Results tagged ‘ Theo Epstein ’
Ryan Dempster did the same pre-game prep work he normally does before a start except the right-hander isn’t quite sure he’ll be taking the mound Tuesday night for the Cubs. Dale Sveum said the team will have a contingency plan. Would Sveum be surprised if Dempster is still a Cub after the Traded Deadline?
“Yeah, I’d be surprised, I guess,” Sveum said. “There’s too many teams and he’s too good a pitcher for people to not want him these last two months.”
Dempster, 35, rumored to be dealt by Tuesday’s 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline, said Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have kept him up to date when necessary. The Braves thought they had a deal last week but the Dodgers appear to have the most interest.
“If they have anything that comes to fruition, [I asked them to] just let me know and we’ll make a decision from there,” Dempster said. “Nothing’s been said in a little while.”
Dempster (5-5, 2.25 ERA) has control over where he would go because he has 10-and-5 rights (10 years in the big leagues, five with the same team). Even though he’ll make the final call, all the rumors have become a little tiring.
“I’m human, so it’s an emotional roller coaster sometimes,” he said, “but at the same time, I can control what I do, and I’m going to try to do the best job of that. I have a job to do [Tuesday] and that’s to go out there and pitch, and I”m trying to prepare for that.”
Asked if he had a gut feeling about what might happen, Dempster said, “I have all kind of gut feelings right now.”
In 1996, when Dempster was in the Rangers’ Minor League system, he was traded to the Marlins, and in 2002, he was dealt to the Reds. Getting traded isn’t a first, but it’s still been strange to hear his name mentioned so often on the clubhouse television.
“There’s tons of rumors and tons of speculation all the time,” Dempster said. “This is something I’ve tried to keep close to me so it can get handled the best it can. Sometimes there are rumors that are true, and sometimes there are rumors that aren’t. I can’t control that, I can just control what I can do and that’s go out there and prepare to do my job the best I can.”
What if the Cubs don’t make a deal?
“It’s a great place to play,” Dempster said of Chicago. “I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve played here, and I’m super proud to be a Chicago Cub and I understand that’s always a possibility and if that’s the case, I’m going to give everything I have starting [Tuesday] night. Whatever ends up happening in 24 hours or 23 hours from now, we’ll find out then. It could be sooner, it could be wearing my uniform and going out and pitching [Tuesday].”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs’ best trade chips may be pitchers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza but one of the team’s goals heading into the Trade Deadline is to continue to improve the organization’s pitching. Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, said calls have picked up as the July 31 deadline approaches.
“You can express a preference for pitching,” Epstein said, “but if we’re dealing with a club that has better position player prospects or we feel position players in a certain system are a safer bet or offer a higher upside, I don’t think it’s fair to pigeon hole yourself to one situation.
“As a whole, not specifically regarding these potential deals that are upcoming, we need to add a lot of pitching to the system,” Epstein said. “It’s not enough to have a handful. We need to have waves and waves coming into the system. We don’t have that. We hardly have one wave. We need to build a lot of pitching depth.”
Epstein said they will not make trades “for the sake of making moves,” adding “they have to put us in a better position.”
Dempster, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, is reportedly drawing interest from several teams, including the Dodgers. He has 10 years in the Major Leagues and five with one team, so he can veto any deal. Epstein would not reveal which teams Dempster favored. Garza, on the other hand, would be under a team’s control through 2013. Right now, the Cubs are looking to the future.
“It’s an opportunity,” Epstein said of the Trading Deadline. “We want to make the most of it. We wish we were looking to add and hopefully in the years going forward we’ll play better in the first three, four months of the season and be in a position to add going into the playoffs.”
– Carrie Muskat
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the Red Sox are aggressively pursuing Ryan Dempster. As a player with 10 years in the Majors, and five with one team, Dempster has the power to veto a trade. He’s drawing a lot of interest from teams looking to fortify their rotation, including the Dodgers and Yankees. The Cubs are looking for top prospects in return. We’ll have to wait and see if Theo Epstein can make a deal with his former assistant GM, Ben Cherington.
