Reed Johnson has heard his name mentioned in rumors so many times, he simply ignores them.
“I’ve had rumors over my 10-year career and never been traded,” the Cubs outfielder said Saturday. “It’s a situation for me for when you’re packing your stuff, that’s when you believe you’re headed somewhere else. If I stay here, great; if not, I realize that’s part of the game, and I have to move on.”
Johnson drove in the game-winning run with a pinch-hit bunt single with two outs in the seventh Saturday to give the Cubs a 3-2 win over the Cardinals.
“That was on his own,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s a good bunter, and I remember once in Boston, he did it against us with the bases loaded and it turned into a monster inning.”
Tuesday’s Trade Deadline can’t come soon enough for the players, who are weary of the rumors. It’s not really distracting, Johnson said.
“Once you’re in between the lines, you don’t think about it too much,” he said. “Maybe before the game when you’re in the clubhouse with the guys, everybody’s kind of chipping on each other about getting traded, and you think about it then, but once the game starts, you forget about that stuff. It’s a good release to get out there this time of year.”
He’s had family and friends keep him up to date.
“I feel like my mom could be my agent because she always has an idea of where I’m going to go but I never end up anywhere,” Johnson said. “I might have to fire her.”
Could Johnson, who was batting .448 as a pinch-hitter this year, help a team?
“He’s a valuable guy to a team vying for a championship or trying to get to the playoffs,” Sveum said.
— Carrie Muskat
There were no changes in the Cubs’ roster on Saturday, just attempts to ask Dale Sveum the same question: Are you eager for the Trade Deadline to pass?
“I think everybody is ready to get it behind us with everything that’s happened and all the rumors,” Sveum said. “Whether they happen or not, I think everybody will be glad it’s all over with. It’s not over with a lot of times because of the waiver wires. I think the main things will be shutdown one way or another [after Tuesday].”
The Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Ryan Dempster is scheduled to start that night against the Pirates.
– Carrie Muskat
Will Ryan Dempster be dealt before his start Tuesday? He was sitting on a cooler in the Cubs dugout on Friday, watching the game. CBSsportsline.com’s Jon Heyman reports talks between the Dodgers and Cubs are at an impasse, and that the Dodgers are looking at other options. The Dodgers have reportely offered pitching prospects but Heyman said the Cubs were asking for Allen Webster. The Dodgers have the leverage in talks as Dempster has rejected a deal to the Braves, and was believed to only be willing to go to the Dodgers. Matt Garza was another option but he may be a difficult trade candidate because the right-hander won’t get a start until the end of the week. He came out of his last start last Saturday because of cramping in his right elbow.
– Carrie Muskat
Ryan Dempster threw on the side Friday, hit with the Cubs pitchers, and then joined his teammates in the outfield during batting practice. It was a normal day for the right-hander, who has had anything but normal days leading up to Tuesday’s Trade Deadline. Dempster (5-5, 2.25 ERA) is on track to make his next start, which would be Tuesday, just a few hours after the Trade Deadline. He’s been one of the top targets this season.
“I think there’s no question it’s going to weigh on you a little bit,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the distractions of the rumors. “Everybody’s human.”
Whether Dempster goes is his call. He has 10 years in the big leagues, five with the same team, which allows him veto power over any deal. That may sound selfish, but it’s the players’ rights.
“Fortunately for Dempster, he’s got the 10-and-5 rights, and for whatever reason, people don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes and all the reasons why you accept and why you don’t,” Sveum said. “It’s an unfortunate thing that [people] jump to conclusions. He’s one of the most class guys you’ll ever be around and [good] teammate and obviously very productive when he goes out there every five days, too. It’s one of those things where you’re good if you, good if you don’t, and it’s a tough situation to be in.”
Sveum isn’t pushing for a trade.
“We’re only going to be a better team with him on the field all year,” Sveum said.
– Carrie Muskat
Teams interested in Matt Garza won’t be able to see him pitch again before Tuesday’s Trade Deadline.Garza will not pitch until late next week, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Friday. The right-hander underwent an MRI on his elbow, which showed evidence of the cramping but was otherwise clean. Garza came out of last Saturday’s start after three innings because of the cramping. He just needs to get back on a schedule. Even though he’s sidelined now, Garza could still be dealt. It’s up to the other team as to whether they want to take that risk. Monday’s starter for the upcoming series against the Pirates has yet to be determined, although it could be Justin Germano. Ryan Dempster will start Tuesday and Travis Wood on Wednesday.
– Carrie Muskat
Ryan Dempster said he’s considering his options, and may not decide until just before next Tuesday’s Trade Deadline.
“I want to look everything over before I make a decision, and I’ve got time to do that,” Dempster said Tuesday. “There’s a week before the Trade Deadline.”
Dempster, 35, who leads the Major Leagues with a 2.11 ERA, is scheduled to start Wednesday for the Cubs against the Pirates, and expects to make that start.
As a player with 10 and 5 rights, Dempster has veto power over any deal. He wouldn’t specify which teams he was considering.
“I’m just trying to look over everything and make the best decision for me and for my family and what I need to do,” he said.
As for reports that he was blindsided by the deal, Dempster said the Cubs front office has kept him up to date on everything. He didn’t expect it to be made public.
“I haven’t made any decisions on anything,” he said. “I’m looking at everything and trying to explore every option and do what’s best for me.”
His time frame?
“About seven days,” Dempster said, which would be the July 31 Deadline.
Dempster was sitting in the clubhouse at PNC Park on Tuesday while talk about him and trade rumors was being discussed on MLB Network. He kept his head down, working on a crossword puzzle. The Braves have reportedly agreed to a deal with the Cubs in which Chicago would get 22-year-old Randall Delgado. The Dodgers also are interested.
Dempster said he isn’t requesting a contract extension for next year as part of the deal, but did admit that anybody would be looking for some security.
“The Chicago Cubs will do what’s best for the Cubs and I’m going to do what’s best for me,” Dempster said.
– Carrie Muskat
Ryan Dempster most likely will be dealt before the July 31 Trade Deadline, just not on Monday to the Braves. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reported that the Braves have reached an agreement to acquire Dempster from the Cubs. But the deal has not been officially completed. Because Dempster has played in the Majors for at least 10 years and has been with the same team for at least five years, he has the right to veto any trade. There’s also been speculation that the holdup could be because the Braves want to secure Dempster for 2013.
Dempster, who leads the National League with a 2.11 ERA, declined to comment Monday on the rumors. He did deny reports that a deal had been completed on his Dempster Family Foundation Twitter (@RyanDempsterFDN), saying, “THERE IS NO TRADE dont know where this info came from!”
Cubs assistant GM Randy Bush said Monday, “There’s nothing to report.” Manager Dale Sveum wasn’t too happy with how the rumor spread.
“I found out when I came in off the field from early [batting practice],” Sveum said. “Somebody said they saw it on the [Cubs] website, so I got on the website and saw it, and called the higher ups to make sure, and they’re like, no, nothing’s happening, I don’t know where that came from. That’s where we are with that.”
The “higher ups” would be Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, and general manager Jed Hoyer, and neither would comment on the report. Sveum didn’t deny that a deal could happen. There’s still time.
“The team, the whole thing was news to me — the team obviously is the one that leaked it out, or it came out of their city,” Sveum said of the Dempster to Braves reports. “Obviously, we can’t sit here and say it can’t happen. Anything can happen at this point. We have eight days until the deadline. All the teams that are involved and want starters and need starters are all in play.”
Was it unfair for Dempster to go through this?
“I think it’s very unfair for ‘Demp’ to have to have to deal with this,” Sveum said. “He’ll have to deal with it today, deal with it tomorrow. I’ve had five phone calls — ‘Hey, did you guys trade Dempster?’ You can only imagine what he has to go through. It’s very unfair for anybody to go through something that’s a complete fabrication.”
While the Cubs denied a deal, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said they were in a “holding pattern.” That would mean something could be done. It was no secret the Cubs were trying to deal Dempster, 35, before the July 31 Trade Deadline but it was his call as to where he’d go. He had given Epstein a list of which team he would prefer.
The right-hander would be a pure rental for the Braves. Players must be with a team for an entire season in order to qualify for draft-pick compensation.
– Carrie Muskat
Ryan Dempster’s scoreless inning streak ended Friday while the countdown continued for how long he will remain with the Cubs. Dempster, who was being aggressively pursued by several teams prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline, served up four runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings in the Cubs’ 4-1 loss to the Cardinals. His ERA rose to 2.11, but it’s still best in the National League. He’s aware of the rumors.
“I’m not naive,” Dempster said. “I realize everything that’s going on. I’m well aware [a trade] can happen at any minute. I’m not going to walk on eggshells or worry about that. I can only focus on what I can focus on, and that’s going out there today and trying to pitch and do my job. Now my focus is to work hard tomorrow and get ready five days from now.”
Perhaps the reason he can be so calm is that Dempster is calling the shots. As a player with 10 years in the big leagues and five with the same team, he can veto any deal.
“It’s awesome being the hammer and not the nail,” Dempster said.
He didn’t take the mound at Busch Stadium thinking it might be his last start for the Cubs.
“Maybe that’s why I’m not so uneasy about it because at the end of the day, it’s my decision,” he said.
Was it his last start for the Cubs? Dempster most likely didn’t follow the rumors on Twitter on Friday, which ranged from him being dealt hours before his start, to talks dragging out for a few days.
“[The media] has a job to do and I understand that,” Dempster said of the rumors. “For me, it’s just business as usual and I have to do what I have to do. Nothing has changed for me. I have to go out and get ready for my next start. I’m sure if they have something of any substance to it, they’ll come up and ask me, but until then, I just worry about what I can do.”
He doesn’t hesitate when his phone rings.
“I’m hoping its Publisher’s Clearing House — Ed McMahon maybe,” he said.
Here’s the real shocker — despite all the rumors, Dempster could end up staying with the Cubs.
“If I’m going to go, I want to go win,” Dempster said. “For right now, I’m a member of this team and I want to do the best I can to be a good teammate and go out there and do my job when I’m asked to do my job.”
– Carrie Muskat
After the Cubs beat the Marlins on Thursday to improve to 14-5 since June 25, Jeff Baker apparently joked that the players expect to add pieces and be buyers, not sellers, at the Trade Deadline. On Thursday, the Cubs did just that, acquiring right-handed pitcher Justin Germano from the Red Sox for cash considerations. Right-handed pitcher Jairo Asencio was designated for assignment to make room on the roster. Germano, 29, was expected to be available Friday in St. Louis when the Cubs open a three-game series. However, Casey Coleman, who was to start Thursday for Triple-A Iowa, was scratched and will be in St. Louis in case Germano can’t make it.
Germano’s contract was selected by the Red Sox on July 4 and he threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings in relief on July 7 against the Yankees before being designated for assignment on July 13. The Cubs are Germano’s fifth Major League team. He has pitched for the Padres (2004, 2007-08), Reds (2006), Indians (2010-11) and Red Sox (2012). At Triple-A Pawtucket, Germano was 9-4 with a 2.40 ERA in 17 appearances, including 16 starts.
Asencio, who was claimed off waivers from the Indians on June 1, had a 3.07 ERA in 12 big league appearances with the Cubs.
– Carrie Muskat
Ryan Dempster is still on the Cubs roster and prepping for Friday’s start in St. Louis. But he’s also a hot topic regarding trade rumors as the deadline approaches. Dempster has talked to the Cubs brass about potential moves but says no deal is imminent. As a player with 10 years of Major League service and the last five with the same team, Dempster can veto any trade.
“It’s just kind of like, ‘Hey, there’s teams interested,’ and that’s great. Nothing imminent, not that I know of,” Dempster told reporters at Wrigley Field, including MLB.com’s Cash Kruth. “I’m sure if they have something, they’ll come to me. But right now I’m just trying to get ready for tomorrow’s game.”
Dempster’s stock is at an all-time high, as the right-hander — who is 5-3 with a 1.86 ERA on the season — has tossed 33 consecutive scoreless innings. Dempster said he’s conscious of the streak, and said he “[wants] to shatter” Orel Hershiser’s all-time mark of 59 consecutive scoreless innings, set in 1988.
“I know I haven’t given up a run in five starts. I’m not naive,” Dempster said. “Like I said when I had a no-hitter going before, I know when I have a no-hitter going. I know that I have it, so I’m just going to try to keep it going, for sure. When you don’t give up any runs, you win games, so I like that.”
Between the scoreless-inning streak and preparing for his next start, Dempster said he doesn’t spend much time keeping up with the rumor mill. Although he said it’s flattering so many teams are reportedly interested in him, he’s still focused on his next start, which will take place in a Cubs uniform. On Thursday, Dempster played catch with his son Brady at Wrigley.
“I just think that there’s a lot of things between pitching and on-the-field stuff and then stuff about trades, and it’s a lot of information to try to process, so for me, I try to limit what I read and my focus is just going out there and pitching,” Dempster said. “Probably my biggest focus right now is just going out there and be ready every fifth day. I still have a job to do, and I take a lot of pride in that, so if I’m not putting my attention, my sole focus into that, I’m doing the team a little bit of a disservice.”
– Carrie Muskat