When I wrote the ESPN power ranking comment last Sunday, I thought for sure that it would be the last time I mentioned Ryan Dempster. The same went for a month ago when I mentioned him. For a guy that is in such high demand, we just can’t seem to get rid of him. There was a time on Thursday night and all day Friday that the Cubs and Dodgers were going at it hot and heavy and that a deal appeared on the way. Dale Sveum even mentioned he had his phone on loud in case he needed to pull Dempster before the start. Then, nothing. The Dodgers have pulled out and have apparently decided to look elsewhere. Now the rumors are that Nationals and the Braves are the leading contenders. To be honest, it’s grown almost as tiring as the Dwight Howard saga.
The more I think about the sheer number of guys the Cubs have available and the number of days left in which to deal them in, the more worried I’m becoming that that value coming back will not be as good. If you read the rumors, teams have interest in a host of players on this roster. That has me wondering if both Jed and Theo are fielding calls. Because of the sheer amount of work that is involved in consummating all these deals, it just seems like you’d have to have both guys working full time on the case and then they can bounce things off each other. That got me wondering if teams have a preference in dealing with one more than the other when it comes to Theo vs. Jed.
Ultimately, I have trust that these next days will be pretty eventful and profitable in the grand scheme of things. At this point, I just want it to be over with so we can let the dust settle and evaluate what we’ve got.
- Juancito De La Cruz and Antonio Encarnacion were suspended on Wednesday when the office of the commissioner announced they had violated Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. As a result, both pitchers will serve a 50 game suspension. De La Cruz, in 20 innings of work has a 6.30 ERA with an eye opening 9.0 walks per nine ratio. Encarnacion has not fared any better. Both have struggled to find the plate so the suspensions aren’t really that big of a deal.
- Speaking of Dominican born players, the Cubs invested $1.5 million in Juan Carlos Paniagua. Ben Badler of Baseball America notes:“Paniagua, 22, originally signed with Arizona as Juan Carlos Collado for $17,000 on May 8, 2009. He pitched in Arizona’s Dominican Summer League program for parts of two seasons with a pending contract (an option that is no longer allowed) but had his deal terminated due to fraudeulent paperwork and was declared ineligible to sign for one year.During his time off, his fastball rose from peaking at 92 mph to touching 98 mph, and in 2011 he signed with the Yankees for $1.1 million as Juan Carlos Paniagua. MLB also terminated that contract due to what the league called “falsified documents” and declared him ineligible to sign for one year, a penalty that ended today.Paniagua hasn’t shown the same velocity he had when he signed with the Yankees—he sat at 93-95 mph at a May workout in Puerto Rico—but his 81-84 mph slider has improved after some scouts last year thought it was a slurvy pitch that graded out behind his changeup. He also throws an occasional curveball, and while he was around the plate in Puerto Rico, his command and pitchability have been issues in the past.”
- Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus had notes on the hot start of Javier Baez this season and had some kind things to say about him:“Expected to be awfully good, Baez has actually exceeded those expectations, earning 70 or higher scouting grades for both his hit and power tools. …he’s one of the top offensive prospects in any league.”
- Keith Law had a small scouting reporton Jorge Solar’s debut:“Soler, who signed a nine-year, $30 million dollar deal with the Cubs in June, only DH’d and had three at-bats before he was pulled for a pinch hitter — you know, don’t want to overtax the guy or anything — and did at least get a chance to show how explosive his hands are at the plate. He loads his hands high and deep, but accelerates quickly enough to catch up to above-average stuff, even meeting a few balls out in front of the plate (perhaps because his timing is still off). He’s balanced through the swing and should be able to generate power from his lower half. He grounded out twice but didn’t run hard either time, although his strides are long and easy and he should be an above-average runner when he decides to show it. (His third at-bat was a hard lineout to the pitcher.) He’s in very good shape and his body looks loose and athletic. This wasn’t an ideal look since he didn’t play the field and hasn’t faced live pitching in ages, but at least some of the tools were on display — and yes, I will go back in a week or so to try to see him in the field.”
Discussion Topic for the Day
The Olympic games are quickly approaching, with the opening ceremonies taking place this Friday. Apparently there is an American tradition when it comes to the processional of the opening ceremonies that I wasn’t aware of. When teams march into the stadium, as a sign of respect for the host nation, the entering countries flag bearer lowers their colors as they pass the box that contains the host country’s dignitaries. The American’s, for over a century, are the only country that does not. My question to you is: Are you OK with this?