Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

Admit it, it’s hard to watch the game and not think about the trade deadline. I find myself constantly checking Twitter to see if there are any new rumors, especially regarding the Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza situation. Because of that, I feel compelled to talk about it despite the fact that it has nothing to do with tonight’s game.

The are a lot of mixed feelings right now toward Dempster. Suddenly, a guy considered a fan favorite has drawn the scorn from Cubs fans who consider his decision to be childish. Even on this site there are mixed feelings. To be honest, I don’t know what the right feeling is because I can understand both sides.

On one side of the argument, it’s understandable to see Dempster’s side. He’s played by the rules and earned the no-trade clause because of a rule that was collectively bargained by the players and the owners. Why should he be expected to suddenly waive that right? Imagine if you worked for Apple, and you had worked for them for a long time and were happy there. Suddenly they come to you and say they’ve decided to move you to IBM and you have to move to another state. My first reaction would be to ask what’s in it for me, to which the reply, “nothing, but it helps us as an organization and since you’ve been here for so long and care about the company, you’d want to see that, right?” Stop and think about that conversation for a second and look at it in that context. It would be absolutely unheard of. Why is it any different when it comes to baseball?

The other side of the argument is that Theo and Jed spoke with Dempster, expressed the desire to move him for pitching and asked where he preferred. He gave them two particular teams with the Dodgers being preference number one. As a result, the first team that was called was the Dodgers and there was rumors that a deal was close on Thursday night. That fell through so the Cubs moved on to the Braves (Dempster’s # 2 team). Nowhere in these discussions did they come to Dempster with a team not on his list and try to put pressure on him to accept. As a result, you can argue that he should accept the deal to the Braves considering it was a team on his list and to not do so and drag discussions out is selfish.

No matter which way you feel, I think you’re justified. The problem is that this has brought out the worst in Cubs “fans”. A quick check of the #Dempster tag reveals the following:

  • “I don’t care if it makes you look bad. Threaten to bench Ryan Dempster for the rest of this season.”
  • “I’m good with demoting Dempster to closer too. He’ll shit himself under the pressure as normal and it’ll help the #Cubs improve draft-wise.”

This person falls into neither category so I cannot defend his position. Ultimately, I believe the deal will happen with Atlanta, followed by a Garza deal to LA shortly after. Maybe that’s me being optimistic, but I think it’s still going to happen.

Turning our attention to the game itself, there was talk that tonight’s starter, Paul Maholm, may not leave Pittsburgh because he would be acquired by the Pirates to fill a need in the rotation for them. There were rumors going around that they were interested, but those rumors have all but died as it was announced late in the game that the Pirates had acquired the services of Wandy Rodriguez. Maholm continues to pitch well for the Cubs, which makes him that much more attractive to teams looking for a starter down the stretch at a cheaper price than Dempster or Garza. He’s signed through this season with a team option for 2013 at a rate of $.65 million with a $500K buyout. Based on how he’s pitched, the value on the trade market should still be there for Maholm and I would be surprised if he’s a Cub after the deadline.

Offensively, five runs of offense was more than enough for Maholm. Alfonso Soriano continues to swing the bat well and keep the potential for him to be traded on the table. He’s been more than acceptable offensively to go with the fact that, believe it or not, he’s been average to above average defensively. In case you didn’t know, he’s not committed an error all season. From a defensive metric standpoint, he basically grades out at league average in most of the categories. His value this year has been strong and it’s been clear that he’s not the problem, aside from his contract, this season.

Tomorrow afternoon the Cubs will go for the sweep of the Pirates, a team I believe is over-rated. I’ve taken to Twitter the last few days and proclaimed that I believe they are the third best team in the division at best and that they will not make the playoffs this season.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail