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.

EDGY: One Day camps are growing around Chicagoland area

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EDGY: One Day camps are growing around Chicagoland area

Now that the NCAA board of directors lifted a ban on college football satellite camps, prepare to see an increase of these organized activities pop up around Chicagoland this summer.

The satellite camps allow college coaches the chance to watch and evaluate prospects in various locations away from the traditional campus setting. FBS level schools such as Iowa State, Penn State, Western Michigan, Purdue and Missouri all plan on attending Chicagoland area camps this summer. 

In-state schools such as Illinois and Northern Illinois will hold camps at off-campus facilities, while several other FCS level in-state schools will venture away from their homebase in search of prospects.

Below is a list of off-campus satellite camps. More could be announced soon. Cost and camp details can be found at each school's athletics website.

University of Illinois

June 3 (5pm-8pm): Satellite Showcase Camp #1 - Gately Stadium (Chicago)

June 4 (9am-12:30pm): Satellite Showcase Camp #2 - Barrington High School (Barrington)

June 4 (5pm-8:30pm): Satellite Showcase Camp #3 - Lincoln-Way East High School (Frankfort)

Northern Illinois University

June 5 (2pm-6pm): Camp at Gately Stadium (Chicago)

Southern Illinois University

June 18 (1pm-4pm): Saluki Elite Camp at Lincoln-Way West (New Lenox)

Western Illinois University 

July 16 (1pm-4pm): Bolingbrook High School Prospect Camp (Bolingbrook)

North Central College

May 31 (4pm-8pm): Camp featuring coaches from Iowa State (Naperville)

June 8 (4pm-8pm): Camp featuring coaches from Western Michigan, Missouri and Purdue (Naperville)

Lake Park High School

June 8 (10am-1pm): Camp featuring coaches from Missouri, Minnesota, NIU and Northern Iowa (Roselle)

Lake Forest College

June 11 (2pm-5pm): Camp featuring coaches from WIU, SIU, ISU, Yale, Cornell and Saginaw Valley State (Willowbrook High School, Willowbrook, IL)

Wendell Phillips High School

July 11 (9am-12pm): Camp featuring McKendree University (Chicago)

Bears OTA's: Observations from the first all-team practices

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Bears OTA's: Observations from the first all-team practices

The sessions are not mandatory, meaning that Alshon Jeffery’s continued absence from Halas Hall is simply disappointing for the Bears and not yet quite in the realm of Martellus Bennett’s pointed stay-away’s last year.

But as the Bears continue through their allowed quota of organized team activities (OTA’s) this week and through mid-June minicamp, it is evident already that a handful of aspects are different in 2016 from one year ago at this time.

One is a sense of urgency, a practice-speed tempo surprising for this time of year but emblematic of changes within the roster and coaching staff from even the end of last season. Coaches were driving the intensity and competitions, if not technically permitted under collective-bargaining rules, were very much in evidence, unusual for a hot day in May.

The offense is under Dowell Loggains, promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator with the exit of Adam Gase to coach the Miami Dolphins. That is involving an element of re-orientation even within an are still grounded in the same philosophies. Position changes are afoot and even with veterans, there is a learning curve that coaches and players are fast-tracking.

“It’s become clear the last few days it’s a lot different when you’re lined up in the spring and there are trash cans across from you, and then when you’ve got these big, fast D-linemen across from you,” said Kyle Long, doing his own orientation back inside from right tackle to right guard. “There’s going to be a bit of a learning curve. We’ve got to gel. You talk to a lot of guys who have been on good teams before and they’ve said, ‘We didn’t really gel until the end of training camp,’ or ‘it took us until training camp.’ So there’s going to be some time to get some of the rust off from a technical standpoint, from a live football standpoint, but I think we’ll be all right.”

Besides Jeffery, linebacker Pernell McPhee was at Halas Hall but not practicing following offseason knee surgery. Defensive lineman Will Sutton was not practicing, but fellow D-lineman Ego Ferguson was practicing after an aggressive rehab program following season-ending knee surgery of his own.

Without Jeffery, Kevin White was No. 1 through the lines for individual reps, and a scramble is developing down the wideout depth chart with rookie speed blurs Daniel Braverman (seventh-round draft choice) and Kieren Duncan (tryout player who earned a roster look with repeated highlight plays in rookie minicamp) getting looks in a group that includes nickel receiver Eddie Royal, Josh Bellamy, Marc Mariani and Marquess Wilson, all with NFL experience but few anywhere close to roster locks.

“The effect [of no Jeffery] is that someone else is getting an opportunity to get some reps and that’s a good thing,” Loggains said during rookie sessions. “We all wish Alshon was here. We’re in constant communication with him. He knows how we feel about the situation and him. But it is an opportunity for some of these different receivers that we like to get opportunities and we’ll find out more about them.”

Adam Eaton's defense has forced White Sox to change plans for Avisail Garcia

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Adam Eaton's defense has forced White Sox to change plans for Avisail Garcia

Adam Eaton’s outstanding defensive play in right field has altered the team’s original plans to give Avisail Garcia some playing time there.

Through 47 games, Eaton has played at a Gold Glove-level for the White Sox. He leads all major league defenders with 14 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), according to fangraphs.com, which has made it impossible to play Garcia in the field. That has White Sox manager Robin Ventura considering other ways to get Garcia on the field, including taking fly balls in left.

“The emergence of Adam out in right field has made it different,” Ventura said. “It’s a different spot for (Garcia). Eventually he’ll be back out there, but right now, what works for us is Adam in right field.”

“Adam has been above and beyond what we really thought he would be in right field.”

Garcia, 24, has nearly been relegated to full-time duty as the team’s designated hitter in 2016. He has a total of 16 innings played in the outfield.

Last year, Garcia started 129 games in the outfield. But his collective struggles — Garcia produced minus-11 DRS in 2015 — with Eaton’s forced the White Sox to look for a defensive-minded center fielder this offseason. Whereas last year the White Sox outfield was 26th of 30 with minus-22 DRS, this season they’re fifth overall at 7 DRS with Austin Jackson patrolling center.

The team’s defense has been a critical part to the club’s early success, which makes it nearly impossible for Eaton to sit. Garcia could see time in right field on days when Eaton needs to rest. But he’s more likely to force Melky Cabrera to the bench for a day or two and has worked to prepare for such an occasion.

“He’s getting some fly balls out there,” Ventura said. “That’s probably going to be really the rotation starts coming in for him to be able to get out there and get on the field. Or if something comes up with Adam or we want to DH. I even thought of that the other night during the DH. Again, Adam feels like he’s good enough to keep going.”