Cubs Den Rumor Thread 7/20: Dodgers won't make "blockbuster"; Johnson, Baker also drawing interest

It seems awfully quiet out there right now, but it's early and things will pick up. In the meantime, I'll catch up with a few of last night's late rumors...

  • 6:33 PM: A bit of a slow afternoon as far as rumors go, but now Bruce Levine is reporting that the Red Sox have made an offer for Ryan Dempster, this after we'd been hearing that they were basically out on him and more interested in Matt Garza.  But then again, Nick Cafardo said the Red Sox were lagging behind on him too.  So really, who knows?
  • 6:30 PM: Jayson Stark tweets that The Nationals would need to get creative to complete a trade and the Braves don't appear to be pursuing Dempster aggressively. They prefer starters under team control beyond 2012.
  • 1:49 PM: Jon Morosi of FoxSports tweets that sources are saying there is a 50/50 chance that Ryan Dempster gets traded today to the Dodgers, though there is still time for a team to swoop in.  Jon Heyman said that the Nationals are pushing hard while tweeting that the Cardinals have also checked in.
  • 12:56 PM: Meanwhile Nick Cafardo posts that the Red Sox are lagging behind in the Matt Garza talks.  They rationalized to themselves that Garza wouldn't be an upgrade to what they currently have -- even though Garza's xFIP is higher than any of their current starters.  The more reasonable explanation is that they simply don't want to pay market value.
  • 12:49 PM: George Ofman tweets that the Tigers may be more interested in Matt Garza than Ryan Dempster.  That makes sense and much of our focus has been on Garza to Tigers rumors, mostly involving top pitching prospect Jacob Turner.   The Tigers have a bit of a dropoff after their first two prospects and the secondary guys probably weren't enticing enough for the Cubs while the Tigers likely felt that Turner was too much for a rental like Dempster.  Garza is just the better fit for both sides.
  • 12:20 PM: Five minutes after Rosenthal made his tweet, Levine tweets that the Dodgers remain in hot pursuit and would like to get a deal done as soon as possible.  I'm getting dizzy.
  • 12:05 PM: This make make some of our readers  unhappy, but Rosenthal now tweets that Ryan Dempster is scheduled to pitch tonight and a trade could drag on for a few days.
  • 11:42 AM: Ken Rosenthal writes that Cole Hamels may soon be off the market (if he signs) and teams are concerned with Zach Greinke and he's losing value on the market.  He states if that's the case, then the value of Matt Garza could raise dramatically.  It would also make Ryan Dempster one of the more attractive rentals on the market.
  • 10:07 AM: The Rockies and Royals exchanged starting pitchers with the Royals obtaining Jeremy Guthrie in exchange for the recently DFA'd Jonathan Sanchez.
  • 9:51 AM: The Astros and Blue Jays made a 10 player trade with the Jays picking up starter JA Happ, relievers Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter.  The Jays gave up a couple of major league players in OF Ben Francisco and RP Francisco Cordero as well as a number of prospects, led by RHP Asher Wojciechowski, but none are potential impact guys.  The other prospects were pitchers  Joe Musgrove and David Rollins, plus catcher Carlos Perez. The Astros will also receive a player to be named later.  The Jays could still use pitching, but this lessens their need.  I'm puzzled by the trade, though.  The Jays may have saved their best prospects but what did they really gain for 2012 or the long term?  Happ and Lyons aren't going to help them vault past the Rays, Red Sox or Yankees. UPDATE: Happ now figures to start in the bullpen and Carpenter to AAA.  They are considered depth.
  • 8:45 AM: Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Cubs have had discussions with the Braves about Ryan Dempster without getting real specific about names.
  • 8:40 AM: Stan Kasten, president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is saying not to expect a blockbuster deal.  He's looking for deals that make sense, and what appears to make sense to him right now are rentals like Ryan Dempster instead of a guy like Matt Garza.  This implies that the Dodgers aren't willing to trade top prospects, and we heard yesterday that Zach Lee will not be part of any potential Dempster trade.  There are enough interesting arms in the Dodgers system however.  There have been indications that the Dodgers have already made multiple offers, as Tom reported before any other blog or mainstream media outlet.
  • 8:35 AM: Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Cubs are getting a number of calls about Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker.  Both can be valuable members off the bench, particularly against RHPs.  Johnson also can play all OF spots well while Baker provides the ability to play all 4 corners and 2B.  Expect the usual return on something like this;  an upper level guy with a modest ceiling (i.e.  reliever) or a lower level prospect with some projection left.

