If all those scouts who showed up Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field paid attention to social media, they might have gone home.
Instead, they watched as Cubs pitcher Matt Garza showcased his talents against the White Sox.
Cubs scouting reportCubs vs. Los Angeles Angels at Wrigley Field
TV: Comcast SportsNet Tuesday; WGN Wednesday
Radio: WGN 720-AM
Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Travis Wood (5-6) vs. Joe Blanton (2-10) Tuesday; Jeff Samardzija (5-8) vs. C.J. Wilson Wednesday. Both games 7:05 p.m.
At a glance: This is the second interleague series between the two clubs this year. The Cubs and Angels split a pair in Anaheim last month. The Angels are trying to stay afloat in the AL West. Mike Trout leads the Angels' attack with a line of .315/.393/.554 along with 57 RBI. Mark Trumbo has 19 home runs. Albert Pujols has a line of .247/.320/.415 with 13 homers and 51 RBI. The Cubs play only one day game in the current stretch leading to the all-star break, and that's a 3:05 start Friday.
Next: St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field, Thursday-Sunday
-- Bruce Miles
It was another interesting and strange day around the Cubs. In the morning, they traded outfielder Scott Hairston to the Washington Nationals for a minor-league pitching prospect.
Garza remains the Cubs' top trading chip, but a report surfaced on cbssports.com later in the day that the Cubs and Garza were entertaining the idea of a contract extension that would keep him a Cub.
Garza and the Cubs have talked, but the surest bet still is that the Cubs move him on or before the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline.
During a Monday morning teleconference with reporters, well before the extension stories broke, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer was asked about Garza. The current Cubs front office does not make a practice of discussing player negotiations of any kind.
"He's been a popular name and a guy we've gotten a lot of phone calls on," Hoyer said. "I think he's opened a lot of eyes the way he's thrown the last four, five times out."
There are good reasons the Cubs are going to trade Garza:
•He has been on the disabled list in each of his three seasons with the Cubs, twice for lengthy stints.
•He's a free agent come this fall, and the Cubs likely won't want to commit to a pitcher they might feel is a health risk.
•Trading a pitcher such as Garza for prospects is in keeping with what this organization under Hoyer and team president Theo Epstein has done.
Garza has pitched well since coming off the DL on May 21, and that should make him all that more attractive to other teams. In his last 5 starts including Monday's 8-2 victory over the White Sox, he has an 0.97 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 37 innings.
The other high-profile subject of trade speculation on the Cubs is Alfonso Soriano. Soriano's situation is more complicated because he can veto any trade involving him because he has 10-and-5 rights.
Soriano, though, is heating up. Against the White Sox, he homered, doubled, walked, singled and stole two bases, looking like the Alfonso Soriano of his younger days.
He has this season and next left on his eight-year, $136 million contract. It will take some doing and a lot of money-eating for the Cubs to move him, but if he stays hot, the Cubs might find a taker.
Of course, the Cubs are sellers again this year because of their status as non-contenders.
"I would hope that we cease being sellers on an annual basis," Hoyer said. "We want to be buyers. We need to acquire a lot of talent and build that wave that can come up here and give us that sustained success, and with that we hope we can move in the other direction and be buyers and not sellers."