Cubs Notes and Rumors: Dempster, LaHair, Soriano, Almora, Darvish

Cubs Notes and Rumors: Dempster, LaHair, Soriano, Almora, Darvish

As we anxiously await the draft signing deadline (July 13th)  and the non-waiver trade deadline (July 31st), here are some whispers from around the league...

  • Ryan Dempster very badly wants to pitch on Sunday before the All-Star break.  "I think they trust me", said Dempster.  That would certainly accelerate the process of showcasing, and eventually, trading Dempster.  You can bet that if he does take the mound, there will be plenty of scouts there to watch and see if his velocity shows he's back and ready to pitch.  If Dempster cannot go then Chris Volstad makes the start.
  • The Cubs will listen on offers for Bryan LaHair tweets Jon Morosi, but the price remains high because the Cubs don't feel the need to trade him.  He's played well in the OF and he has given the Cubs a nice power trio with Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano.  He's also cheap and cost controlled and giving the Cubs a lot of surplus value right now.
  • Speaking of Alfonso Soriano, Cleveland is looking for RH power hitters and Soriano certainly fits the bill.  The Indians are expected to look at Carlos Quentin, who may be the top RH hitter on the market given his production and expiring contract.
  • Buster Olney (insider only) says that the Cubs were actually second behind the Rangers in the bidding for Japanese RHP Yu Darvish.  It is a distant 2nd, however, as no team bid within $35M of the Ranger's winning bid of $51.7M.
  • Olney also says that Texas will be in the market for the big starting pitchers.  Presumably that includes Matt Garza, but would also include Zach Greine and Cole Hamels if they become available.  Texas has a boatload of prospects to offer and it seems that recently they have been willing to include top 3B prospect Mike Olt to get get a top pitcher in return.  The Cubs, of course, would also like to beef up their pitching depth.  Other teams looking for pitching include the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Braves.  The Orioles, Diamondbacks and Cardinals could also look for some pitching.  Olney mentions the Nationals as a possibility as Stephen Strasburg's innings limit approaches.
  • Jim Callis of Baseball America tweets that he expects the Cubs to sign both Albert Almora and 2nd round pick RHP Duane Underwood before the deadline.


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  • Wow. Canadian living really agrees with Arguello. Just post after post. Who new Canadian Club was this healthy....

    I'd love it if Demp came back, pitched well, and the Theocrats played a little media gamesmanship and let it out that they were having contract talks with Demp. Really force these teams to step up with a good offer. It kills me that other teams are wanting the Cubs to eat money too. Do you want him or not.... I mean, if it's the Pirates, okay, we'll eat the money for a better prospect. That's just Bud Selig baseball. But the fricking Dodgers? Get out of here....Either you need a pitcher ( or hitter) or you don't. you just paid Billions (with a B) for the team. you're throwing money left and right. Don't tell me you need us to eat Demp's deal to get a good prospect. Tell Magic to sell more movie tickets....

    It's amazing ow all the prospects being thrown around AREn'T pitching prospects. I think the best way to get some pitching in the system is to trade either a Baez or a Candaleiro for an equal arm or two. But that's probably a different discussion.

    Nice to have Geddy Arguello back in the fold....

  • In reply to felzz:

    Ha! I do like visiting family up there in the Toronto area. Beautiful country, great people.

    As far as paying Demp, it's just standard. It's an unwritten rule that you either dump salary and get lower level prospects or you pay salary and add value to Dempster by making him cheap as well as very good.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Agree that possibly the Cubs could trade position prospects for pitching down the road.

    Vogelbach & Candelario (I note that they are low-level prospects, albeit with high upsides) are both likely 1B.

    Baez & Lake are likely both 3B. (Lake could also move to OF)

    Sczcur, Almora, Soler, and Jackson are all OF'ers.

    If we get some high-end position prospects back in any deadline trades, there will be more surplus. All of which could be used to acquire pitching prospects and/or a arb-eligible pitcher from a small market team.

