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.