PHOENIX – The Cubs aren’t done dealing yet.
With a week left until the July 31 non-waiver deadline, Theo Epstein’s front office is moving into the next phase of the summer selloff, not worried about the optics or the won-loss record after trading Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers and exploring an Alfonso Soriano deal with the New York Yankees.
“The Garza trade process was pretty all-consuming for a lot of us,” Epstein said Tuesday at Chase Field. “Now we can focus on some other things that we thought would maybe happen closer to the deadline.”
Industry sources said those plans most likely will not include Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. The Cubs have scouted Gonzalez in Mexico and stayed in the mix, but there’s an overall feeling that the 26-year-old right-hander will wind up being out of their price range, with the Boston Red Sox being mentioned as one of the frontrunners.
After a 10-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, manager Dale Sveum said David DeJesus could be activated on Wednesday after a short rehab assignment in Arizona. That could mean a showcase for contending teams looking for outfield help.
[MORE: The Garza Show goes to Texas]
DeJesus – who’s been out since crashing into a wall and spraining his right shoulder on June 14 – has a $6.5 million club option for next season. Closer Kevin Gregg could be the next piece moved, while lefty James Russell, catcher Dioner Navarro and outfielder Nate Schierholtz have been mentioned in trade rumors. A 44-54 team doesn’t have untouchables.
“There are names left here that are still of interest in a lot of discussions,” Epstein said. “We’re obviously in that position where if we can improve the future of the organization by continuing to build a strong farm system, and it comes at the expense of a win or two the rest of the season, unfortunately, that’s the position that we’re in and it makes sense to contemplate those moves.
“I’m not pleased that we’re in this position, but I’m really pleased with the talent that we’ve been able to bring into this organization in the month of July.”
Junior Lake has emerged as a bright spot, going 3-for-5 on Tuesday and making it two homers in two nights at Chase Field. His 12 hits in his first five career games are the most by a Cub since 1916. Besides the trade chatter, this is what the rest of the season will be about.
“He’s playing as well as anybody can imagine,” Sveum said.