For all the heat former Cubs GM Jim Hendry took over giving out no-trade clauses left and right, something more transcendent has vexed the Cubs in recent years when they've tried to trade a player: 10-and-5 rights. By now, you know that when a player has accrued 10 years of major-league service and five with the same team, he can veto any trade involving him.
That was a right won during the early 1970s by Marvin Miller and the players association, even before the players had won free agency. The first player to exercise 10-and-5 rights? Ron Santo. Back in the fall of 1973, the Cubs had a deal set with the California Angels to send Santo to Anaheim. Santo, as was his newly won right, said no. He did OK a trade to the White Sox a short time later. Although that didn't work out well, Santo had every right to say no, and he did so.
Fast-forward a few decades later. In 2010, the Cubs were looking to trade first baseman Derrek Lee, who had 10-and-5 rights. They wanted to send him to the Angels. Lee said no. The Cubs wound up trading him to the Atlanta Braves.
Now, the new Cubs management team wants to trade Dempster, and it appears that he has held up a deal to the Braves because he has 10-and-5 right. You know what? Too bad. Anybody in any business who has any leverage ought to use it. If Dempster didn't have these rights, do you think Theo Epstein would hesitate for one minute to trade Dempster, not caring what he thought about it?
Anyway, the key thing to remember is that all of the facts are not out yet because nobody is talking. Dempster didn't want to talk with reporters yesterday in Pittsburgh, and the Cubs' new management team sure isn't keeping reporters abreast of the situation, other than manager Dale Sveum blaming the whole thing on social media. Yeah, this was the first trade in history killed by a tweet.
Speaking of Twitter, that seems to be the way of the world when it comes to breaking news these days. Today, Dempster tweeted, "Nothing official to report. You will be the 1st to know. Thnx to all my fans for the support #RD46."
And recently, Cubs No. 1 draft pick Albert Almora tweeted that he'd be making his pro debut. He did, for the Cubs' Rookie team in Arizona, for whom he homered in his first game.
We'll get to Albert Almora and the Arizona Cubs in a minute. The milb.com site has a nice feature on third-base prospect Josh Vitters, who is enjoying a breakthrough year at the plate for Class AAA Iowa this season:
A few snippets:
"They really haven't told me anything specific (to work on)," Vitters told the site. "I just assume it means I need to get better at everything. I'm not there for a reason. It's because I need to get more repetition, I need to improve every single day as much as I possibly can."
The story notes the primary criticisms of Vitters being his defense and his lack of patience at the plate. Vitters has a hitting line of .303/.353/.514 with 15 homers and 59 RBI. He has 24 walks (already surpassing last year’s career best of 22 at Class AA Tennessee) and 68 strikeouts.
"I don't think you can really walk, especially at a high level in the minor leagues, unless you're at least feared to some extent by the other teams," Vitters told milb.com. "If you get up in the 3- or 4-hole and you start putting up some numbers, then the walks start coming."
As for defense, he said: "I feel good, I feel really comfortable over there," he said. "I feel a night-and-day difference from playing third base last year. It just comes from constant practice, throwing, kind of studying what I have to do to be the best defender I possibly can be."
Iowa fell 3-1 to Albuquerque last night. Lefty Brooks Raley took the loss, working 5 innings and giving up 8 hits and 3 runs while walking none and striking out eight. He is 4-6 with a 3.21 ERA.
Tennessee was off and Class A Daytona had the day off.
Peoria picked up only 2 hits in a 2-0 loss at South Bend. Yao-Lin Wang got no decision, working 3.2 innings and giving up 4 hits and no runs while walking none and striking out five. Catcher Chadd Krist was 1-for-3 with a double. Krist, drafted this year, has hit safely in eight of nine games at Peoria.
Boise (A) beat Eugene 3-0. Tayler Scott got the win, working 6 innings and giving up 3 hits and no runs while walking one and striking out four. He’s 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA. Gioskar Amaya (.326) was 3-for-4 with 2 stolen bases. Hayden Simpson, the Cubs’ top pick from 2010 who is making a nice comeback from a lot of health-related misfortune, pitched 2 innings of relief to earn his second hold.
Arizona beat the Brewers 7-3. The aforementioned Almora hit his first homer as part of a 3-run fifth inning. Outfielder Jorge Soler hit his first pro homer earlier this week. Shawon Dunston was 2-for-4 and Trevor Gretzky was 2-for-2 with a stolen base.