Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Chicago teams headed toward changes
By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- The Cubs continued their 2013 dominance over the White Sox in an 8-2 blowout win on Monday evening. The Cubs completed the four-game sweep of the home-and-home matchup, sending the south siders to their 10th loss in 12 games.
But the series finale was mostly a sidebar to a presumed selloff by both clubs of their moveable assets. More than a dozen scouts were in the ballpark watching Cubs starter Matt Garza and any number of other Chicago players audition for jobs elsewhere.
The two teams started to head in different directions when they began the interleague series on May 27. Since that time the White Sox have gone 10-27. The Cubs have played over .500 baseball during the same span.
All of that aside, the major objective for both teams is to get younger and deeper with a number of good trades before the non-waiver trade deadline comes on Aug. 1. Scott Feldman and Scott Hairston, along with struggling reliever Carlos Marmol, have already been dealt this week.
“That is why we got the Villanuevas for some depth in case something like this happened,” said Cubs manager Dale Sveum of the trades. “This is a business and we are in that part with our organization that things can happen.”
Garza, who has been lights out in his last five outings, is a big piece of the puzzle for someone’s future. He is 4-0 with a 0.97 ERA in his last five starts. Although he admitted that his agent has been talking to the Cubs about an extension, he remains the most attractive starting pitcher on the trading block in baseball.
“It is in the back of your mind,” Garza said. “It is nothing new. At least you are wanted and that is a compliment. If it happens my phone will ring, but it hasn’t rang and I am still happy to be a Cub.”
The White Sox have three major chips to move. It is just their luck that two of the three (Jesse Crain and Jake Peavy) are on the DL. Outfielder Alex Rios is coveted by numerous clubs, including Texas and San Diego. The White Sox could end up with some good packages before the deadline passes.
The last two months of the season will be a challenge for both teams to not lose 95-plus games . The all-time Chicago record for combined losses of the two teams in one season is 191 in 1948.