Cubs Rumor Mill: Rosenthal, Cafardo chime in on Dempster; Soriano may also interest some teams

This is no surprise to readers here, since we reported it weeks ago, but the Cubs are actively shopping Ryan Dempster to multiple teams, according to Ken Rosenthal.

The significance here is that the Cubs are willing to pay a large portion of his salary in order to obtain better prospects, though that part probably isn't too much of a surprise either, since the Cubs aren't looking to save money here.  They're looking to acquire as much talent as possible.   Rosenthal  mentions the Dodgers as a suitor, a team we speculated on before.  The Dodgers best pitching prospect, and best prospect overall, is RHP Zach Lee.  Whether the Cubs can obtain him for Dempster though is questionable.  The Dodgers have shown the proclivity to trade top prospects in the past when they've been contenders (i.e. Carlos Santana), so we can't rule it out, especially in a package deal.  I speculated on other names earlier this week.  Nick Cafardo suggests the Dodgers may be ready to "pull the trigger" on Dempster, which suggests the Cubs may already have made an offer, though I don't want to read too much into that.

Rosenthal also names the Orioles, but they are a bit of an odd fit because of their top heavy system.  SS Manny Machado and RHP Dylan Bundy are among baseball's top 10 prospects, maybe top 5  It's very unlikely the Cubs can obtain either of them in a deal.  By the same token, it will be nearly impossible for the Orioles to pick up Matt Garza without including one of those players.  It appears that this type of deal is probably a stalemate from the start.

Dempster is a possibility, however, as is Alfonso Soriano, a player whom the Orioles had shown interest in earlier in the year.  The Orioles don't have much, however, beyond their big two.  There's Jonathan Schoop, a 20 year old high ceiling 2B-SS-3B who's already reached AA, though he has struggled (.245/.303/.323).  He has the kind of athleticism, bat speed, and mental makeup the Cubs like, however.

I've heard the Orioles seem to want to move  LHP Chris Tillman, who was once a top prospect, but now has just an 89-91 mph FB  with little movement.  The Cubs have enough guys like that who have to hit their spots to succeed.  Maybe for Soriano, you take a flyer on a former top prospect and hope it comes out better than it has with Chris Volstad so far -- though I like Volstad's stuff better than Tillman's.

Rosenthal notes also that the Blue Jays are asking for pitching, so they may not be ready to fold the tents yet.  However, I think they'll only do it if they can obtain pitching relatively cheaply.  My guess is that they're more likely to take a flyer on a couple of veteran starting arms that will be less expensive rather than sell the farm for someone like Matt Garza.  Dempster might be a better fit if the Jays still think they can make a run in 2012.  Cafardo is reporting the Jays have shown interest in Dempster.  It's tough to figure out what Jays GM Alex Anthropolous wants to do.  On one hand, he believes in a more long-term approach of building through the farm and securing cost-controlled players.  On the other hand, his best player, Jose Bautista, is now 31 and will soon be past his peak years.  You can't build long term forever.  There comes a time where you have to take your shot while you're nucleus is still in it's prime years.  To me, the Blue Jays situation is one of the more interesting scenarios to watch unfold in the next couple of months.

The Indians are also looking for a DH and a LF'er and it seems Soriano can help fill both roles, although LF may only be on a part time basis these days because of his knees.  The Cubs will have to compete with the Padres when it comes to trading a DH/LF type because Carlos Quentin seems the more desirable acquisition, though Soriano might be obtainable at a lower price.  Carlos Lee of the Astros also offers a DH option for some teams.

Some wheels are turning but it does seem most of the early attention has been on Dempster.  He's the pitcher than can help this year without costing as much in terms of financial commitment or prospects as much as Garza would.  As always, we'll monitor the situation.

Filed under: Rumors/Speculation


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  • Lets hope we can trade all the players you mentioned for what
    we want. With others team also having players to trade, I hope
    we don't wait too long. Soon it will be time to bring up Rizzo, and
    maybe others, then we can just start almost with a new team.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    We're all eager to see it happen, but I don't think the FO is impatient to make trades. They'll make the deal when the right one comes along, whether it's tomorrow or at the deadline on July 31st. I do think Dempster will go soon.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree Dempster will go soon, maybe within a week but if they want to trade LaHair the way they platoon him he's losing value. Or, will they just cut him?

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    They won't cut LaHair. They'll either find a place for him in the OF or they'll trade him.

    The Cubs are afraid that if they did play him full-time, he'd lose value, since he's never hit lefties all that well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I certainly understand their thinking, but don't they hurt his trade value by telling the rest of MLB they realize LaHair can't hit LHP? At least if they play him everyday, they give him a chance to prove them wrong and fare decently against LHP. That would actually improve his trade value. I wonder if he's lost some confidence, knowing that his FO doesn't have any faith in his ability to hit lefties.