But WEEI.com in Boston reported Tuesday that Major League sources say Dempster isn’t on the Red Sox’s wish list. Dempster also is a pure rental, which could influence what teams are willing to give up in exchange for th right-hander. Players must be with a team for an entire season in order to qualify for draft-pick compensation, so if Dempster is traded, the team that acquires him won’t get Draft picks if he leaves after this season. This is the last year of Dempster’s contract, and he will be a free agent.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports the Cubs are exchanging names with teams interested in Dempster, and lists the Dodgers, Tigers, Braves and Red Sox as teams in the hunt. Rosenthal also reports the Red Sox are interested in Matt Garza, although the price for him will be high. Garza is under club control through next season. He has a career 23-15 record, 3.34 ERA vs. AL East teams.
What do you think? Should the Cubs deal Dempster?
– Carrie Muskat
Dale Sveum called Bryan LaHair Monday morning to give him a heads up. LaHair was going to start in right field for the first time this season, which means first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s arrival may be soon. Rizzo was batting .364 and leading the Pacific Coast League with 23 home runs at Triple-A Iowa, hitting a two-run shot in the seventh inning on Sunday. The Cubs have said they don’t want to rush Rizzo and they are sticking to a plan but Sveum keeps checking his email to get daily updates on the young first baseman.
“Obviously, LaHair playing right field is something that might eventually happen,” Sveum said. “There’s a day when Rizzo is going to be here so this is getting him acclimated to the outfield, too.”
When? Neither Sveum nor Theo Epstein will say. Last year, Rizzo was batting .365 with 16 home runs at Triple-A Tucson when he was promoted to the Padres, and he struggled, batting .143. He’s made some adjustments this year, which include lowering his hands, and has wowed anyone who sees him. Epstein wants to make sure the timing is right.
“You have to look at what happened last year,” Epstein said Monday. “He had great numbers and was rushed a little bit and came up and struggled so its important to put players in position to succeed, and always put your Major League club in position to succeed. You see with the lineup tonight we might be taking a look at players in different positions to allow the team to be in a position to succeed when we do potentially make a move. Those things you don’t want to rush into, there’s more to development than numbers.”
– Carrie Muskat
Infielder Adrian Cardenas was part of a contingent who helped unveil the Cubs Classroom at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago on Saturday, and he won’t forget the energy of one of the patients he met.
“She was chanting the Cubs song, which was awesome,” Cardenas said. “She was going, ‘Go, Cubs, Go,’ and she was excited when she got a [Cubs] hat.”
Shortstop Starlin Castro, catcher Steve Clevenger, baseball operations president Theo Epstein, and Cubs Charities board chair Laura Ricketts were in the group who took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony. The new 350-square-foot classroom, donated by Cubs Charities, will serve as the focal point for all of the hospital’s education-based programming, providing a wide variety of learning and enrichment activities to keep children engaged while in the hospital.
Cardenas admitted he didn’t know why they were making the hospital visit.
“I went there not knowing what they were celebrating, but, obviously, knowing I was going to cheer some of the patients up and they in return cheered me up,” he said. “It was nice to hear it was for the school opening. It was just great and a great experience.”
The classroom will provide space for volunteer tutors and teachers to help children with their schoolwork and offer grade-appropriate enrichment activities, such as science experiments, computer games, art and multimedia projects, reading, and resources to teach kids about their own health and medical care. Interactive technology-based learning will be a primary focus. Patients will have access to a bank of computers, video resources, educational software and a vast library of multilingual books for all age levels.
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein took time to say hello to some of his former Red Sox players and staff, but the focus is on his current team and despite the 21-42 record, he likes what he sees developing in the clubhouse and on the field.
“It’s all about wins and losses — that’s what matters in the game,” Epstein said Friday. “If you dig a little deeper, you see a manager and coaching staff who have set high expectations for the players and players who are working hard to live up to those expectations. I do think we’re very prepared day in and day out and we play the game hard day in and day out. There’s a little bit of a talent deficit right now, but hopefully, we’ll advance as we move forward. I like what’s being established in the clubhouse.”