Filed under: Rumors/Speculation


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  • It's time for the Cubs' FO to pull the trigger.

  • Why is it necessary to pull the trigger today, other than Dempster is scheduled to start? It will happen when it's supposed to.
    Several teams are on the cusp between buying and selling. Plus, they must be sniffing around how low they could go, or how high they MUST go, with Theo and Jed.
    Why not see what might be out there in another day or week?

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Simple. Dempster's value will never be higher. It could go down with another injury, however. The Cubs need to trade him before he makes another start for them.

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    So you take less because he may get injured or have a bad outing? Dempster has been consistent enough that no matter how he pitches tonight it will not have an effect on his value.

    You wait for the best offer, period.

  • I really wish we could trade him almost anywhere else but the Dodgers. LA is a whole, their fans are among the worst in baseball so they're undeserving of anything that would help their team maybe win a World Series.

  • I think today is the day. We have nothing more to gain by running Dempster out there again in Cubbie Blue. Teams value him as they value him. Shutting out the Cards would be great, but ain't going to get us a better return. And there is always the risk of injury or implosion.

    I would love to pry Lee away from the Dodgers somehow. I could see maybe adding in LaHair or Baker to sweeten the deal? If not, I think a return of Eovaldi and a low level guy might be best case scenario for Demp alone.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    Cubs have nothing more to gain but other teams may want to wait one more start to be sure he's okay. Takes two to tango.

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    Sounds to me like Dodgers have made a decent, but not amazing offer for Dempster, and Theo/Jed are calling around to see if anyone wants to top it. If that's the case, this could drag on through the weekend while they make sure they've got the best offer possible.

  • Trading is not that hard. Toronto and Houston just made a 10 player deal. There wasn't even a rumor ahead of time.

  • No, trading is not that hard. GOOD trading is harder to do. Cf. Cabrera, Melky, for Sanchez, Jonanthan, et al.
    Looks like the Jays might be out of the pitcher-trading picture for now.

  • I have to trust Theo and Jed know what they are doing. I'm sure they would like to get a deal done as much as we would. They understand the market better than any of us. They have done a pretty darn good job so far!

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    That deal would have been disappointing if the Cubs made it for Garza and it wouldn't surprise me if it was pretty close to what he was offering for Garza.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    From what I've read, it seems like AA basically just dealt away prospects who were blocked.

    Astros fans seem to believe AA got robbed, however.

    If Happ is worth a top ten prospect--and some have argued Perez is close to a top ten prospect, too--then Garza's value must be too high for AA.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:


  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    They got a couple of nice prospects but no major guys...but they didn't give up much either. I actually like the deal for Houston a bit more. Asher Wojciechowski and Joe Musgrove are nice arms, though they may wind up in the bullpen. I think Perez is a backup when and if he reaches the majors, but even that has some value.

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    Trading is not that hard when both sides agree on the value they're getting. It's harder if one side feels like they can possibly get better value. That means the timing stretches out a bit. You don't want to stretch too far, lest one partner go elsewhere, but the Cubs have two of the top arms on the market, so they can probably wait a bit longer to be sure they're getting max value.

  • If he starts today only bad things can happen. Please make
    a deal.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Or he could throw 7 shutout innings. With Hamels possibly resigning in Philly and I saw Greinke might actually stay in Milwaukee. The market could be moving in the Cubs favor. Again I think we need to trust Theo and Jed know what they are doing. Patience is a virtue.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    I'll be very surprised if Dempster starts for the Cubs tonight.