  • Don't hold your breath waiting for Soriano to be traded.
    The Cubs are paying him anyway and right now he's not blocking anybody.
    If BJax were ready he'd be gone, but he's gotta cut down on the K's.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    Could be right there. The Cubs aren't trading him unless they get value back simply because they don't need to trade him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    A few months ago, we were all talking about Soriano as easily replaced by a farm asset. Not so much anymore. And if they're going to pay him, may as well pay for him to produce in Cubbie Blue. Funny how much things have changed now that BJax looks less ready, LaHair looks good in the OF, and Soriano is back in form.

    Campana might be the most tradeable OF asset.......

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    It is an odd situation. Nothing is guaranteed but at this point it wouldn't surprise me if the Cubs kept Soriano. He's projecting as a 3 WAR player according to ZiPS. Fangraphs already gives him a value of 2.1.

    I don't think that means the Cubs won't trade him, but it does mean they expect to get something worthwhile back in return, especially if they're going to pay his salary.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think it's silly if we all get brainwashed by Soriano's play the last couple of months and think we don't need to trade him. He has 2 years left on his contract and a bad knee that is only getting worse. We've all seen him get hot for a month at a time before, and then get ice cold for months. Trade him now if you have the opportunity. It's possible he never performs at this level again.

    That's coming from a guy who likes Soriano, but is being realistic. It doesn't matter if we don't have anybody ready to play LF. We're not contending.

  • I would trade Dempser for the 1st good/great deal offered.
    Garza I would wait closer to the July 30 deadline, but not
    to close. Other pitchers are available in the trade market.
    Even though Garza may be better than some of them,
    they may cost less to get.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Garza may have more value simply because he has that extra year of control. I imagine any team trading for Grienke or Hamels would want some assurance they'll sign an extension.

  • I had a feeling that the Rangers way overpaid for Darvish. Talk about bidding against yourself, 35mm above the next highest!

    The Rangers strike curse.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Darvish has been good but he hasn't been a #1. That was a huge bid and similar to the Cubs bid for Soler and to a lesser extent, Concepcion, they weren't going to be denied. Agent really worked the Rangers well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wei-Yin Chen, whom I wanted the Cubs to look at, has been a better bargain so far.

    Wrote an article on him back in November.

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    Good news on Almora and Underwood! Good to hear also they will not be giving LaHair away. I'd be willing to trade him for a solid prospect or two in the team's top 10 or whatever, but he could be a useful piece the next year or two should the Cubs do better than expected and actually contend. Agree with you Felzz on Dempster and the Dodgers, give me a break! How are you enjoying this American heat wave John? I think next year is still a developing year probably, you get castro and rizzo another year of experience, and try to get vitters, jackson, and castillo/clevenger established. Then maybe after that you add a few more pieces and you are ready to start trying to compete for real.

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    I like heat...but not THiS much heat.

    I agree that next year is probably going to be another building year, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cubs play very well for some stretches and show glimpses of what they're going to be.

  • Any word on if the mets are in rumors for a cub trade?....a lahair for harvey (RHP,#2 prospect)trade could be a great fit for both teams....cubs get a top 50 pitching prospect with top of the rotation potential...mets get a cost controlled left handed allstar power bat who can handle either first or a corner outfield position and finally give david wright some relief

  • In reply to NIKOMAN:

    Harvey would be a great return for LaHair. Not sure if it's plausible, but I'd have to think the Cubs would take that deal.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    IMO the cubs need to.come away with a pitcher ranked in the top 50 before the trading deadline.....besides the blue jays (who might not be buyers anyways cuz of so many injuries) the mets are the only team with 2 pitchers in the top 50 (wheller and harvey)....with the mets a game out of the wild card and 2 cy young candidates allready on the mlb staff, they may have the right amount of motivation

  • In reply to NIKOMAN:

    Mets are a darkhorse as far as teams, but lots of teams with a top 50 guy who may be willing to deal them Tigers (Turner), Dodgers (Lee), Braves (Teheran)...Yanks Banuelos also a top 50 talent. Cards also have two top 50 guys (Miller and Martinez)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    With Votto's injury, there is a chance LaHair is a starter in the ASG. Theo should be trying to get him in the HR derby also. With strong showings on that stage, he could improve his trade value considerably. Not that I want to see him go.....I'm a LaHair fan.....but it's good to hear the asking price for him is currently too steep for suitors.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    I like that the Cubs are playing it that way. They're not in the business of helping other teams. They don't need to trade LaHair, so there's no reason they should give him away. It probably means they keep him, but I'm okay with that.

