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Friday, July 27, 2012
Deadline could be Cubs' best ally

By Doug Padilla

Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster
The closer the deadline gets, the more pressure there will be on L.A. to make a deal.

CHICAGO -- With the non-waiver trade deadline just four days away, the Cubs continue to be in wait mode.

With it now known -- thanks to Braves GM Frank Wren -- that the Dodgers are Ryan Dempster's preferred landing spot in a trade, the Cubs' leverage with Los Angeles general manager Ned Colletti dwindled. Not only have the Dodgers balked on parting with top pitching prospect Zach Lee in a deal but reports now say they won't even part with Allen Webster, another highly regarded pitching prospect.

On Friday came the news that Matt Garza won't pitch before the trade deadline, depriving potential suitors the chance of making sure his sore right arm has improved. There still stands a chance Garza will be pitching in Los Angeles late next week, but he could be doing so with the Cubs when they take a trip to the West Coast.

As of now, the chain of events that has stymied the Cubs trade opportunities hasn't quite been the worst-case scenario, just close. Dempster and Garza could have injuries worthy of the disabled list, which would completely eliminate chances to make deals.

The Cubs' best ally at this juncture would seem to be the Tuesday 3 p.m. CT deadline itself.

The closer the deadline comes, the less leverage the Dodgers have if they truly want to make a deal to bolster their starting staff. The question is this: Is the Cubs' front office bold enough to wait until the last minute?

Also helping the Cubs on the Garza front is a new MRI on his right arm that shows no serious damage and some small fluid buildup that remains from the cramp he suffered on the mound last week.

Missing out on acquiring pitcher Randall Delgado from the Braves for Dempster was a tough pill to swallow. Ultimately, though, time still remains before the deadline and the only objective the Cubs definitely have whiffed on was getting at least one of their starters dealt well before the deadline.

With less than 100 hours to go before that deadline arrives, time will tell whether they missed other deadline objectives.