Flurry of trades leaves much of Cubs’ roster on pins and needles
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org
ANGELS AT CUBS
The facts: 7:05 p.m., CSN, 720-AM, 1200-AM.
The starters: Joe Blanton (2-10, 5.14 ERA) vs. Travis Wood (5-6, 2.69).
THE REST OF THE SERIES
Wednesday: 7:05 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM, 1200-AM.
C.J. Wilson (8-6, 3.57) vs. Jeff Samardzija (5-8, 3.54).
With the trade on Sunday night of outfielder Scott Hairston to the Washington Nationals, the Cubs had sold off four players in the first week of July, putting nearly the entire roster on notice that almost anybody could be next — with more than three weeks left before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
“To say that there’s no emotions involved when guys come and go would be a lie,” said pitcher Jeff Samardzija, one of the closest things to an untouchable player on the roster, and the most vocal clubhouse advocate for keeping this team intact and trying to win fast.
“At the time [of a trade] it’s tough. It brings up emotions and it fires you up because you care for those guys and they care for you. You kind of eat, sleep, live and die together out there. It’s what a baseball team is all about.
“But you’re a professional. It’s your job to play, regardless of the situation, and do your best to win that day.”
For Hairston, the Cubs got starting pitching prospect Ivan Pineyro, 21, a right-hander with a 6-3 record and 3.24 ERA in 15 combined starts at Class A Hagerstown (13 starts) and advanced-A Potomac (two). He’ll report to advanced-A Daytona for the Cubs.
“Those things happen this time of year,” manager Dale Sveum said of trades that have left holes in his starting rotation and outfield. “It worked out for both teams. We got a nice young 21-year-old starting pitcher that’s already producing in high-A.”
Leave it to the Cubs to find a way in the age of mandatory All-Star representatives to have nobody in the game.
Because Travis Wood starts Sunday in their final game before the break, the Cubs plan to keep their lone All-Star off the active roster for Tuesday’s game. It’s the first time the Cubs won’t have a player eligible for the game since Sammy Sosa (injury) in 1998.
“The good thing about it is he’ll be pitching Sunday night [on national TV],” Sveum said. “To pitch Sunday night against the Cardinals leading into the All-Star Game — that’s about as good as you can get other than playing in it.”
Lefty Brooks Raley took Scott Hairston’s roster spot short term to boost a taxed bullpen. General manager Jed Hoyer said the club is weighing options for a right-handed bat in the next few days.