It was showcase central all weekend at Wrigley Field.
On Saturday, Chicago Cubs right-handed pitcher Ryan Dempster showed off his wares for the scouts in attendance by picking up the win in a 4-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was Matt Garza's turn Sunday, and he worked seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 Chicago victory.
The Cubs are in full "seller" mode as the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline fast approaches, and the names of Dempster and Garza will be front and center in all of the talks, real and imagined.
Dempster, the elder statesman of the Cubs, said he tries not to let the talk bother him. He can refuse a trade because he's played at least 10 years in the majors, at least the past five with the same club, but he has indicated he'd go in the right deal.
"I'm well aware of things going on and rumors and things like that," the 35-year-old veteran said. "But I'm a member of the Chicago Cubs, and I'm trying to do my best job for this team and for my teammates and to go out there and be ready every fifth day to give them my best effort."
Garza has been traded twice before, and he has not let past rumors bother him. He reiterated Sunday that he and his family like Chicago but that whether he's traded is out of his control.
General manager Jed Hoyer met with reporters over the weekend and said the phones have been ringing more since the All-Star break ended. Although the Cubs figure to get back a haul of good prospects if they move Dempster and/or Garza, Hoyer said he doesn't enjoy being a seller.
"It's not a position you want to be in," Hoyer said. "Certainly there are ways you can improve the organization by being in that situation, but it's frustrating because that means your record isn't that good. It also means the players that are being asked about are good players, and neither one is a positive. When you are in this situation, you think you have to do the best thing you can for the organization, and you hope you aren't in this position very often."