  • I'd probably agree with you there... seems like something will happen today. We'll see.

  • It seems very evident that the offers out there aren't that great, which is why they haven't "pulled the trigger". Wanting them to accept a deal today means they would have to accept a deal they don't like.

    The fallback position in this negotiation is that the Cubs could keep him, offer him a contract that he declines, lose him to F/A and then get a comp pick.

    That's not a great fallback position, but it is what it is. I'm guessing the Dodgers are calling the bluff and low-balled. Now the Cubs are seeing if the Braves or Nats will beat it.

    This could EASILY go on until July 31st. Hard deadlines have a way of making things happen.

  • Nice plug for you two from Spiegel on WSCR today.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Thanks Hubbs! For those of you who missed it Matt Spiegel complimented our work here on the blog on The Score today. We'll have the podcast up later.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah that was cool, was driving and happened to hear it, spiegel is full of awesomeness and thanks for the paniagua info on the other thread.

    As far as demp goes, I am trying to zen myself out and stop checking every 5 seconds, hopefully this is the quiet before the storm, Chris reed and whitrow still sound pretty good, hopefully it gets done soon

    That jays trade is really bizzarre eh? AA is pretty smart though so I will reserve total judgement, button the surface it looks strange to me

  • In reply to Andrew13:

    I'm sure he's looking at his K rate and a slightly lower FIP, but agreed, this is JA Happ, He's a nice back end starter, but he's not Matt Garza. Seems to me that he just settled because he was afraid to deal bigger names. Sometimes I get the feeling AA will be one of those guys who does just enough to contend and maybe make the playoffs once or twice, but he'll never do enough to put them over the top.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can't disagree, at some point you have to make a run at it all, especeially when you have good talent on the mlb roster and sought after pieces in the minors to fill in the gaps of what you are missing. Maybe the crazy amount injuries the jays have had led to them backing off on all the big guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's awesome! Since I've found your blog, I've done nothing but rave about it to my friends. It's like being friends with the ultimate Cubs fan who happens to be a great writer as well. Now we just need to hang out for 3 hours at Wrigley.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    Thanks Ibleedcubbieblue!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And I'd be happy to meet up at a game, either Wrigley or Kane County (when they play Peoria). Just let me know. Next time I'm going for sure is on July 27th.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Got a bachelor party the weekend of the 27th. I have season seats, so can do most any other game. If you're available, I could do August 1st? I got 4 tickets to that game so you could even bring Tom.

  • Another trade just went down. Royals/Rockies. Sanchez for Guthrie.

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    JA Happ? The Blue Jays just traded for JA Happ????

  • nice article by Jayson Stark giving his odds of trades involving starting pitchers.

  • What a wimpy trade by the Blue Jays. I guess the Jays really are adverse to trading top prospects, the GM might be a smart guy, but he seems a little gutless. Dempster will be traded soon, probably by today. As for Garza, teams like the Tigers still want him I'm not worried

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I told Tom that sometimes I wonder if he's more interested in preserving his perception as a "genius" than actually making a move that will make his team better than the teams ahead of him. Prediction is that JA Happ performs better than expected and people will rave about AA, and his team will finish in 4th place.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's that Greek ego of his :p

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Definitely made me laugh

    Nice line

  • I just read that Ken Rosenthal says the market for Greinke is softening. A lot of teams are worried about his recent developments. If Hamels resigns with Philly, the market for Garza and Dempster could be at an all time high!!!

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    was just reading that too!

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    More reasons not to jump the gun and settle for a lesser deal.

  • Rosenthal now saying that Dempster deal may drag on a few days.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I believe that may be the right move on the Cubs part. It's like they are playing a poker game, they've been dealt a nice hand and they are waiting to see the turn cards. They might get hurt by a bad start from Dempster, but have a lot to gain if Hamels and Greinke are no longer in the picture.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    More to gain if they do in fact drop out because Demp becomes the top rental. Only big loss would be if Demp got Greine may be.

