Deadline month is upon us, as the season has moved into the summer months, and the July 31 trade deadline is fast approaching.
While some teams debate whether to become buyers or sellers at the deadline, the Chicago Cubs more or less entered the season as sellers. As the new front office team of Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein continue to reshape the team, a number of players are likely on their way out in the weeks ahead.
With that, there will likely be a steady flow of Cubs related trade rumors, and my aim is to make this a one-stop shop for all things Cubs-rumor related.
This will be updated whenever fresh news breaks, so check back frequently to get the latest in Cubs trade rumors.
Braves Received: LHP Paul Maholm, OF Reed Johnson
Cubs Received: RHP Arodys Vizcaino, RHP Jaye Chapman
After all the talk surrounding Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza, it wound up being Paul Maholm who was the first Cubs pitcher dealt, as he joins the Braves along with outfielder Reed Johnson for a pair of pitching prospects, according to a report from CBSSports.
Maholm, signed to a one-year, $4.75 million deal in the offseason with a $6.5 million team option for 2013, has been pitching as well as anyone in baseball of late. In his last seven games, he has gone 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA as he has had a fantastic second half.
Johnson has been his usual solid self in the fourth outfielder role, hitting .307 BA, 3 HR, 16 RBI in 166 at bats, and he gives the Braves a nice veteran bat off the bench for their stretch run.
Coming the other way, the Cubs received an interesting piece in right-hander Arodys Vizcaino. The former Yankees farmhand made his big league debut last season at the age of 20, and has tremendous upside, but he is currently on his way back from Tommy John surgery and has not pitched all season.
Also coming to the Cubs is right-handed reliever Jaye Chapman, who has pitched well in Triple-A this season with a 3.52 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 53.2 innings. The 25-year-old has also saved seven games, and could have a shot at a September audition.
Trade Grade: B+
I like the idea of selling high on Maholm, and moving Johnson is no big deal as he is the ideal rental player for a team looking for a bat off the bench. Epstein has stuck by his insistence on getting minor league pitching in return for anyone he moves, and if Vizcaino can return to his pre-surgery form this trade could be a major steal.
Rangers Received: C Geovany Soto
Cubs Received: RHP Jacob Brigham
The Cubs finally made a move, but it was not the one that many expected, as they shipped catcher Geovany Soto to the Rangers for minor league pitcher Jacob Brigham, according to a report from CBSSports.
Soto burst onto the scene in 2008, hitting .285 BA, 23 HR, 86 RBI as he started the All-Star Game and captured NL Rookie of the Year honors.
Those numbers fell to .218 BA, 11 HR, 47 RBI the following season, but he looked to be back on track with a solid 2010 campaign in which he hit .280 BA, 17 HR, 53 RBI.
That would be the last the Cubs saw of the good Soto though, as he has hit .218 since the start of the 2011 season, including a .195 BA, 6 HR, 14 RBI line in 174 at bats this season.
Brigham, 24, is in his second go-around at Double-A this season and has gone 5-5, 4.28 ERA, 116 Ks, 124 IP. He's not a top prospect by any means, but he should be able to contribute at the big league level, and likely sooner rather than later.
Trade Grade: B+
Soto earned $4.3 million this season, and is headed for his final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. In all reality, he was a non-tender candidate if the Cubs did not trade him, so the fact that they got anything for him is a bonus, let alone a solid young arm.
Posted: July 27, 7:15 PM
According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Cubs are still trying hard to move left fielder Alfonso Soriano, but the $36 million remaining on his contract is an obvious sticking point.
However, he has been fantastic since the All-Star break with a .333 BA, 4 HR, 10 RBI line in 42 at bats and with so few bats available on the trade market he should have some appeal.
The team is willing to take on all but $2 million of his remaining contract, and could be willing to take it all on if it means acquiring a better prospect in the process.
Posted: July 27, 7:15 PM
After leaving his last start after just three innings, the Cubs will shut down trade candidate Matt Garza until after the trade deadline, according to Carrie Muscat via CBSSports.
An MRI revealed no damage to his arm, which could be enough for him to remain a viable trade target for teams, but without getting to see him pitch again it's likely a long shot that he is moved at this point.
