If Matt Garza had not suffered an arm injury, and Ryan Dempster had not suffered an apparent change of heart about going to Atlanta, the Chicago Cubs likely would have brought in a bigger and better haul at the MLB July 31 trade deadline. As a Cubs fan, though, I am completely on board with the way things are working out so far, understanding that team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer can only control so much. They were not able to get a prize prospect from the Atlanta Braves after Dempster reportedly decided he did not want to play there. Garza's injury likely scared teams off. But the plan has not changed, and things are progressing smoothly.
By dealing Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and, eventually, Dempster, the Cubs received what the front office might consider a "wave" of prospects to plug into the team's system. So far Chicago has netted: third baseman Christian Villanueva and pitchers Kyle Hendricks, Arodys Vizcaino, Jaye Chapman and Jacob Brigham. Immediate organization needs were addressed, as the team clearly has a lack of pitching depth, and third base is the only infield position without a young, quality starter at the Major League level.
Furthermore, the Cubs may not be done trading in 2012. Outfielder Alfonso Soriano could clear waivers and still be moved in August, assuming Chicago pays most of his salary for the next two years. While I don't mind having Soriano on the team as long as he is not blocking a younger player from getting time, his aging body is certainly out of place on the younger roster the team is obviously trying to field right now.
Garza may also still be dealt in the offseason, if he is able to finish out the season healthy. I am happy the team did not trade him in an act of desperation to "make up" for the lower return in the Dempster debacle.
Overall, this is what we expected. A group of players who have never won together will not fetch much on the market when sold separately. Dempster's performance through July was somewhat of a surprise, and no one would have expected to receive a top prospect for him before the season started. Prospects have been acquired, and veterans have been sent packing. Meanwhile, the team on the field is younger and has played winning baseball for the past month.
I am excited about the future and am hopeful that the the Cubs will be competitive even sooner than we expected.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ryan Dempster
- Chicago Cubs
- Matt Garza
- Atlanta Braves
- Alfonso Soriano
- Theo Epstein