has cost the Cubs a tremendous return in Randall Delgado (Dempster).

Things change fast so stay tuned, still plenty of time left until the July 31st deadline, anything can happen, except of course Ryan Dempster for Randall Delgado.

Thanks for reading,
– George

This is Why Cubs Fans Are Upset With Dempster

Everyone understands that Ryan Dempster is a 10 and 5 guy.  If you don’t know what that means, here’s a definition for you.

Players who have been with a club for 5 consecutive years and have been a major league player for 10 years cannot be traded without their consent. 

Dempster has every right to deny any trade for any reason, good or bad.

Ryan Dempster’s comments from earlier in the year…

Waddle and Silvy interview

“I think I would be doing everybody in that locker room and anybody who is a Cubs fan and most importantly the Cubs organization a huge disservice if I didn’t put all my focus and attention on trying to make my start and do the best I can to help us win,” Dempster said Wednesday on The Waddle & Silvy Show. “By doing that you’re ultimately helping the team. You’re in a situation where if it does happen they are going to do what’s best for the Chicago Cubs, and I’m all for that.”

Paul Sullivan interview

“Any one of us is susceptible to being traded. For me, it’s a little different because I have the right to say ‘no.’ … Obviously I want to do what’s best for this organization. They’ve done nothing but right by me.”

If you need a smoking gun, that’s it folks.  Dempster is on record saying that he would accept any reasonable deal to a contender that would benefit him and the Cubs.  Of course he can change his mind, but the Theo and Jed would not have agreed to a deal with the Braves if they thought Dempster would turn it down in my opinion, stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,
– George

7/24: Around the Cubs Minor League System

Tuesday July 24 minor league recap.

Peoria was off.

FULL BOX SCORE

The AZL Cubs were at it again on Tuesday beating the AZL Indians 9-2.  Jorge Soler did it again, hitting his second home run in four games.  This one off the scoreboard in left.  Soler would add another hit  ending the night 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs.  Ben Carhart continued his hot hitting going 2-for-4 with a double and a home run.  He also drove in three and scored a run.  Speaking of hot, Shawon Dunston Jr. had two more hits, a double and a triple plus he scored three runs from the lead off spot.  Albert Alomora did not have a hit, but did drive two runs in and scored two.  2012 Comp. pick Paul Blackburn recorded his first win of the season, pitching two scoreless innings in relief.  Another good win for the Cubs in the AZL.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

Boise got another great pitching peformance out of their staff on Tuesday beating the Yakima Bears 2-1.  Ian Dickson was tremendous thowing six no-hit innings before being removed in the seventh.  Dickson struck out four en route to his second win of the season.  Hunter Ackerman gave up a run, but struck out three in 2.1 innings and Michael Hamann closed it out recording his first save of the season.  Jeimer Candelario had a nice night at the dish going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.  In his first game as a Hawk, Dan Vogelbach was 2-for-4 with a double.  Gioskar Amaya, Stephen Bruno, and Trey Martin each added a hit and Bruno scored a run.  It is nice to see the Hawks pitching have a nice couple days here.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

Daytona held on to beat Brevard County 4-3 on Tuesday night.  Matt Loosen started and got the win pitching six innings while allowing two runs on only three hits.  He also walked three and struck out eight, lowering his ERA to 2.81.  Ryan Searle struck out two in the seventh and AJ Morris pitched the last two recording his first save of the season.  Rubi Silva went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs.  Ronald Torreyes, Matt Szczur, Rebel Ridling, and Micah Gibbs all had a hit.  Daytona will play two on Wednesday.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

Tennessee was back in action Tuesday pounding Jacksonville 9-2.  The Smokies showed some power hitting three home runs on the evening.  Junior Lake was 2-for-5 with a double, a homer, and two RBIs.  Greg Rohan added two hits of his own including a home run and Michael Brenly connected on his fifth homer of the year.  Nelson Perez had his best day since going to Double-A as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.  Michael Burgess also added two hits and scored two runs.  Eric Jokisch got the start and the win for the Smokies giving up one run on four hits in five innings pitched while striking out eight.  Brian Schlitter, Kevin Rhoderick, and Casey Weathers combined to pitch the last four innings allowing one run and striking out five.  This is the way to come back after a day off.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

Another day another bad loss for Iowa, losing 15-9 on Tuesday.  Offensively Iowa couldn’t have done much more on Tuesday scoring nine runs on twelve hits.  Welington Castillo was 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI.  Brett Jackson hit his 14th home run of the season and drove in two.  Josh Vitters had one hit and also drove in two as did Alfredo Amezaga.  Dave Sappelt and Diory Hernandez each had two hits as well.  The pitching was terrible yet again on Tuesday.  Rogrio Lopez got the start and promtly gave up eight runs in 3.2 innings pitched.  Ryan Rowland-Smith took the loss as he gave up three more runs in just 1.2 innings.  Iowa continues to struggle.

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

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