Posted: July 26, 10:00 PM
Things just keep getting worse in the Cubs on-going efforts to move right-hander Ryan Dempster.
With that, the Cubs offered up Dempster for pitching prospect Allen Webster, straight up, but as Jon Heyman of CBSSports put it, "the Dodgers don't appear to love Dempster quite as much as he loves them."
Webster entered the season as the No. 95 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, and the 22-year-old has gone 4-8 with a 4.06 ERA at Double-A this season.
Heyman went on to say that the Dodgers appear to be more interested in Matt Garza at this point, and the Cubs are now back at square one as far as finding a suitor for Dempster.
Posted: July 24, 8:15 PM
With his wife expecting, Garza is likely to be unavailable until Monday according to Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago.
This only complicates things more in Garza trade talks, as the right-hander left his last start after just three innings with arm soreness and now will next pitch with less than a day before the July 31 trade deadline.
Scouts will no doubt want to get a look at him to make sure he is fine before any team pulls the trigger on a deal for him, and this significantly complicates things.
Posted: July 24, 8:00 PM
News quickly trickled in that right-hander Randall Delgado was the piece coming the other way from Atlanta, with Keith Law of ESPN tweeting such.
However, things quickly fell apart starting with a tweet from Dempster himself saying that there was no trade. It was later revealed that Dempster had invoke his 10-and-5 veto rights when he found out about the trade via the media as opposed to from the Cubs, saying he felt blindsided.
Now, Dempster holds the cards, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports wrote that there is a 50-50 chance of the Dempster-to-Atlanta deal happening now.
Posted: July 22, 11:45 AM
The Dodgers unwillingness to part with top prospects for a rental player was the sticking point, and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted that a Dempster-to-Dodgers deal now seems "very unlikely."
However, that does not mean the end of trade talks between the two sides, as the Cubs have a controllable starter in Matt Garza who the Dodgers could be willing to pay top price for.
Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reported that Dodgers have already turned their attention to Garza, and seeing as the two sides have already been in talks and the Cubs have an idea of what prospects they like a deal could be made sooner rather than later.
Posted: July 22, 11:40 AM
While Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza have gotten the headlines, they are apparently not the only Cubs starters drawing interest, as at least two teams have been linked to Paul Maholm.
According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, the Pirates and Royals have both expressed interest in Maholm, who is due just over $2 million for the rest of the season and has a $6.5 million team option for next year.
The left-hander has been as hot as any pitcher in baseball of late, going 4-0 with a minuscule 0.89 ERA over his last five appearances (four starts), so more teams could get involved as some of the bigger trade chips begin to fall.
Posted: July 22, 11:30 AM
Aside from the oft-rumored guys like Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza, a pair of Cubs role players are also drawing interest in outfielder Reed Johnson and infielder Jeff Baker.
That according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who views them both as solid right-handed bats off the bench for a contender.
Johnson, 35, has proven to be a terrific fourth outfielder over the past few seasons. He hit .309 BA, 5 HR, 28 RBI with an .816 OPS last season and is putting up nearly identical numbers this year with a .308 BA, 3 HR, 15 RBI line and .816 OPS.
Baker, who was deemed untouchable for some reason last season, is no doubt available this season and his defensive versatility is a big plus as he can play first, second, third and corner outfield.
He's seen more playing time of late, and since July 1 he has hit .462 BA, 3 HR, 9 RBI in just 26 at bats, so his value is as high as it will even be.
Posted: July 17, 6:30 PM
The Ryan Dempster trade talks could soon come to an end, as the Cubs are "working hard" to move the right-hander by the end of the week, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.
Dempster's next scheduled start is Friday against the Cardinals, and it will be interesting to see if he is still around by then if or he is pitching elsewhere.
Posted: July 16, 8:30 PM
With Jacoby Ellsbury back and Carl Crawford on his way, the team looks to be in a good position to make a second half run. However, their starting pitching remains an area of concern.
Their starting pitchers have a 4.77 ERA on the season, as no starter has an ERA under 4.00 and even ace Jon Lester has struggled with a 5-6 record and 4.49 ERA.
