Chicago Cubs Trade Rumors: The Hottest Trade Chatter Heading into the Deadline

Tommy Stokke@StokkeTommyCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2012

Chicago Cubs Trade Rumors: The Hottest Trade Chatter Heading into the Deadline

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    July 31 marks the World Series of the year for the Chicago Cubs and its front office.

    The trade deadline will come and go with the opportunity to restock a farm system that has underachieved for so long.

    Now's the time for Theo Epstein to earn his paycheck.

    Who stays and who goes?

    Here's the latest news and rumors for the Chicago Cubs as we approach Tuesday's 4 p.m. trade deadline.

Ryan Dempster Traded to Texas Rangers

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    Update 3:05 CST: Ryan Dempster has been traded to the Texas Rangers, according to Buster Olney. The Cubs get minor league pitcher Kyle Hendricks and minor league third baseman Christian Villanueva, according to Evan Grant.

    Update 1:05 CST: Bob Nightengale tweets that the Yankees are heavily emerged in discussions for Dempster; Dodgers talks on hold.

    It will be interesting to see if the Dodgers bite and pony up Allen Webster in a deal knowing they aren't the only ones in on Dempster.

    Update: Jim Bowden tweets that Dempster-to-LA is close.

    After vetoing a trade to the Atlanta Braves, it appeared that Ryan Dempster severely restricted his market value, as he was adamant about playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    But according to CSNChicago's David Kaplan, the Dodgers, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers are all in on Dempster. He would likely approve a trade to any of those three destinations.

    This alone will help increase the offer for Dempster, especially with the Rangers getting involved. They have the prospects to offer, as well as the desire to improve after finishing as the runner-up in the past two World Series.

    According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are also in on Alfonso Soriano. But with the rumblings about Shane Victorino, Soriano's inclusion in the offer appears to be dead.

    Without Soriano, a deal would be unlikely for the Dodgers, as they aren't willing to fork over the prospects that the Cubs are looking for. But with Texas and New York now involved, they may have to up the ante to get Dempster's services.

    Don't expect Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to hand Dempster to the Dodgers. They know they have to keep a reputation that they won't be walked over in a deal to accommodate a player's wants. But at the same time, keeping Dempster could create a major rift between him and the fans, as well as in the clubhouse.

Matt Garza Still Available; Justin Upton Headed to Chicago?

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    Update: ESPN's Buster Olney is tweeting that the Arizona Diamondbacks are looking to make a splash, and they are discussing a Justin Upton-for-Matt Garza deal. The Cubs are on Upton's no-trade list.

    A triceps injury appeared to surely derail any chance of Matt Garza being moved before the offseason, but it now seems like there's a very good chance Garza is on his way out.

    ESPN's Jayson Stark tweeted that there's a "very high chance" Garza is traded, likely to one of three suitors: the Texas Rangers, Cincinnatti Reds or Toronto Blue Jays.

    The Cubs are pushing for the Rangers to include stud third base prospect Mike Olt, but don't expect that to happen.

    Bruce Levine also writes that the Cubs are targeting three young starting pitchers from the Blue Jays, who've been in contact about Garza since last year's winter meetings.

    Rosenthal writes that the Reds are looking for Garza to bolster it's pitching staff for a postseason run.

    The Cubs hold the upper hand in all negotiations for Garza because he's under team control. There isn't a huge need to quickly move Garza, and the Cubs brass will be more than comfortable keeping him into the offseason or even as the Opening Day starter in 2013.

Alfonso Soriano to Dodgers and Giants Unlikely; Tigers in Play?

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    Soriano appeared to be a piece included with Ryan Dempster in a trade to the Dodgers, but since the Dodgers have acquired Shane Victorino from Philadelphia, that scenario seems unlikely.

    The San Francisco Giants are desperately looking for an outfielder, but according to Jim Bowden, Soriano will not approve a trade to the Giants.

    Detroit is looking for someone to replace Victor Martinez, who appears unlikely to return from injury this season. Soriano could be an option.

Geovany Soto Traded to Texas

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    Geovany Soto was traded to the Rangers for minor league pitcher Jake Brigham, who's been pitching in Double-A for Texas.

    The trade opens up the starting job to Welington Castillo most likely, although Steve Clevenger will likely see time there for the rest of the season.

    For Texas, it provides an upgrade over Yorvit Torrealba.

    Brigham brings a big arm who misses bats, although it's likely he needs to develop a consistent third pitch to be a quality starter.

Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson Traded to Atlanta

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    They didn't get Randall Delgado, but the consolation prize was even better 

    The Cubs swapped lefty Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson for the Braves top prospect (according to Keith Law) in pitcher Arodys Vizcaino.

    The trade means even more because the Cubs didn't have to part with one of its greatest trade assets in Ryan Dempster.

    Vizcaino is coming off Tommy John surgery, but is expected to be ready in time for spring training.