With the first two months of the 2012 season now in the books, the Chicago Cubs find themselves securely in last place in the National League Central with a record of 18-32, with a comfortable 3.5 game cushion; they are also in third place for the race for the number one draft pick in the year 2013. Speaking of the draft, World Series Dreaming Minor League reporter Jackson Scofield takes a look at the draft and what the Cubs may do when things kick off on Monday. Once the draft is over, Theo Epstein and the Cubs can turn their full attention back to the Major League roster, and make changes as necessary that will help turn this traveling circus into a contender in the next few years.
Yesterday, there was news galore about possible moves the Cubs may make, including which players the team might be wanting to keep and which ones they would be willing to move to a team who was willing to pay the asking price.
Jon Heyman reported that there have been suggestions that the team may be looking into extending Ryan Dempster (who has now gone 18 straight games without a win) to keep him around to finish his career instead of trading him when his value has never been higher. This piece of news getting out could be a ploy by the Cubs who want to push his value up a little bit to an interested team. If other teams know you want to get rid of him, the asking price will not be quite as high as if they think you might want to keep him around a few more years. I would not mind if Dempster was brought back next year, but I still feel that the Cubs should do all they can to move him before the trade deadline to capitalize on his current value.
If they want him back for 2013, there is nothing in the rules that say he cannot re-sign with them when he hit’s the free agent market. If he really does like Chicago and wants to stay, perhaps he will even give us the legendary “home town discount” and allow the Cubs to sign him to a cupcake deal like they did with Kerry Wood when he was brought back for the 2011 season. If they are able to bring him back at a discount, then by all means re-sign him, after you trade him. The history is long of players re-signing with clubs after being traded or walking away in free agency. Wood is a prime example, as is Greg Maddux. If he does not want to give us a discount to come back, then we can bid him farewell and replace him with a young arm in the farm system.
Later in the day, another report came out saying that every player on the Cubs roster was available to any team that was willing to meet their asking price, including Starlin Castro. Every Cub, that is, except for Jeff Samardzija who was deemed as untouchable. This angered several Cub fans without end, who were close to calling for Epstein’s head for even considering listening to offers for the young star short stop.
While I do not want to trade Castro, getting upset that Epstein is listening to offers is absurd. No player should ever be untouchable, no matter how good they are. Every player should be made available, as long as the price is met. Hypothetically speaking, if the San Francisco Giants offered the Cubs Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain for him, you would take that in a heartbeat. The Giants General Manager would be fired approximately a minute after that deal was made, but that deal would get them Castro.
You should always listen to offers for any player another team wants, because you never know when a team might surprise you and break the bank to get your supposed untouchable player. Samardzija was hit with the untouchable tag, but like with the rumors of Dempster potentially being extended was that leaked out on purpose to make him look more appealing to a team that might test how untouchable he is? Because I am not in the meetings with Epstein and Jed Hoyer, all I can do is speculate, but even if he is untouchable, I would listen to every offer that came my way for Samardzija who is having an amazing season.
Thankfully, shortly after that report, Epstein was able to calm down the masses when he refuted the claim of saying they were looking to deal Castro. This settled Cub fans down, but how much can you take out of that story? Sure, Epstein said all the right things in order to calm down Cub fans who were ready to string him up for thinking of trading Castro. But how closely did those fans read the story, and see what he really said? Focusing in on key words, he did not really say that Castro was untouchable.
When he did all he could to shoot down the reports that everyone but Samardzija was available, Epstein said two words which make you wonder if Castro is as untouchable as he was trying to say to calm down the fans. The title alone speaks volumes about Castro’s availability. The title was “Cubs Not Considering Trading Castro”, that is not saying they are not listening to offers, but that they are not considering moving him. The other line says “Theo Epstein said star shortstop Starlin Castro isn’t EXPECTED to be going anywhere in the near future.” Expected is another hollow word which can mean anything. He is not expected to go anywhere, but that does not mean that he will not be moved for the right price, as he said earlier in the week. Everyone can be had for the right price, that means Castro and Samardzija.
Today, even more news came out, Matt Garza is garnering a lot of interest around the majors, at least from the New York Yankees who are the only confirmed team to have interest, though there is heavy speculation that the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers are also keeping an eye on him and when the Cubs might be willing to move him. If all these teams are indeed interested in acquiring Garza, there could be a bidding war for his services, and while I would love to see the Cubs extend him as has been discussed, but when you have multiple teams eying a pitcher like Garza, the Cubs could come out as a big winner.
Welcome to June Cub fans, enjoy the players on the team while they are here, you never know when they will be gone. Come August 1, you may not recognize the team taking the field.