Bulls

Dempster understands big changes could be coming to Cubs

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Dempster understands big changes could be coming to Cubs

MILWAUKEE Ryan Dempster says he hasnt spoken to Theo Epstein in depth about the future, and hasnt really thought about the list of teams hed approve a trade to this summer.

Dempster doesnt necessarily want to leave. Hes a good citizen who loves pitching here and may be the most respected player in the clubhouse.

But the last-place Cubs fell to 19-37 after Wednesdays 8-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Zack Greinke shut down a lineup that struck out 15 times, and with the draft now over the focus will shift to the trade deadline.

Im sure that Theo and (general manager Jed Hoyer) and the Chicago Cubs are going to do whats best for the Chicago Cubs, Dempster said. If that means that they want to trade me and try and better the ballclub, then Ill have to listen to what they have to say.

I realize that its a possibility right now, but Im just worried about trying to get ready for Sunday. Id be doing everybody in here everybody thats a part of this organization a huge disservice if I wasnt just preparing to do my job.

Epstein operates under the philosophy that no one is untouchable. Hoyer will be trying to leverage the extra wild card that was added to each league this season, and the parity that has revealed only a few obvious sellers right now.

Weve already started talking to teams, Hoyer said. Teams work on somewhat dual tracks this time of year, but even the next couple days those calls will pick up. Its such a jumbled race right now.

In both leagues, theres like a mass of teams (just) hovering. Thatll shake out a little bit over the next six, eight weeks. And as it does, teams are going to be more active. Right now, a lot of teams are in a little bit of a wait-and-see mode.

Besides Dempster and Matt Garza (who could just as easily be seen as a building block at Clark and Addison), the Cubs dont have many big pieces that will interest contenders before the July 31 deadline.

Manager Dale Sveum doesnt want to think about what the 2012 Cubs would become if you strip away those parts.

That the farthest thing from my mind, Sveum said, the trade deadline or what my rosters going to look like in a month or two from now.

Its part of the game. You know thats a possibility, (but) its definitely not something that I think about every day. Youll obviously have a roster and youll do the best with what you got. But you cross those bridges when you get to em.

Dempster is what Sveum calls the whole package, a professional who mentors young pitchers and still performs at a high level (2.59 ERA through 10 starts). The Opening Day starter isnt necessarily asking to end the season somewhere else.

But there is the inevitable sense that changes are coming to the Cubs.

Any time youre on a team thats not doing as well as youd like, Dempster said, and youre in the last year of a contract, things like that, any one of us is susceptible to being traded. For me, its a little bit different because I have the right to say no, to say yeah.

(But) obviously I want to do whats best for this organization. Theyve done nothing but right by me.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Previewing the 2019 NBA Draft with Jordan Cornette

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Previewing the 2019 NBA Draft with Jordan Cornette

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski is joined by ESPN college basketball analyst Jordan Cornette to discuss the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft and what options the Bulls will have when they go on the clock at No. 7.

0:45        What’s coming up for Jordan
2:20        Impact of Bulls dropping to seven in the draft
3:45        On Cam Reddish and his pro potential, should Bulls take him?
5:50        Should Bulls take a risk at 7 and go with highest potential? Jarrett Culver discussion
7:55        On Kevin Porter Jr and Nassir Little, too risky to take at 7? Jordan explains why Luguentz Dort is his sleeper
10:35     On mid first round and potential for risk among teams
13:20     Bulls 2nd round pick options, why PG probably won’t be an option at 7
15:00     Jordan’s pick for the Bulls at 7
16:50     On free agency, Bulls need at PG
19:08     Jordan on a potential Derrick Rose return
21:14     Do either the Bucks or Raptors have a chance vs Golden State?

What To Know: News and Notes From the Upcoming Reds-Cubs Series

What To Know: News and Notes From the Upcoming Reds-Cubs Series

It’s finally Memorial Day Weekend, which is great time to take a moment and reflect on all those who were, when the Cubs were 2-7, adamant about waiting to pass judgement until the holiday weekend. It’s here, and you were right. Congrats to you. Conventional wisdom rules the day, once again. 

The Cincinnati Reds are in town for the final series in this 7-game homestand. The two teams played in Cincinnati a little over a week ago, and the Reds took two of three despite never winning a game by more than two runs. It’ll be Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, and José Quintana on the mound for the Cubs, countered by Anthony DeSclafani, Tyler Mahle, and Tanner Roark for Cincinnati. Here’s what else to look out for: 

Schwarber’s Staying Put

It sounds like the Kyle Schwarber Leadoff Experiment isn’t going anywhere. He’s lead off for the Cubs in each of the last nine games (including Friday), and is hitting .267/.368/.567 with a .935 OPS over that span. He’s hit 2 of his 7 homers and drawn 6 of his 26 walks out of the leadoff spot. While it’s not his first rodeo, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon talked pregame about how the team is more convinced that it’s the right fit now. 

“It’s one of those things where you have to believe it to see it,” he said. “And sometimes there’s folks that have to see it to believe it. I just thought it was the right time. Again, I liked it back then -- I did -- however he did not react to it well in that moment. But if you look at his overall abilities  as they stand right now, for me, that’s the perfect spot for him.” 

Cincinnati’s Record: a Reds Herring?

The Reds enter this weekend’s series as the last-place team in the NL Central, and owners of the 5th-worst record (22-27) in the NL. What’s interesting, though, is that they also have the 2nd-best run differential (+25) in the division, which also happens to be the 4th best in the NL. According to Baseball Reference, their actual record is *five* wins lower than it should actually be. 

“We’re playing a team right now that’s record is not good, but they are really good,” Maddon said. “I have a lot of respect for this group.”

The Reds have had some of the best pitching of any team in baseball through the first 40+ games. Going into the long weekend, they rank:

2nd in FIP (3.47)
3rd in ERA (3.50)
5th in K/BB% (17.6)
7th in WHIP (1.23)
4th in HR/FB (12.4% - especially impressive given how homer heavy Great American Ballpark is.) 

Miscellaneous News and Notes

The Cubs called up James Norwood before Friday’s game. He briefly pitched for the Cubs last season, making 11 appearances to the tune of a 4.09 ERA. This season, over 20 innings in Triple-A Iowa, Norwood is holding batters to a .206 average while posting an impressive K/BB of 22.5%. The corresponding move was optioning Rowan Wick back to Triple-A. There’s also been no update on the status of Ben Zobrist, who remains away from the team on a personal absence.