There was an odd scene at Wrigley Field yesterday as Cubs president Theo Epstein and right-hander Ryan Dempster had a one-on-one chat while sitting in the stands during batting practice.
Dempster was in uniform and by choosing to have their conversation in public with multiple reporters looking on they had to know that it would create tons of speculation about the Cubs trading the 35-year-old impending free agent.
Dempster revealed only that they “discussed a lot of things and obviously there are a lot of things being talked about … we talked about being on the same page and trying to do what is best for our team.”
However, according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago the conversation was indeed about potential trades. And because Dempster has the right to block any move as a 10-and-5 player presumably Epstein was laying out various scenarios to gauge his willingness to pitch for other teams.
Terrible run support has kept Dempster from an impressive win-loss record, but he’s started 11 games with a 2.31 ERA and 63/20 K/BB ratio in 74 innings. While perhaps not quite a No. 1 starter Dempster has had a sub-4.00 ERA in four of the past five seasons and would no doubt generate plenty of interest from contenders leading up to July 31.
Last night in the top of the eighth inning of the Dodgers-Cubs game, Curtis Granderson struck out. Or, at the very least, he should’ve. After the game, the umpire who said he didn’t admitted he screwed up.
While trying to squelch a Dodgers comeback, Wade Davis got Granderson into a 2-2 count. Davis threw his pitch, Granderson whiffed on it, it hit the dirt, and Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out. End of the inning, right? Wrong: Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, Wolf, after conferring with the other umps agreed, and Granderson lived to see another pitch.
Before he’d see that pitch, Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and got so agitated about it all he was ejected for the second time in this series. He was right to argue:
It all ended up not mattering, of course, because Granderson struck out eventually anyway.
Normally such things end there, but after the game a reporter got to Wolf and Wolf did something umpires don’t often do: he admitted he blew the call:
It’s good that the bad call ended up not affecting anything. But the part of me who likes to stir up crap and watch chaos rule in baseball really kinda wishes that Granderson had hit a series-clinching homer right after that. At least as long as it didn’t result in Cubs fans burning Chicago to the ground.