Epstein tried to shift the attention to the two teams, but admitted there was “probably some curiousity about what we’re up to here as we try to put this thing together.” Television and still cameras were focused on him during batting practice as he shook hands with some of the Red Sox players. He spent 10 seasons in Boston, the last nine as general manager, and put together two World Series championship teams. Cubs fans have the same high expectations.
“We’re not where we want to be and there are some games we’d like back — we could’ve won a few more games,” Epstein said of the Cubs, who have lost 22 of their last 28 games. “These guys are playing hard and preparing hard and they’re not backing down. I think we’ll find a way to get a few more wins going forward the rest of the season.”
– Carrie Muskat
Ryan Dempster, the subject of trade talks, had a long chat with Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, in the stands at Wrigley Field prior to Wednesday’s game. The topic? Dempster told MLB.com they were talking about an upcoming fundraiser Epstein is involved in. But the two could have discussed Dempster’s future as the Trade Deadline approaches. The right-hander ranks third in the National League with a 2.31 ERA but is just 2-3 in his 11 starts. He has said he’s willing to waive his no-trade rights if the Cubs want to trade him to better the ballclub. Dale Sveum said he knows talks will intensify as the July 31 deadline approaches.
“It’s going to come up — that’s the way it is,” Sveum said. “The players know that. You talk to them individually and some guys maybe haven’t had their name out there before and all of a sudden it’s out there. Sometimes it’s a distraction to players, some understand it happens every year.”
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer now shift their focus from the Draft to the upcoming July 31 Trade Deadline.
“It’s true that once the Draft is over with, there seems to be more of a focus on the trade market,” Epstein said Tuesday. “There are more phone calls being made now than 10 days ago. Certainly, that’s something we’ll evaluate. We’re in a position where any opportunity to get better, any opportunity to improve our future is something we have to take seriously, even if it means making difficult decisions about the product that we’re putting on the field right now. We’ll evaluate those things. That said, there are 25 guys in there working really hard and preparing hard to win each night.”
There are reports that the Dodgers are interested in Ryan Dempster, and other teams have been scouting Matt Garza, who will start Wednesday against the Tigers. Epstein said they will explore all options, with the goal being to build a solid foundation.
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein said he can’t comment on reports that Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler has agreed to terms with the Cubs. There were reports on Monday that Soler had agreed to a nine-year, $30 million contract.
“I saw those reports,” Epstein said. ”I can’t really address anything until it’s official, and in this case, there’s usually a process where there’s an agreement and a term sheet and then there’s a immigration process in getting visas and then there’s a physical and once the physical is done, the signing can be official.”
The process could take about a week.
– Carrie Muskat
After a rough 3-11 start, the Cubs are 9-6 in their last 15 games and Theo Epstein sees some good trends.
“There have been some really good things happening,” said Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations. “It’s baseball, so you don’t get too high when things are going well or too low when they’re not. The effort has been there all year and we’ve been playing hard and trying to play the game the right way. It’s hard to see sometimes when you’re losing close games and when breaks are going against you like they were early but everyone can appreciate it when the results come with it as they have lately.”
Cubs pitchers have compiled a 2.64 ERA in the last 15 games, fourth best mark in the Major Leagues in that stretch, and the team was batting .262, which ranks seventh in the National League. Looking for positives? Third baseman Ian Stewart, for example, was batting .381 in his last seven games to raise his average from .160 to .208. Geovany Soto was batting .167 overall but was 5-for-17 in his last five games. Ryan Dempster entered Tuesday’s game with a 0.95 ERA yet has not won in four starts.
“I think Stewart and Soto both have been hitting into tough luck all year and it’s starting to turn for both of them,” Epstein said Tuesday. “They’ve really been having quality at-bats for weeks and now balls are starting to fall for them or being driven out of the ballpark, which is a way to take care of your own luck sometimes. ‘Demp’ has been as good as anybody. The won-loss record is out of your control sometimes but he’s done a great job for us every time he’s taken the ball.”
– Carrie Muskat