SAN FRANCISCO Cubs executives are hunkered down in their draft room, more than 2,100 miles away from the big-league club, bringing in players for workouts and interviews.

Theo Epsteins front office views next weeks amateur draft as the No. 1 priority. Those are three of the most critical days of the year for an organization that desperately needs an infusion of impact talent.

From there, Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer will pivot toward the July 31 trade deadline.

Dale Sveum didnt read the USA TODAY report that said everyone is available except Jeff Samardzija. But the Cubs manager certainly heard about the story that had the industry buzzing.

Its absurd for somebody to even write something like that, Sveum said Friday. But some of it might be warranted. Some of it (isnt) even close to anything that were ever going to do in this organization. You talk about ultimate skepticism (from the media). Thats what it is.

The piece written by well-connected national writer Bob Nightengale cited two anonymous high-ranking team officials saying All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro could be had for two impact prospects.

Epstein has already outlined his general operating philosophy: No one is untouchable, and every option has to be on the table. But the Cubs would have to be blown away to even consider dealing Castro or Matt Garza, a frontline starter whos proven in the postseason and the American League East.

Ryan Dempster (0-3, 2.90 ERA through nine starts) also figures to draw interest from contenders looking for a rotation upgrade, and his no-trade rights are not seen as a huge obstacle.


It is a business and its the job we have to do, Sveum said. Its got nothing to do with what the media talks about and whos going to get traded and all that. Your job is just to come out here and prepare to do the best you can and win a baseball game. You dont have control over all that stuff.