What does the future hold for Dempster?


What does the future hold for Dempster?

Ryan Dempster is one of the few left who remembers what it was like when the Cubs were contenders and Wrigley Field was the place to be.

Those back-to-back division titles in 2007 and 2008 seem like a very long time ago. There will be many new faces in the clubhouse when pitchers and catchers report to Arizona next week.

Theo Epsteins front office is searching to find the next generation of core players. Dempster will turn 35 in May and make 14 million in his walk year. Its uncertain whether hell fit into the next window of opportunity.

Beyond this season, what does the future hold for Dempster?

Ive thought about that a lot, he said Thursday on Sirius XMs MLB Network Radio. As you get older and you get near the end of contracts, you kind of wonder. But at the same time, when I signed on with the Cubs my first time, I was hurt and I had a chance (to) sit there on the bench and kind of watch it all play out in 2004. (Ive) had a couple different opportunities to sign back and Ive always thought I want to be here and win.

The Opening Day starter looked lost last April (9.58 ERA in six starts) and the Cubs never recovered, triggering change throughout the organization. Dempster did manage to reach 200 innings for the fourth straight season and finish at 10-14 with a 4.80 ERA.

Dempster, who has no-trade rights, became close with former general manager Jim Hendry, and he enjoys a good relationship with ownership. The young pitchers look up to Dempster, whos also active in the community with his foundation.

But both sides will have to make cold calculations, and Epstein doesnt appear to be too concerned with sentiment. Seemingly every move this winter was designed to find value, young players under club control, with an eye toward 2014 and beyond.

Ive never quit anything in my life and I dont want to quit it now, Dempster said. I want to be there when were winning and were winning on a consistent basis and most importantly when were winning a World Series. If that means youre fighting through some tough times, sometimes that makes it more gratifying in the end.

Im looking forward to, hopefully, staying in Chicago the rest of my career and being a Cub and (helping bring) a World Series to (a) city that deserves it so much now on the North Side.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998


Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

An off-day did nothing to slow down the 1998 National League MVP as Sosa collected his second straight 2-homer game May 27 of that season.

He went deep in the eighth and ninth innings of a Cubs' 10-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, driving in 3 runs. 

The first homer - off Darrin Winston - was an absolute blast, traveling an estimated 460 feet. The second shot was tame in comparison with only 400 feet as a recorded distance.

In a matter of two games, Sosa raised his season OPS from .930 to .988 and his slugging percentage from .521 to .577 thanks to a pair of 2-homer contests.

Fun fact: Doug Glanville - former Cubs outfielder and current NBC Sports Chicago analyst - was the Phillies leadoff hitter that day in 1998, collecting three hits and scoring a pair of runs.

Yu Darvish back on the DL for Cubs with triceps tendinitis


Yu Darvish back on the DL for Cubs with triceps tendinitis

Yu Darvish now has more trips to the disabled list in a Cubs uniform than wins.

The Cubs place their 31-year-old right-handed pitcher on the DL Saturday evening with right triceps tendinitis. The move is retroactive to May 23, so he may only have to miss one turn through the rotation.

In a corresponding move, Randy Rosario was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to provide Joe Maddon with another arm in the bullpen. Tyler Chatwood will start Sunday in Darvish's place.

Thanks to two off-days on the schedule last week, the Cubs should be fine with their rotation for a little while. Jon Lester could go on regular rest Monday, but the Cubs would need to make a decision for Tuesday given Kyle Hendricks just threw Friday afternoon.

That decision could mean Mike Montgomery moving from the bullpen to the rotation for a spot start, or it could be the promotion of top prospect Adbert Alzolay from Triple-A Iowa.

Either way, this is more bad news for Darvish, who has had a rough go of it since he signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs in February.

Between issues with the weather, the concern of arm cramps in his debut in Miami, leg cramps in Atlanta, a trip to the disabled list for the flu, trouble making it out of the fifth inning and now triceps tendinitis, it's been a forgettable two months for Darvish.

He is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 40 innings with the Cubs.

Over the course of 139 career starts, Darvish is 57-45 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and has averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings.