Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Two obstacles hindered deadline dealings
By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- If you were giving a letter grade for the Chicago Cubs' first trading deadline results under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer an incomplete probably would be fair.
Trapped by Ryan Dempster's veto rights and Matt Garza's injury, the new Cubs front office did the best they could in getting some promising young players back for the four veterans they moved before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
“We tried to identify the pitching prospects we wanted to get and to be completely candid with you we would have liked to get back even more,” Epstein said on Wednesday. “We were able to do some things that we wanted to do, not all of it, but that process will continue going forward into the winter and next year’s draft and deadline.”
The Matt Garza situation hamstrung the management team’s ability to add three or four young pitchers that could have been developed over the next couple of seasons.
“Organizational pitching deficit is not something you can address all at once,” Epstein said.
Dempster’s refusal to initially except a deal to the Atlanta Braves cost the Cubs a big arm coming back in 22-year-old Randall Delgado, but that was his right to do.
“The Dempster situation, that is just part of the game,” Epstein said. “You have to play this game a long time to get 10-5 rights and be really good at your craft in order to get them. That becomes part of the landscape and you have to operate around that.”
Epstein admitted that working with those barriers made getting the right deals done much more challenging.
“It did make things more difficult and hurt us from extracting maximum value for him, but in the end we were satisfied with what we got in return and got Ryan to a place he ultimately accepted as a good destination for him,” Epstein said.
The Cubs had a few offers about the availability of Alfonso Soriano near the end of the deadline. According to major league sources, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants showed interest in the outfielder. Soriano told the Cubs that the Dodgers were the only team on the West Coast he would consider.
“There were a few nibbles and there was one match of a team expressing interest,” Epstein said. “They ended up not making an actual offer.”
The Dodgers shifted gears and traded for Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.