  • Well, Happ isnt going into the rotation but into the Bullpen according to AA. So I would say they are still in for a SP and as for AA saying they aren't close for anything else. The Cubs are focused on Dempster right now, so they most likely arent close yet.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Still possible, just a little less likely than before.

  • I'm going crazy with all these rumors! Jedstein better not disappoint and better pull of some great trades!

  • In reply to Joshnk24:


  • what are the chances of demp being traded today? It seems like the dodgers have a lot of people that hey wont give up and other teams are pushing for him

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    I'm thinking it's more the usual ups and downs, the usual dance of negotiations. My gut says he gets traded before the game today.

  • The Dodgers may be determined to low ball on Dempster. If the offers are not what Theo and company want isn't it better to remove Dempster's name from the market and concentrate on other trades?

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I don't think they can remove him from the market because teams already know they prefer to deal him.

  • I still think the Nationals end up pulling off a trade for Demp & Reed Johnson. It just makes too much sense for them, and if the Dodgers are low-balling, the combo need they have for a CF & a SP may result in a better prospect or two. Is Meyer or Rosenbaum too much to hope for?

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Makes a ton of sense for them. Just hope they're willing to pay for it.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Speaking of Demp and the Nats, via MLB TradeRumors:

    "The Nationals are said to be trying hard on Dempster, Jon Heyman of reports (on Twitter). The Braves are in as well..."

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Some talk that the Nats really trying to swoop in here. Not sure they have enough to beat Dodgers, but Meyer would do it. I think it's too much though.

  • How about Detwiler from the Nats?

  • I would think they'd want to keep any player who is useful for them this season.

  • You're probably right.

  • Jon Heyman is saying that the Cards are now in on Demp. If and when it happens, he could come out of the other dugout tonight.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Congrats Heyman on winning the award for the most ridiculous rumor yet!

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    I think the two teams have only done a couple of trades...ever.

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    In reply to SFToby:

    Actually, I thought I heard a trivia question on a Cubs broadcast that the Cubs #1 trade partner through history has been the Cards. Not so much recently though.

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    I remember deals for Old Man Fassero and I believe Todd Zeile. Feel like I'm forgetting one...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Just thinking of recent trades obviously...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Well Lou Brock for one and also Leon Durham. Definitely more than a couple of trades ever. Given the century+ history of both franchises, I'd gues the trivia Kevin mentioned is accurate. Just not much lately that I can think of.

  • John and Tom, are you guys posting all tweets and updates only from guys you trust, or really just any information that's out there for the public? I'd love to know a way to sift between the "hmm, there's probably something to this" comments and the "this guy is full of baloney" comments.

  • In reply to mosconml:

    I kind of take all reported information with a grain of salt nowadays. Information and misinformation are an important part of any GM or agent's toolbox. Most of the national reporters are pawns in that game. I do think they realize this at least. But if it keeps people reading their stuff, it keeps them employed.

  • In reply to mosconml:

    Great question. I think we just have good built in filters by now and yes I know I have my favorites. I think Rosenthal is the best when it comes to the rumors stuff. He just works in a respectful but tenacious way. I also check with people I can reach out to to try and solidify some of it. Kap is really a rumor guy, he loves to try and find out what is going on.

  • First pitch in 4 hours. Looking like Dempster has at least one more start in Cubbie Blue. Go get em' Demp!

  • As I have been saying for two weeks with Dempster, make them sweat. Bunch of teams right on the fringe of the playoffs, with huge holes in their starting staffs. No denying he is pitching as well as anybody in baseball right now. Somebody will overpay, just have to wait them out.

  • Interesting read on trade value of Dempster: if link doesn't work it's Jaffe article on;jsessionid=45F01E223272E4A3D8153EEF5A84D884.cnnsi1

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Cool, thanks. Basically saying Hamels will fetch more, but Dempster is the bigger bargain. Completely agree.

  • Bruce Levine is now reporting that the Red Sox have an offer on the table for Dempster. Also mentions that most teams expect him to be back with the Cubs next year.

