ST. LOUIS -- With 10 days remaining before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer now is saying that he sees a scenario where the team can continue rebuilding with both Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza in the fold.
The expectation remains that at least one of the Cubs starting pitchers is dealt, and there remains a solid chance that both are moved. The Dodgers reportedly have been interested in both Cubs pitchers.
Saying he wants to keep both seems to be more of a trade negotiating tactic than anything, but because the Cubs have yet to make a deal, Hoyer continues to leave all options open.
In Dempster’s case, the right-hander can be traded and then signed back to the Cubs this winter, with Hoyer saying the right-hander could continue to have a future in Chicago.
“I would never close the door on that at all,” Hoyer said of Dempster. “Obviously he’s had a great year for us. If you look at his track record as a starter for us, he had the hiccup last year but he still threw 200 innings and prior to that he had three consecutive good years including a great year in ’08. He’s a leader in the clubhouse and a terrific guy to have around.
“It’s good to see a guy bounce back after having that kind of year. People were questioning him and I think he has proven a lot of people wrong. We would never close the door on that no matter what happens here in July. He’s always welcome in a Cubs uniform for sure.”
With Garza, as long as he remains with the team there is still a chance he could be signed to a long-term deal. There are no indications, though, that Garza’s agent has had recent contract talks with the Cubs lately.
“We said all along, he’s a really good pitcher,” Hoyer said. “We need more guys like him in the organization not fewer. I think we have been very consistent with that all along. He is a guy that can certainly help the team, not only this year and next year but for a long time.”
As for specifics on trade possibilities, Hoyer was expectedly mum on the subject saying that talking about it isn’t an appropriate way to do business. He does acknowledge, though, that the rumor process hasn’t been easy for players.
“You don’t want to be a seller because when you’re a seller, all the guys on your team sit there and look over their shoulder,” Hoyer said. “That’s not a good process for anyone and I think everyone sort of exhales after the deadline for that reason because no one really feels all that safe and that’s not a good thing.
“Heck, every player on that field has probably been part of a rumor at some point this year, even Starlin [Castro] for a while. That rumor was out there which was unfounded, but nonetheless everyone was in [a rumor].”
What has been impressive for Hoyer to see has been the 7-3 mark the Cubs have compiled over the last 10 games and their 14-6 record over their last 20.
“We have been playing our best baseball while all this stuff has happened which has been a great thing,” Hoyer said. “I think [manager] Dale [Sveum] and the coaching staff have handled that well. Their focus has been on winning even while all the rumors have swirled.”
When the team heads to Pittsburgh on Sunday night, Hoyer will head back to Chicago as the deadline gets even closer and talks really start to heat up.
“It’s July 21 and we just had our first couple of real trades in the last 24 hours with the big trade between Houston and Toronto and the trade with Brett Myers [to the White Sox],” Hoyer said. “We were saying that sometimes it takes a trade or two to break the ice and those were the first real trades in this deadline period. Maybe that will break things loose, who knows? But usually things don’t happen early. People talk about doing deals early but for the most part, things seem to find their way to creep into late July.”