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    In reply to WSorBust:

    I don't think it's a secret when someone can't hit lefties. Every team has their own scouts and watch these players from high school all the way through the minors to the majors.

    I am concerned though that if they can't get a good pitching prospect or two for Dempster that they won't be adding much in the way of top prospects through trades. Other than Garza, which players would bring a blue chip prospect or two? Not likely anyone.

    Trading Garza isn't a sure thing, although I still think they need to do it because they won't contend for the next 2-3 years at least, and paying Garza to be on a 90 loss team makes little sense.

    We'll still trade LaHair, Dempster, and a few others, but the return might not be what we're all hoping for. We'll just have to wait and see what develops.

  • Not to be a doubting Thomas but I'll only consider the deadline successful if we come away with at least , if not two, potential IMPACT arms.

    As an org, our biggest problem remains the lack of potential impact SP arms. I know that Jedstein have successfully addressed a lot of the other problems in the system but his remains. I'd much rather take a risk on a singular high-ceiling arm, rather than multiple pieces.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I think that's a huge priority and if the Cubs don't get good prospects, including a potential impact arm or two it will be a disappointment.

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    I know its a dream but I wish we could send the jays garza and dempster for lawrie d'arnould and a decent pitcher lol

  • In reply to Kent Kellett:

    They won't trade Lawrie, they need him too :)

  • I think we'd all prefer to make a Garza deal with Toronto, due to their cache of talented arms.

    I agree with John that AA is a bit of a crossroads. Theyve been bitten by injuries, which may affect their interest in any deal for pitching. However, they have to make a big trade or FA signing, at some point, to get to the next level, assuming their injured arms return to health fairly soon.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Next two years are big for AA, in my opinion. Sooner or later this plan has to come to some sort of fruition.

  • That would be nice, but it seems the Jays are not ready to give up the farm. Anthropolous just seems like a guy who will not give up top prospects, he seems to have a "plan" and he will not deviate from it. The Cubs best hope to get top prospects would be if the Tigers decided to go for broke and went after Garza. At this point it would surprise me if Dempster does not go to the Dodgers, our best hope for Soriano would be if the Orioles take him off our hands for a decent prospect. That's all you can hope for Soriano.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I think they'll get a usable player for Soriano, but closer to Zambrano deal than what a Dempster deal might potentially bring.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. I think a Chris Tillman can be had. I wish the royals were in the hunt. I think they have all but given up on Hochevar. Think he just needs a change of scenery. Great stuff though.

  • I think the Jays will be in on Garza and here is why, Garza is under control for another year. It fits because even if they arent contending, it improves the club this year and next year give them a better chance to contend. It just seems like a move AA would do.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    I think it's more something he would do if he had more than a year of extra control. That being said, not a lot of guys like that on the market right now and none are nearly as good as Garza.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But Like you said Bautista is only have a few yr left in this prime. So there time frame is limited or the money the spent on Bautista was waste of money so, they have to make that move to win soon.

  • That's the hope right? I'd assume we'd target the likes if Syndegaard & Sanchez, no?

    With regard to DET, I'm a bit nervous about Turner's shoulder problems from earlier this yr. I like Castellanos but I think we might have 3B covered , internally(Lake,Vitters, Baez,etc).

  • Do you think teams like the toronto would be intrested in p maholm or randy wells a cheaper option for them to accuire even though it would leave us to use volstad as a starting pitcher

  • In reply to Domnk S:

    Maybe, though it's questionable as to whether their stuff will play in the AL East.

  • In two words: no way. Those guys can't hang in the AL East. Every team has internal options, as good or better than them.

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    James Tallion, I thought he was a Pirate! In fact I thought he had an -on at the end of his first name!

  • What happens if we get to June 23rd and there isnt a roster spot open for Rizzo? Would they delay his Chicago debut? Fans would not be happy

  • In reply to drew:

    Have to be very careful with the roster (24 and or 40 man) Don't
    want to loose someone to waivers. I'm sure various rosters
    moves are being planed.

  • In reply to drew:

    The fans are unhappy already, it isn't going to matter.

  • In reply to drew:

    I think they'd delay it until they had roster space, but my guess is they're working very hard to open that up.

  • Soriano better get used to getting booed in his home park.

