Cubs and Dodgers talking Matt Garza-for-Zach Lee swap

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Last week reports had the Dodgers talking to the Cubs about starting pitching while being more interested in Matt Garza than Ryan Dempster.

Now that Dempster has been traded to the Braves, this report from Jim Bowden of ESPN.com makes sense: He says the Cubs and Dodgers “continue trade discussions” on a deal that would swap Garza for a “package including Zach Lee.”

Lee was the Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2010 and posted excellent strikeout and strikeout-to-walk numbers in the low minors, but has struggled since a midseason promotion to Double-A. Of course, he’s 20 years old and has all of 184 pro innings under his belt, so that’s no big deal.

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.