That has understandably left the team in the market for starting pitching, and according to Buster Olney, the team has aggressively pursued Dempster.
That makes for an interesting dynamic, as it would be the first trade between the Red Sox and Cubs since Theo Epstein joined the Cubs (not counting the deal to acquire him), and he has as good a knowledge of the Red Sox farm system as anyone.
Posted: July 11, 1:00 PM
It is no secret that the Dodgers are looking to buy at the deadline, and are in the market for a starting pitcher to round out their rotation, so it only makes sense that they have been tied to Cubs starters Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports called the Dodgers favorites to land Dempster, but said the team has also had discussions about Garza.
The new Dodgers ownership group is willing to spend and expand the team's payroll, so they would not mind taking on what is left of Dempster's $14 million salary this season.
However, the Cubs have indicated that they are willing to pick up some of Dempster's salary if it means landing a better prospect as a result, so the two sides will need to figure out the monetary side of things if a Dempster deal is to be made.
The Dodgers have some interesting trade pieces, but lack a high-end talent outside of pitcher Zach Lee who they won't be quick to deal.
The team does have a good deal of big league ready positional talent in guys like IF/OF Nick Castellanos, 1B/OF Scott Van Slyke and C Tim Federowicz. Pitcher Allen Webster is also a solid pitching talent that would appeal to a Cubs team short on pitching prospects.
Posted: July 10, 4:50 PM
Acquired from the Athletics this offseason along with closer Andrew Bailey, Sweeney opened the season on a tear, going 25-for-67 over the first month of the year.
However, he has since been limited by injuries and lost playing time to Daniel Nava and Cody Ross. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford on the mend and Scott Podsednik also playing well and vying for at bats, the Red Sox will likely look to trade at least one outfielder.
According to Boston Herald writer Michael Silverman, one baseball insider suggested that the Red Sox are currently discussing a trade involving Sweeney and the Cubs could be the destination.
He would likely be just a piece of a bigger deal for one of the Cubs highly sought after pitchers Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, but it is interesting to hear that something may be in the works.
Posted: July 8, 2:40 PM
Cubs starter and expected trade candidate Ryan Dempster returned from a DL stint Sunday, taking the ball against the Mets at Citi Field.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted early Sunday on how a "big scouting presence" was expected for the start, and Dempster did not disappoint.
Dempster went five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out four and walking none. In the process, he lowered his ERA to a 1.99 on the season and improved his record to 4-3 through 13 starts.
The Cubs are reportedly willing to pay part of what is left of Dempster's $14 million salary this season if it means landing a better prospect in the process.
On thing is for sure, Dempster won't finish the season in Chicago as he looks ready to waive his 10-and-five rights and even put his Wrigleyville home on the market.
Posted: July 8 at 2:35 PM
Dempster is not the only Cubs starter drawing serious interest, as right-hander Matt Garza has also popped up on a number of teams' radars.
While he is not having as good a season as Dempster with a 4-7 record and 4.32 ERA, it will likely cost more to get him as he is under team control through next season.
According to Jayson Stark, one AL executive said the Cubs are basing their asking price off of last season's Ubaldo Jimenez trade. In that deal, the Indians gave up four prospects, including top pitching prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White. The Cubs will be looking for two similarly high-upside prospects in the deal.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported in early June that the Yankees preferred Garza over any other pitcher on the market.
Posted: July 8, 2:30 PM
On the bubble to even break camp with the big-league team at the start of last season, Barney not only made the roster but quickly won the everyday second base job.
As a 25-year-old rookie he hit .276/.313/.353, 2 HR, 43 RBI, 66 R and posted a 1.5 WAR, as he finished seventh in NL Rookie of the Year voting.
This season he has hit .263/.308/.367, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 36 R and posted a 3.6 WAR, the seventh-best mark in the NL among position players, thanks to a 2.8 defensive WAR at second base, the best mark in the league.
Back in June, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal touched on the possibility of Barney being dealt this season, saying that, "rival clubs frequently as about Barney," but that none have "offered value that the Cubs consider sufficient for a regular second baseman."
On Friday, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted that the Tigers had asked about Barney but that talks had not progressed beyond that.