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Cubs’ expiration date looming

Matt GarzRyan­Dempster (above) are likely be moved before July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. | Joe Robbins~Getty Images

Matt Garza and Ryan­Dempster (above) are likely to be moved before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. | Joe Robbins~Getty Images

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Updated: August 13, 2012 2:00PM



KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s a big day for the Cubs on Friday as the second half of the season resumes.

That’s the day they reconvene at Wrigley Field, prepare to host the Arizona Diamondbacks for a three-game series and start saying their goodbyes to each other.

If the June draft was Theo Epstein’s “Super Bowl,’’ the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline might be his World Series. At least the only World Series the president of baseball operations will see this season.

First out the door could be veteran pitcher Ryan Dempster, who is scheduled to start Saturday in front of a section of scouts.

Right-hander Matt Garza is another big piece that will draw interest, but no player in a Cubs uniform is really safe, unless the back of their jersey reads “Sveum,’’ “Rizzo’’ or “Castro.’’

“We’ve got a really good team,’’ Cubs outfielder Bryan LaHair said during the All-Star Break. “We’ve got tons of players that people want. That’s not a bad thing for a team to have. But [all the talk] can get a little old at times. We really have a lot of good players on the team, and our older guys that are still really good, so there are definitely going to be talks about teams in first place wanting some of our talent.’’

That includes LaHair, a 29-year-old rookie who also happened to be a first-time All-Star.

Among contracts that the Cubs would love to shed are Alfonso Soriano’s and Carlos Marmol’s, but while Epstein is good, he might not be that good.

Moving each player would involve finding an agreeable trade partner, getting less than market value in return and still eating more than a few fistfuls of dollar bills.

After the purge, it will be manager Dale Sveum’s job to round up the remains and keep what could become a very young clubhouse pointed in the right direction.

LaHair likes the chances of that, with or without the same personnel in the clubhouse.

“I don’t think there’s one ounce of doubt in that clubhouse on where the Cubs are headed,’’ LaHair said. “I think everybody is on board with the manager. He’s running the ship, and I think everyone is accepting the decision he makes. I’ve played on a lot of teams where not everyone is on board with the manager, and sometimes that’s the most important thing.

“There is definitely a good chemistry in the clubhouse, definitely an understanding on who makes the decisions, where the team is heading, and what style of baseball we’re going to play.’’



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