Ryan Dempster and Deadline Week

Edmonds.jpgJust finished watching Ryan Dempster throw an incredible shutout, going 8.1 innings, striking out 12 and giving up just six hits. He looks so relaxed as a starter. I admit, I was leery of him starting, as many of his starts a couple of years ago didn’t go well. Goes to show why they are the real baseball experts, not us writers!

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Well, deadline week for Vine Line always is a killer. It’s worse when we’re going to print and something happens.

This week has been no exception. While Sports Illustrated might have its jinx, Vine Line has its own brand of luck. Good for us it’s usually something favorable.

See, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has a peculiar knack of making trades and other transactions right when we’re going to press. Surely this is not on purpose–I’m pretty sure he’s not constructing the team with Vine Line‘s production schedule in mind–but it often seems to work out this way.

The most recent ocurrence of this happened…today. We had heard as early as Sunday, rumblings that we might be interested in signing outfielder Jim Edmonds after he cleared waivers. He was released by the San Diego Padres last week.

Edmonds.jpgOf course, most of the week, with Edmonds in the back of our minds, we continued to finish the June issue of Vine Line. Edmonds couldn’t be finalized until Wednesday, because that was the day he officially cleared waivers. Then we heard more news that it was nearly done. This also was reported in many of the local papers.

Meanwhile, we had only a blurb at the end of my Leading Off column to address the issue, because nothing was official. Then last night, after I went home, I checked my e-mail to see that the “official” press release had been issued.

I knew coming into work today, we’d be ripping up some pages again. Hendry strikes again!

But as media people, especially covering a very active GM like Hendry, you’ve always got to know something could happen. With a monthly magazine, it can get a little tricky with production schedules.

Down in the clubhouse, Carlos Zambrano gave Edmonds a welcome hug, more to poke fun at the media hovering around. Zambrano and Edmonds have history, dating back a couple of seasons when there was some bad blood between them after Edmonds hit a home run off of Zambrano.

“I was young, kind of immature and he hit home run off of me, so I didn’t like it,” Zambrano said. “But we talked about it and said ‘let’s move on.’ Of course it’s good to have someone like him behind you. I like him as a player.”

Edmonds will cost just about $280,000. This is a small risk to see if the four-time All-Star outfielder has anything left in the tank. My gut feeling is he does.

But there’s a lot of Cubs fans out there who don’t like him. Are you one of them?

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