  • In reply to BudMan:

    Thanks BudMan. Posted it but it took awhile to reappear when I moved the rumor thread up top again.

  • MLBTradeRumors: "Even though a report yesterday suggested that the Red Sox are out on Dempster, Boston has made an offer, according to another source."

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    Anyone care to guess who didn't make his scheduled start tonight for the Chattanooga Lookouts?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Webster. Wish it was on today.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Webster started tonight. I got the dates confused when I emailed you the other day. Reed actually should have started tonight. Either they've pushed him back because he got roughed up in his last start, which was the 13th, or they're holding Reed out for another reason.

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    Garrett Gould is still scheduled to start tonight for Rancho Cucamonga, but that game has not started yet.

  • no i do believe reed was scheduled to start

  • In reply to dakota cubs fan:

    The Reed and Dempster news seems to coincide a lot.

  • yea chris reed was scheduled to start all day then pulled him at the last second i think reed for dempster is pretty fair deal

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    Do you think Germano warmed up just in case?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'm imagining they tabled talks at a certain point so that Demp can prepare for the game. Then again, not a great start, so maybe.

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    Well, that was a great start to the game for Dempster. Way to help that trade value.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Much better second inning.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Won't hurt it one way or the other. He's throwing 92, velocity is there. Only concern would be injury or drop in velocity.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I know John, but I'm a Cubs fan. I honestly expect his arm to fall off on every pitch

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Appreciate all the updates & news on prospects! John, you referenced a BBA article that detailed each teams spending on the draft. My question is re: minor league pay. How much does an org. guy get in A, AA, AAA make and does a promotion/demotion result in raise or cuts? Does a guy like Baez make the same $$ as others or is his 3.9 mil his payday.

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    In reply to Kevin Twomey:

    I meant Almora with the 3.9 mil.

  • every one was saying that the cubs were crazy to start demp Base ball tonight said that and others because it would only lower value. With his bad start every one is saying it lowered a lot but i dont think so what do you guys think?

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    General managers understand that pitchers give up runs. No one expected him to continue the scoreless streak forever. If Theo and Jed were getting offers that reflected his scoreless streak, they would have already traded him. I find it hard to believe some general manager has called the Cubs and said, "Dempster gave up runs, our offer is off the table." That only happens in our fantasy leagues.

  • In reply to kingpro98:


  • In reply to kingpro98:

    I thought they were crazy for starting him, but I don't think this hurts Demp's value.....

    4 straight singles and a ground out- sandwiched by 2 K's- to score three of his 4 runs....that isn't hitting the ball hard.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    And that Cardinal lineup is just sick. They are a constant reminder of what a good organization with a good farm system can do. God I hate them!!! But at least we are finally going in the right direction.

  • Do you think Darwin Barney has played his way out of this whole "being included in a package deal" type of thing? I mean.. Seems to me it would almost demand a top prospect in return at this point, and all teams involved seem unwilling to part with theirs. Is DB playing his way into a future with the Cubs (even as a backup)? That'd be great, as most of our infield would be set.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    Barney no Tradey. It would take too much to pry him away and every GM loves their own prospects too much.

    Nobody wants to trade their top prospects unless the guy they are trading for has 5 or 6 years of proven production.

    On the flip side, you don't trade away a young, cost controlled producer like Barney unless you get a stud prospect back.

    Just no match. Unless a team like the Tiger gets desperate and wants a SP/2B package and will give up their top 3 prospects for Garza/Barney.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    You just gotta love the guy. Clutch. Defense. He's a winner.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    I think it's very unlikely that Barney gets traded. I think the Cubs will ask too much (and rightfully so) and teams will settle for an Omar Infante type player.

  • It sure seems to me that the Nats would have to value Demp as much or more than anyone else. They're going to have to shut down SS and that could be their undoing without a very good replacement. So unless they have somebody in their own organization ready to do that, a rental is the only way to go, IMO. They're playing too well to take an unnecessary chance and blow the lead.

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