The Chicago Cubs appear to be close to agreeing on a trade that will send starting pitcher Ryan Dempster to a contending team.
There were multiple signs on Thursday that would suggest that the Cubs are confident that they will be able to trade Dempster on Friday if not this weekend. The first sign was that the Cubs decided to scratch Casey Coleman from his start with the Iowa Cubs, and had Coleman catch a flight in order to meet the team in St Louis.
When the speculation started that Coleman was summoned from Iowa in the event that Dempster would be traded, the Cubs try to quiet the storm by saying that Coleman was an insurance policy in case the team’s newest acquisition did not make it to St Louis on Friday. The Cubs did make a trade on Thursday as the team acquired veteran swingman Justin Germano from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for cash consideration. In order to make room for Germano, the Cubs designated Jairo Asencio for assignment.
The Cubs have been trying to push out the message that Coleman will be with team on Friday in case Germano can not make it to St Louis. But, that simply does not add it up. The Cubs announced the Germano trade during the 5 o’clock hour on Thursday. Meaning that Germano had about 26 hours to make it to St Louis in time for the Cubs games against the Cardinals. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports surfaced late Thursday night that Dempster will not be making his start for the Cubs on Friday against the Cardinals.
This is my take on the flux of moves by the Cubs on Thursday. The Cubs have been exchanging names in potential Dempster trade with multiple teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, St Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals. We have known for most of this week that the Dodgers have an offer on the table for Dempster, and top Dodgers’ prospect Zach Lee is not believed to be a part of that offer. The Tigers are also believed to have an offer on the table for Dempster.
The Cubs have been trying most of this week to try and obtain Lee in a package for Dempster. Though, it does not seem likely that the Dodgers will trade Lee for a rental player such as Dempster. Thus, meaning that the Cubs would have to include either a prospect (Josh Vitters?) or Bryan LaHair along with Dempster in order to acquire Lee in a package from the Dodgers. The Cubs and Dodgers have been exchanging names throughout the week, and it would seem that Friday is a soft deadline for the two teams. If things break down with the Dodgers, then the Cubs likely have alternate packages lined up with either the Tigers, Braves, Cardinals, or Nationals.
Now, lets go back to Germano and Coleman. Going under the assumption that Dempster will indeed not make his start on Friday, the Cubs may look to Germano to take the place of Dempster on the mound against the Cardinals. Coleman is with the team in the highly unlikely even that Germano somehow can not make it to St Louis by Friday. If the Cubs were concerned that Germano was not going to make it to Boston, the team would have waited to designate Jairo Asencio for assignment. But with both Germano and Coleman with the team and Dempster not looking like he will start on Friday, it seems reasonable to presume that the Cubs are in fact closing in on a trade that will send Dempster to a contending team.