Saw a couple interesting tidbits the last few days regarding the Cubs:
The first was an interview that Cubs GM Jed Hoyer did with Carmen, Yurko and Harry on ESPN Chicago. During the interview, Hoyer indicated that he believed that Alfonso Soriano will be will the Cubs come opening day, meaning its unlikely that the Cubs will be able to trade him.
Even though the Cubs are willing to eat a large chunk of his contract and with as many as eight teams expressing interest in him, the Cubs could not unload him. I find that hard to believe, unless the Cubs are trying to get too much in return for him. Sure his skills are deteriorating, but there are still a few teams in the AL looking for a DH and Soriano is at least as good as Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero and some of the other options out there.
The Cubs probably need to lower their asking price for Soriano. Otherwise, they will likely end up with a very expensive DH on their roster.
The second part of Hoyer's conversation involved Matt Garza. Hoyer basically emphasized that the Cubs would like to keep Garza around and that they see him as a part of the Cubs future. Meanwhile, in one of his weekly chats, ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine has opined that if the Cubs can't sign Garza to an extension before the start of the season, they will likely trade him before the July 31st deadline.
It seems like a reasonable stance for the Cubs. Garza is only under team control through 2013. So, if they cannot sign him to an extension, they need to move him this year to maximize their leverage and get the best return possible. Of course, the Cubs have been asking for the moon so far, as they still have time on their side, but at some point this is going to come to a head and they will have to decide what to do. My feeling is that the Cubs will not be able to reach an agreement with Garza and he will be gone by July, but then again, I am a bit of a pessimist.
Finally, Ryan Dempster expressed interest in finishing his career with the Cubs. That's all well and good, but I don't think that's the direction the Cubs want to go. Dempster was the Cubs best and most consistent pitcher from 2008-2010, averaging 14 wins and an ERA of 3.49 during that time. However, he took a big step back last year and will soon be 35.
He is not the type of pitcher that you build around. Heck, I'm not even sure if Garza is that type of pitcher. In any case, while its nice of him to say he wants to stay, I fully expect Dempster to be gone after this season.