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Cubs Tue May 15 2012

Cubs Stoking The Hot Stove

Cubs_200.pngApparently the first full week in May is the time to start throwing out random trade ideas if you're a Chicago sports writer (Or just Phil Rogers). Being in last place does tend to accelerate the timeline, but the Cubs have actually been playing good baseball. Who's going where? Let's lay an eyeball on the rumors and throw some crap against the wall like everyone else to see what sticks.

Ryan Dempster - Rogers is in love with Kevin Youkilis. He didn't write about him just once in the last week. Not twice. Rogers treated 'The Greek God of Walks' to the rare trifecta of columns in the Trib. He's convinced that the Red Sox must trade Youk because top prospect Will Middlebrooks is killing the ball in his short time in the majors.

While most of Rogers' love-fest has involved the White Sox trading for him (won't happen), he also mentioned the Cubs possibly having interest in a deal involving Dempster (Matt Garza too, but we'll get to him later). His argument for the deal is that, "He's the perfect guy to show a rebuilding lineup how to work a count and would bring a welcome intensity to Wrigley Field."

That's just asinine. A player doesn't show his teammates how to take pitches. If that happened, don't you think David DeJesus and Bryan LaHair would've already had an effect on their teammates? Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, and Alfonso Soriano all rank in the bottom-20 of baseball in pitches per plate appearance. You don't start walking and taking pitches because a new guy strolls into the clubhouse.

Dempster is easily the leading candidate to get traded, and quite possibly to the Red Sox, a team in dire need of starting pitching, but the 33-year-old Youkilis most definitely won't be involved - especially to a rebuilding team. Speaking of Dempster, despite a shaky inning last night, he has been money when healthy, keeping his value sky-high.

Matt Garza - Rogers mentioned Matt Garza possibly being involved in a potential Youkilis deal, which is even crazier for a guy that has succeeded in the AL East. Instead - CBSSports insider Jon Heyman reported that the Cubs plan to keep the 28-year-old flamethrower to be the ace that potentially leads the team to a playoff run a few years down the road. A smart decision knowing the farm system is lacking of top-of-the-rotation arms.

Geovany Soto
- This was originally going to be my made-up trade rumor, but wouldn't you know it, Rogers beat me to the punch yesterday morning. This particular scenario, however, is absolutely plausible. The Nationals are contending in the NL East (it's legitimate too), but lost their catcher Wilson Ramos to a season-ending ACL tear. By waiting a day though, we also know that recent call-up Sandy Leon hurt his ankle in a vicious collision with Chase Headley last night.

Though Soto has been terrible at the plate this year, and teams rarely trade for catchers in season because they lack the knowledge of the pitching staff, the Nationals have already told the world they're making a run this year by calling up Bryce Harper after a couple injuries crippled their offense. It wouldn't take more than a mediocre prospect and a flyer to get Soto, and the Nationals wouldn't be on the hook for any commitment after this season for a player that has shown in the past that he can rake when all is right.

Alfonso Soriano - He's swinging a lighter bat, and got a RBI-single last night. TRADE HIM WHILE HE'S HOT! Let's get real though - there's a .000002 percent chance Soriano gets dealt this season or in any season. Why do I bring him up then? Because the Josh Beckett situation in Boston is going to reach a tipping point if anything else happens following his golfing incident last week. The Cubs would most certainly eat money in any potential deal (I'll stress again - this isn't happening), but seeing Beckett dominate National League teams would be awfully fun. Plus, it would open up leftfield for LaHair so the Cubs could call up...

Anthony Rizzo - No he's not being traded, and yes, he's still tearing the cover off the ball to the tune of eight extra-base hits his last 10 games to go along with six free passes. He's also hitting .289 against lefties and has his strikeout per at-bat rate down around 20 percent, which are the primary reasons the organization wanted him to work in Triple-A this season. I still foresee him staying in the minors unless LaHair goes on the disabled list, but you'll more than likely find them playing together in the Friendly Confines at some point later this summer.

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