Bulls

Cubs send Dempster to Rangers at deadline

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Cubs send Dempster to Rangers at deadline

The long-running Ryan Dempster drama finally came to a close on Tuesday, with the Cubs trading their Opening Day starter to the Rangers just before the non-waiver deadline.

In exchange, the Cubs reportedly received two minor-leaguers, as executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer remake the team in their image.

In the final hours leading up to the deadline, Dempster indicated a willingness to go to the Dodgers, Yankees and Rangers and told the front office to make the best deal possible.

This followed last weeks breakdown with the Braves, as a potential deal fell apart after it was leaked to the Atlanta media and exploded on Twitter. Dempster, who had 10-and-5 no-trade rights, didnt feel like that was the right environment to make decision, and wanted to go to Los Angeles.

At the age of 35, and in the walk year of his contract, Dempster (2.25 ERA) will now get a chance to chase a ring and market himself for free agency. After winning two consecutive pennants, Texas isnt content to just get to the World Series. From legendary team president Nolan Ryan to brothers Greg and Mike Maddux, this organization has transformed its pitching DNA.

This continues the dismantling by Epstein and Hoyer, who traded left-hander Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson to the Braves for two pitching prospects the night before.

On Tuesday morning, the Cubs officially announced the trade of catcher Geovany Soto and cash to the Rangers for Double-A pitcher Jake Brigham and a player to be named or cash.

At 3:15 p.m., Alfonso Soriano walked out to the hitting area beyond the left-field wall at Wrigley Field in Cubs gear. This was viewed as a softer deadline for Soriano, who has no-trade rights and is owed almost 43 million through the rest of this season and the next two years combined.

Sorianos name again popped up in rumors, but that price tag makes him a virtual lock to clear waivers in August.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Do Bulls or Blackhawks have a better chance at making playoffs?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Do Bulls or Blackhawks have a better chance at making playoffs?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan was joined by Ben Finfer, David Haugh and Mark Lazerus to discuss the Bulls not tanking well and the Blackhawks tanking too well.

Plus, Alshon Jeffery is heading to the Super Bowl while the Bears stay home. And is the hot stove league about to heat up with Yu Darvish?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

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AP

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

Chris Gimenez, come on down.

The 35-year-old catcher isn't exactly a household name, but he's been signed by the Cubs to add backstop depth, according to Chris Cotillo and Ken Rosenthal:

The Cubs didn't have much depth in the catching department beyond Willson Contreras and inexperienced rookie Victor Caratini and while Gimenez doesn't light up the stat column, he's a link to Yu Darvish that could give the Cubs a unique advantage in that domain:

Darvish and Gimenez played together with the Texas Rangers in 2014-15 (though Darvish was hurt in 2015) and Gimenez has been shedding some light on what the free-agent pitcher may be thinking this winter. Is this Part II of a David Ross-Jon Lester personal catcher situation?

That may be reading a bit too much into things, as the Cubs were always going to sign a veteran catcher to provide depth beyond the unproven Caratini. They saw how important that was in 2017 when Alex Avila spent roughly a month as the starter when Contreras was hurt.

The link between Gimenez and Darvish is real, but the frontline starter has also made 48 starts over the last two seasons while throwing to a catcher not named Gimenez. And the free agent catching market is pretty thin beyond Avila and Jonathan Lucroy, both of whom should earn starter's money or close to it.

Gimenez has played 361 games in the big leagues over the last nine seasons as a journeyman, with stops in Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Texas, Cleveland (again), Texas (again), Cleveland (again) and then Minnesota last year. He played for Cubs manager Joe Maddon and new pitching coach Jim Hickey while in Tampa Bay.

Gimenez turned in a career season in 2017 with the Twins, notching new highs in games played (74), at-bats (186), runs (28), hits (41), homers (7), RBI (16) and walks (33).

He has a career .218 batting average with a .309 on-base percentage, .345 slugging and .654 OPS. 

But Gimenez isn't just a catcher. He's made nine appearances as a pitcher over the last few years, including six in 2017, where he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.

Gimenez will probably compete with Caratini for the backup catcher role in Chicago and can lend a veteran presence. He's also the best bet to take for first position player to pitch in a game in 2018.