    Yesterday was inexcusable. Were I the manager I would've benched him on the spot and sent a message... you don't run, you don't play.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    I thought it was overblown. I've never seen anybody run out a hard line drive right at someone in my life. The only time you start running is when they drop it, which is almost always a surprise.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It was overblown. Here is what happened: the ball was hit, every cub fan at Wrigley took a break from drinking their beer and looked up for a second to see the 3B drop the ball. Then they looked at home plate and saw Soriano still standing there. Then they booed because they didn't realize that the whole thing took 1.2 seconds.....

    I spent the next half inning debating it with a few fans in the row behind me.

    Still it is a shame that it happened, Soriano had done a lot to mend his rep this year. Whether he flies out of the box or not, he's out by a mile. But all the fans will remember is that he was standing in the box when an "error" happened. Or maybe they won't remember anything. One of the drunkest crowds I've seen in a while.....

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    Something tells me nobody meets the price on Garza. Dempster as part of a package imo is enough to get us that top prospect.

    If you can get a Chris Tillman for Soriano I say take a flyer on a former top prospect. Why do you think guys like Ian Kennedy/phillip hunger/ Gavin Floyd etc come out of nowhere for other teams after falling off as top prospects. Teams take chances on these guys and a few might hit. I say go for it.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I don't think anyone meets the price either for Garza. Just a hunch.

    Dempster himself was a pretty good flyer by the way, though he was a free agent sign.

  • A flyer plus some salary relief should be enough to move Soriano.
    No matter what management says, that salary will be in the lineup.

    If they can't get rid of Soriano, don't trade LaHair and won't play him against lefties (ridiculous, IMO). then platoon 'em in LF. Actually, they can start doing that when Rizzo comes up.

  • If Garza and Dempster are moved, what would the rotation look like? Not pretty. It wouldn't bother me as a fan if the team would go even way beyond the 108 losses. But I would be concerned about the psychological impact on some of our younger guys who are losing, losing, losing all the time. And would free agents hesitate to sign with a team with such a proclivity of losing?

  • In reply to JayPea:

    dempster might be moved soon, but garza will be held onto well into july so its not like were getting rid of both of them this week. also the rotation would be filled with guys auditioning for next year. guys like nick struck, chris rusin, jay jackson, chris volstad would all be getting shots. theyd probably pull randy wells and casey coleman out of the pen for a start or two. also u never know who we'll be getting back in these trades, if we trade either guy to detroit or new york we might get jacob turner whos almost major league ready, or rick porcello whos in detroits rotation, likewise with phil hughes whos in the yankees rotation.

  • In reply to JayPea:

    Tigers lost 119 in '03 and in '06 were in the World Series They were able to sign FA's and you can't get much worse than they were.

    Once the Cubs get rid of all of their albatross salaries, they'll sign guys. They're not the Rays or Pirates.

  • In reply to JayPea:

    If the Cubs trade Garza, I'm pretty certain they will get an MLB ready pitcher back in the package. But I don't worry about the players psychologically. Tampa had no problem going straight from awful to perennial AL East contender.

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    The guy on Cubbies Crib, just posted that the Dodgers have stepped up thier pursuit of Demp and a deal could come quickly...I'd demand thier top pitching prospect and anothe rlower level guy at least..why not shoot high!!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Agreed!! If the Dodgers wont give up Lee then wait for the AL East to come calling, and they are/will.!!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    You can shoot higher than the mark, I have no doubt they'll ask for Lee initially, whether that's what ultimately happens remains to be seen. It's a high price for a rental.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, it may be a high price for a rental, but they are playing to win it all, at that point it may not matter to them what they deal to get over the hump, if they feel Demp makes that difference..I just don't want the Cubs getting short changed like the got in the Lilly and Maddux deals..The demand for Demp is higher than it was for either Ted or Maddog,and so should the price..Plus, could this be one of those deals John that would include a Tony Campana or someone to increase the return like you alluded to earlier

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I think they'll have to add a piece to get the kind of return they want. I don't know that teams are willing to give up prospect for 2-3 months of a player anymore. We'll see. It's a new CBA with new rules, so I'm curious to see how it affects it.

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    Knowing how Coletti operates and seeing he isn't dealing with Hendry anymore, I wouldn't be surprised if he gives us Lee, especially with other teams in pursuit...

