While the Cubs were busy this past week during the non-waiver trade deadline, I too had my hands full signing a new long-term contract.
I’ve had some Cubs thoughts on my mind after taking Thursday and Friday off to enjoy my mid-week wedding.
THE DEMPSTER TRADE
Kudos to Theo Epstein for spilling the beans on the Ryan Dempster trade saga. The fans deserved a more detailed explanation of why Dempster ended up with the Rangers and not the Braves besides defending his 10-5 rights.
We now know Dempster wasn’t blindsided by the Braves deal. In fact, the Cubs had informed Dempster days before about a possible trade to Atlanta.
Epstein also candidly admitted the difficulties in trading Dempster because the pitcher backtracked on his original word.
Perhaps the only thing more important for the Cubs this season than its July trades was the June Amateur Draft.
The Draft went off without a hitch, but the Cubs fell short of trade expectation thanks in large part to Dempster’s dishonesty.
His stubbornness on being traded to LA, who wasn’t willing to come off a fair trade return, and his indecision on accepting trades elsewhere, even teams he previously agreed to be traded to, left the Cubs in a compromising position while scrambling right up to the deadline to land anything of value in return for Dempster.
That’s why I’m giving Epstein and Jed Hoyer much credit for pulling off the Dempster trade in addition to the other trades made on Tuesday.
Sure, the Cubs deadline deals went far off-track from originally planned, but Team Theo got the job done in the end by landing several talented prospects.
DEMPSTER STILL A FAN FOVORITE?
At first news of the late Dempster trade I was disappointed the 35-year-old’s lasting image was of his refusal to go to Atlanta and his dugout outburst in Pittsburgh in what turned out to be his final outing in a Cubs uniform.
But with a better understanding of how the entire scenario played out, Dempster himself is the only one to blame for the lasting image he leaves with the Cubs–and it’s not a favorable one.
Let’s not forget Dempster had months to prepare himself to be traded. He’s the one who didn’t honor his own word, and it’s his problem, not the Cubs, the fan base soured on him so quickly.
It’s all fine and dandy Dempster exercised his 10-5 rights, I have no problem with it. But right now that appears a poor excuse after Team Theo played fairly, and they, not Dempster, were blindsided by the Braves fiasco.
That’s too bad because Demps has long been one of my favorite Cubs. However, I don’t feel the same way after this week, and I’m not sure that changes if he should return to the organization.
As of right now, good riddance.
POST TRADE DEADLINE WOES
When I settled into my Wrigley Field seat to watch the Cubs and Pirates square off Tuesday night I thought to myself “this Cubs lineup isn’t that bad.”
Sure Dempster, Maholm, Johnson and Soto had been dealt hours earlier, but the Cubs would still have a chance to play winning baseball with guys like DeJesus, Castro, Rizzo, Soriano, LaHair and Barney, right?
Immediately after Casey Coleman surrendered a fist inning grand slam, AJ Burnett toed the rubber and began setting down the first 11 Cubs batters he faced.
Adrian Cardenas, of course, eventfully broke up Burnett’s no-hit bid at 7.2 innings, but it meant little in a 5-0 loss.
The Cubs haven’t been any better since dropping the series finale against Pittsburgh 8-4 before losing consecutive games at Los Angeles 6-1 & 3-1.
CUBS (0-4) SINCE TRADE DEADLINE
The winless record since Tuesday is perhaps a sign this club is feeling the effects of watching some of its better and more respected players head towards greener pastures.
Nothing about this season’s struggles has come any easier for manager Dale Sveum. The recent slump is no exception.
How he’ll motivate his club the rest of the way will be of interest to me. As I’ve said before, it’s not so much about the Cubs overall record then how it is Sveum remains in control of the locker room.
I don’t doubt Sveum is the right man for the rebuilding job, but managers who lose 100-plus games don’t get much rope, even ones with lackluster rosters like the Cubs have for the remaining 57 games.
Right now the Cubs are on pace to finish the season (67-95).