Kevin Gregg is another Cubs player who’s likely to go
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org July 23, 2013 10:32PM
Updated: July 24, 2013 12:30AM
PHOENIX — The Cubs have a lot more than an Alfonso Soriano deal in mind as they ramp up talks on several trade fronts after finally completing Monday’s trade of Matt Garza to the Rangers.
With a week left until the non-waiver trading deadline, the Cubs could continue to be one of the most active sellers in the majors, with bullpen, bench and outfield pieces still on the block.
“The Garza trade process was pretty all-consuming for a lot of us, and for me,” team president Theo Epstein said. “And now we can focus on some other things that we thought would maybe happen closer to the deadline.”
Besides a possible Soriano deal, the next-likeliest trade candidate is closer Kevin Gregg, who on Monday night pitched a quick ninth inning to convert his 19th save in 21 chances.
No trade, no worries
Privately last year, a lot of Cubs officials were upset with pitcher Ryan Dempster for what they perceived as him changing his requirements to waive his no-trade rights and eventually forcing the team into a second-tier deal.
But Epstein said Tuesday that he respects players such as Dempster and Soriano who reach no-trade-rights status by playing 10 years in the majors, including five with the current team.
“I don’t begrudge those rights. They’re earned,” Epstein said. “Players have to play every day of their career up until [that point] thinking they might show up and be called into the office and their entire family will have to move somewhere else.
“I appreciate what those rights mean. They’re well earned.”
If Soriano isn’t traded, the outfield could get crowded fast with the imminent return from the disabled list of David DeJesus (shoulder), who manager Dale Sveum says is progressing “really, really good.”
◆ The team plans to give recently acquired right-hander Jake Arrieta his Cubs debut Tuesday when it needs another pitcher for a doubleheader against the Brewers.
◆ A major Soriano selling point to the Yankees and other American League teams: his career .379 average, nine home runs, 25 RBI and 1.188 OPS in 92 career plate appearances as a DH (8-for-17, two homers, six RBI, 1.412 OPS in four games this year).