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Thats what Theo has to have for a standard for a deal. Demp is seriously putting up C y Young type numbers . Aside from wins which is due to lack of run support.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I agree. This is playing out extremely well for Theo and Jed with Dempster having an outstanding season to this point. It won't benefit them to trade a SP with a 2.11 ERA and simply settle for pseudo prospects. I think the FO is thinking quality as opposed to quantity, as well they should, especially with Dempster and Garza.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    No doubt Dempster is having a great year, but consider that you're trading for just 3 months of a player. I think they'll get a good prospect, but I'd be surprised (pleasantly) if they get a team's top prospect for Dempster alone.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd like to see him packaged with another player of value to the trade partner, for just that reason. He would likely be a rental but many times players in that situation wind up staying with the new team, especially if that team makes a playoff run. And if Dempster keeps pitching anywhere close to this, he could put a team over the top. Maybe he won't bring some team's top prospect, but a prospect is a prospect because he's yet to prove anything at the major league level. I think we will all be pleasantly surprised to see what the FO adds to their farm system in the next month or so.

  • Demp is a sure thing , Lee is a maybe . Dodgers need Demp now , Cubs maybe will strike it rich with Lee. Sure thing trumps Maybe . Dodgers will blink.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Sure, but then why not trade all your prospects for major leaguers then? Prospects aren't sure things, but if they make it, they give you tremendous value for 6 years of MLB service. Hard to put a price on that.

  • Not getting Lee, even Coletti isnt that rash. I'd be happy with Webster.

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    Carl, the Cubs need to aim high...Hendry aimed for the ankles for years in his dealings, the Cubs need to get top quality settling

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    If no team will offer their top sp prospect for Dempster, your choices are let Dempster leave this offseason and get nothing or trade him for the next best package now. Teams don't have a lot of leverage when trading free agents to be that won't even bring a compensatory pick.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    If someone is serious about winning the whole thing, it's a worthy sacrifice..If that's where the Cubs aim and they miss, maybe the Dodgers counter turns out decent..Hendry never seemed to aim high and always went for quantity over quality in deals, hoping for the winning lottery ticket..Granted, this front office is more equiped and qualified to find some diamonds in the rough in other organizations than Hendry and his skeleton staff could but nonetheless, Dempster is in demand and the Cubs should capitalize...

  • Is Welington Castillo the catcher of the future? If not, who is?

  • In reply to drew:

    My money is on Castillo unless the Cubs make a trade for someone better. He's the best catching prospect in the system right now.

  • I say we keep M. Garza now. I've been looking at his stats and FIP numbers, and watching him on TV. I've also read his comments about wanting to stay here and how much he likes Chicago. The thing is teams are locking down their top starters before they even reach free agency these days. I was hoping we might get a shot at M. Cain or T. Lincecum. Well, M. Cain is off the market and I want no part of Lincecum now. C. Hamels will be available and the best FA out there, but I don't know how eager the Cubs will be to spend on him this offseason. I say trade Dempster, but keep Garza now. Hopefully, for like a 5/$70 mil deal which I think is fair.

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    If he was willing to sign for 5/70 he would have already been signed. I think he is looking for a 90 to 100 mil payday and I dont see the Cubs doing that right now. Best option is to trade him and I think the Red Sox are going to make there run here in about a month. I also dont think they are going to give up on the season any time soon.

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    I'm not sure Hamels makes it to free agency either. Philies don't have a deep farm system to be able to replace departing players. They're in a tough spot.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    There was some talk on MLB Radio this morning that the Cubs might look to move Cliff Lee, whose NTC is limited, for prospects if they can get Hamels resigned before the non-waivers deadline.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'd rather have Hamels, but that seems like it won't be easy to pull off.

  • Has there been any discussion about the Rangers going after Garza? Do you think they would trade Profar and other top prospects to get it done this year?

    I'd live to see that.

  • In reply to Munce:

    I don't think the Rangers are going to make a major move like that. And I certainly don't think they'll trade Profar.

  • And love to see that.

  • John, assuming Dempster is not traded because no substantial offers are made, stays healthy, has a good year, and signs with another team during free agency this winter, would the Cubs get a compensatory pick in next year's draft and if so, how high a pick would you guesstimate?

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    In reply to shalin:

    No pick. MLB drastically updated the compensation picks in the new CBA. Almost no player will bring a draft pick. And don't forget that in order to get the draft pick (if he qualified, which he won't), the Cubs would have to offer arbitration, which Dempster would surely accept, and we would be paying him a raise on top of the $13.5 million he's making this year.

  • Just Win, thanks for the info.

  • In reply to shalin:

    And thanks for fielding that one for me, Just Win :)

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    John, did you see what Lance McCullers signed for? NUTS!!!

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Basically the money they saved from Correa.

  • Oy, I'm getting antsy just waiting for a trade to happen lol. I know we gotta be patient and wait for a good package but, you keep hearing Dempster rumors everyday, kinda drives you crazy.

  • In reply to furiousjeff:

    Me too. Seems like they're close. Cafardo makes it sound like a deal is on the table with the Dodgers.

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