Busy Cubs may deal again before Deadline
Gregg, Schierholtz could be attractive pieces for contending teams
SAN FRANCISCO -- Now that the Cubs have dealt two-fifths of their rotation, their No. 4 batter, their former closer and a key right-handed bat off the bench, what's left?
"As far as I know, there's nothing going on," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday.
The Trade Deadline is Wednesday, but the Cubs got a head start. Since July 2, they've dealt Matt Garza to the Rangers, Scott Feldman to the Orioles, Scott Hairston to the Nationals, Carlos Marmol to the Dodgers and Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees.
It's one of the biggest overhauls of a roster in midseason ever. Ten players on the current 25-man roster were not on the Opening Day roster, including Chris Rusin, Pedro Strop, Blake Parker, Matt Guerrier, Kevin Gregg, Eduardo Sanchez, Cody Ransom, Cole Gillespie, Julio Borbon and Junior Lake.
Only five players on the current 25-man roster were on the 2012 Opening Day roster (Luis Valbuena, Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, James Russell and Jeff Samardzija). Soriano was the last player remaining from the 2007 Cubs team that won the National League Central.
The Cubs may not be done. Rumors swirl around Gregg, who picked up his 21st save Saturday, and Nate Schierholtz, moved into the No. 4 spot following Soriano's departure.
"There are some things we'd like to explore, and if we can find the right fit and bring value back to the organization, sure, we would be [interested]," president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Friday. "We've had a very active July. We set out to be proactive, especially with starting pitching. We wanted to jump the market a little and get the Feldman deal and the Garza deal done before more starting pitchers became available and flooded the market. That part of the strategy felt great.
"The Sori deal was something we were hoping to do if the timing was right, and the fit was right."
The Cubs' farm system has more potential impact players than a year ago, many selected in the First-Year Player Draft as well as acquired through trades, and Epstein is still shopping.
Last year, the Cubs also were busy at the Trade Deadline, dealing Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm, among others. They struggled for the remainder of the season, going 18-43.
This year has been different. The Cubs already have won more games on the road than they did all of last season. They are 3-1-3 in their last seven series, and have a winning record in their last 54 games.
"We've got a lot of guys in here who don't give up," Schierholtz said. "One of the things they instilled in us in Spring Training is hard work and running balls out and not ever letting up. That's one of the biggest things a winning team does.
"You don't have to have the best players to win championships, and I learned that here. It's just been fun. We go out there loose, with nothing to lose. It's a fun, young group of guys, and we all get along great."
Sveum didn't give the players a pep talk.
"Everybody in this locker room went through it last year," he said of the roster turnover. "They're grown men, they understand the situation."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.