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    I know a lot of people have soured on Bjax and rightfully so with all the strikeouts but in the event of a trade in the outfield what do the cubs really have to lose by bringing him up in august and letting him play it out and get experience and make some adjustments up here. He's going to strike out but he's also going to give you power, speed, defense, and OBP(walks) which is everything the cubs want.. Even with all the strikeouts his OPS remains over .830 why shouldn't he come up?

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    My guess is the fear that MLB pitchers and their superior command will eat him up and exploit those holes in his swing.

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    Also like to point that a friend of mine who sees Iowa alot tells me people see the strikeouts and think BJax is just hacking up there but that's really not the case. He thinks Brett is striking out because hes using a major league approach in the minors where traditionally pitchers won't waste pitches or try set you up. He says Brett is trying to work counts and gets down 0-2 without swinging often. If givin a chance in the majors BJAX should decrease the strikeouts to a manageable level and walk a lot. Just his opinion.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Whatever it is, it's completely crazy. He's too talented to strikeout that much.

  • It's good to work counts but if a guy throws you a strike that you can handle you need to hit it, preferably near the center or slightly below the center of the ball!

    That's my theory and I'm stickin' to it!!

  • In reply to eaton53:

    Agreed. If you get a good pitch early, especially a fastball, you have to pounce on it.

    AAA umpires are pretty inconsistent and I sometimes feel they expand that zone when he's up. Would like to see Jackson take more rips early on. I sometimes wonder if he's too passive in his approach. Needs to be a bit more aggressive on strikes.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When I played ball years ago I was always told that if you get a good pitch to hit you better hit it because you probably won't get another one.

    To this day I beleve this to be prudent advice. 3-0 was an exception, though. I liked to make the guy throw a strike.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    I was an extremely patient hitter (though not a very good one), but I'd wait not just for a strike,but a strike that I actually liked.

  • Brett Jackson is being exposed right now and it's not pretty, I'm pretty confident that Theo/ Hoyer and MacLeod would not draft a player like Jackson. He inability to get on base and his strikeouts would have been huge red flags to Theo and Co. As for Garza and Dempster , I see both getting traded and the Braves/ Rangers/Tigers and Dodgers being the favored destinations. The Yankees are going to be left out in the cold due to their lack of legit pitching prospects right now.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Not sure I agree with that. Jackson gets on base pretty well and he does a lot of things those guys like -- runs well, hits for power, plays good defense. Considering they picked him at the end of the first round and he quickly became a top 50 prospect, I'd say it was a solid pick. Even if he's an average regular, that's good value at the end of the first round.

    We can't forget that Boston's current staff was clamoring for Brett Jackson as compensation too.

  • I took a closer look at Brett Jackson just for fun and I found some pretty interesting monthly splits and it's not just typical splits it's an upward/downward trend with some massive monthly increases..

    For the month of April: .236BA / 26.7K% (Strikeout%) / 43.6% Swng% (% of pitches swung at) / 4.9% Oswng% (% of pitches swung at outside of zone) / 75.2% Contact% / 4.50 P/PA / 13.3% BB%

    For the month of May: .255BA / 33.3K% / 46.4% Swng% / 11.4% Oswng% / 68.4% Contact% 3.95 P/PA / 7.0% BB%

    For the Month of June: .282BA / 40.7K% / 48.4% Swng% / 18.2% Oswng% / 56.7% Contact% 4.11 P/PA / 8.9% BB%

    I find it interesting that his BA has gone up consistently month per month but that's pretty much as of result of swinging more, which also led to more strikeouts. Haven't seen him play but his uptick in K% could be because he's swinging at more pitches out of the zone than in previous months. Could also be why his Contact% is down.

  • In reply to furiousjeff:

    The trend to me looks like he's expanding his strike zone and becoming more aggressive.. It's leading to more balls in play but more strike outs as well. We need to see the breakout of his OBP during those months to see if his more aggressive approach is having a positive result.

  • In reply to furiousjeff:

    Nice could be right on that, maybe it's something to research further and write about.

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