Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego Padres Preview, Tuesday 5/29, 1:20 CT

Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs and Starlin Castro celebrate the Cubs victory over the Padres at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs defeated the San Diego Padres 11-7. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

So is Ryan Dempster going to be traded? Or is he going to stay?

Last weekend, it sounded like he was resigned to leaving:

"I’m not an idiot. I know how things go," said Dempster, a two-time All-Star and the Cubs’ Opening Day starter the last two seasons. "I know how it goes with players in contract years and the team not necessarily doing like they’re supposed to be doing, there’s always a possibility of things. There’s a possibility of being traded anytime.

"But I don’t really think about it. I don’t really worry about it because I can just control doing my job the best I can."

But Monday, it sounded like management wanted to keep him:

But team president Theo Epstein was noncommittal when asked about Dempster on Monday, saying there has been an "open dialogue" between the two about his future.

Asked if Dempster might yet be signed to a new contract, Epstein said, "Long term, sure. We’ll have to take a realistic look at where we are."

My thoughts at this juncture: it's way too early to tell. The non-waiver trading deadline is two months away. The additional two wild-card teams might mean there will be more buyers at the deadline -- and fewer sellers, making someone like Dempster more valuable. He's off to his best start since 2008, when he made the All-Star team and finished sixth in Cy Young voting.

Dempster turns 36 next January. He's one year younger than his friend and former teammate Ted Lilly, who got a three-year deal from the Dodgers taking him through his age-37 season. If the Cubs feel Dempster can contribute on the mound and as a veteran clubhouse presence, I don't see any reason why they shouldn't bring him back for a couple more years.

And please, don't say, "Trade him for prospects and re-sign him as a free agent!" In real life, that doesn't happen. Most likely, if he is traded, he'd wind up signing with the team he's traded to, as Lilly did.

Now, on to this afternoon's contest.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus RF, Castro SS, Mather 3B, Soriano LF, Baker 1B, Johnson CF, Barney 2B, Hill C, Samardzija P

Padres lineup:

Venable cf, Denorfia rf, Alonso 1b, Quentin lf, Headley 3b, Baker c, Cabrera ss, Amarista 2b, Stults p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija
Cubs
vs. Eric Stults
Eric Stults
Padres
4-3 W-L 1-0
3.00 ERA 1.96
57 SO 8
18 BB 8
4 HR 0
vs. SD -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Jeff Samardzija 4-3 11 9 0 0 0 0 57.0 49 21 19 4 18 57 3.00 1.18


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Eric Stults 1-0 2 2 0 0 0 0 11.2 8 3 2 0 4 4 1.54 1.03

NOTE: Stults' numbers in the line above are with the Padres only. Full-season numbers in the pitcher box.

Jeff Samardzija has made two career relief appearances against the Padres, covering 2⅓ innings and 14 hitters. Current Padres are 4-for-17 against him. From this we can conclude exactly nothing. Better: Shark has a 1.82 ERA in his last six starts and 41 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 39⅔ innings. That, we'd like to see continue. He's been a really pleasant surprise this season.

Eric Stults has two career starts against the Cubs, one in 2007 and one in 2009, both when he was with the Dodgers. Since this team is quite different from those teams, the previous starts are pretty irrelevant. Current Cubs are 8-for-19 against him, but that's such a small sample size it's probably also irrelevant. So this is kind of like having a guy the Cubs have never seen before go against them. You know what usually happens then. Also, this is not him. That's actor Eric Stoltz. They are not the same person.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 2:20, 3:20 and 4:05 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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