"It looks like they set up the rotation in order to get every team interested in here for the final showings of these guys before they are dealt," a veteran American League Central scout said on the condition of anonymity. "Everyone is on Dempster and Garza, but (Paul Maholm is pretty good, and with his sinker and change-up could be undervalued right now."
Talking to industry sources, the Tigers and Dodgers appear to have been the most aggressive teams to pursue the Cubs' top two starters. The Dodgers have been on Dempster for seven weeks and may have been exchanging names for a deal in mid-June when the 36-year-old right-handed pitcher sustained a right lat strain. L.A. has good, young pitching coming fast in the lower minor leagues, which is is the No. 1 need in the Cubs organization.
Meanwhile the Tigers are looking at Garza and Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney in what could end up being a 5-to-7 player swap. Detroit has solid, young starters and position players who are -- or are close to being -- solid major league contributors. Money appears to be little issue for Tigers owner Mike Illitch, who wants to win now in the very competitive American League Central.
Teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates are considering a run at Maholm, who has a very manageable contract to go along with his previous eight years in the Pirate organization.
The July 31 deadline for non-waiver trades is not a pressing issue for the Cubs. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer must decide what prospects will be the right ones before saying yes to what could end up shaping the team's building block player core for the next decade.