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TMCNet:  Too soon to say if Cubs will make early July deal [Chicago Tribune :: ]

[July 03, 2014]

Too soon to say if Cubs will make early July deal [Chicago Tribune :: ]

(Chicago Tribune (IL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 03--BOSTON -- Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the trade that brought pitcher Jake Arrieta and reliever Pedro Strop to the Cubs from the Orioles for pitcher Scott Feldman, with the Cubs being accused of "jumping the market." Although there have been plenty of special assignment scouts at Cubs games in the last five weeks, general manager Jed Hoyer said he couldn't commit to making a deal well before the July 31 trade deadline this year.


"Last year it really came together," Hoyer recalled. "Baltimore was so determined to get a starter. You can always tell when teams have a feel for what we're looking for. Ultimately, sometimes it takes a deadline to make deals.

"People get a lot more serious with each day that gets closer to the deadline. It probably works both ways. I don't think you ever go into July thinking you're going to make deals early, but sometimes it can come together." The Blue Jays, who are in search of a starting pitcher, an infielder and a reliever, have sent at least 10 scouts to watch the Cubs since September and have followed Jason Hammel just as closely as ace Jeff Samardzija, according to several sources.

The other guy: Hoyer called Triple-A Iowa infielder Arismendy Alcantara the "underappreciated guy" in the Cubs minor league system, but Hoyer declined to say when Alcantara could be promoted to the Cubs.

"He's only 22," Hoyer said of Alcantara, who is batting .307 with 10 home runs, 39 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. "He's a switch hitter. He's in Triple A and no one talks about him with guys like (Kris) Bryant, (Javier) Baez and (Albert) Almora. He has a chance to put up a very special year in Triple A when you look at the doubles, triples and home runs and stolen bases.

"Guys really don't do that at that age. We're excited for him. He's on the 40-man roster, which is nice for us. I'm not going to answer yes or no whether he'll come up at some point, but certainly he's opened our eyes by the year he's had." Alcantara has played seven games in center field to enhance his versatility.

"At some point, we'll probably move (Baez) around a bit (from shortstop) too," Hoyer said. "But Alcantara is fast. He can play center field. He's very good when he's done it. " Hack attack: The Cubs have spoken to their information technology department in the wake of the hacking of the Astros' computer system that leaked several documents about trade discussions with other teams.

"It's a scary thing that can happen to all 30 teams, and (the Astros have) a good IT department," Hoyer said. "They've got a good database, and someone targeted them and decided they were going to break in. It's scary for all of us, and I'm sure 29 other teams are talking to their IT departments to make sure that doesn't happen. Everyone keeps trade notes." Hoyer said the incident could have been much worse if the Astros were not professional in their note taking.

"In the end, I think they were probably embarrassed they got out," Hoyer said. "But I don't think anyone faults them. Everyone is somewhat vulnerable." Extra innings: Hoyer declined to set a date for the return of leadoff batter Emilio Bonifacio from the 15-day disabled list, but "he's beating our projections so far and hopefully we'll get him back very soon." Bonifacio is recovering from a left oblique strain suffered June 12 and just recently went to Mesa, Ariz., to continue his rehabilitation. Bonifacio likely won't return until after the All-Star break. ... Iowa left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada is a candidate to be promoted to start one of the two games of a split doubleheader at Cincinnati on July 8. "I think he's a guy you'll probably see here at some point," Hoyer said of Wada, 33, who is 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA. ... The recovery of reliever Kyuji Fujikawa from reconstructive right elbow surgery remains slow.

___ (c)2014 the Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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