Some rival executives consider the Cubs one of the few teams - if not the only one - decisively in seller's mode almost seven weeks before the trading deadline.
And that could prompt a team in need of a starting pitcher to strike fast with a strong offer for somebody like Ryan Dempster, one exec said Wednesday - a pace of action that only seemed more plausible with Dempster's lengthy, visible conversation with team president Theo Epstein before batting practice Wednesday.
The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are among the likeliest landing spots, say baseball insiders.
Dempster, who has said he would consider waiving his no-trade rights, is only one of at least a half-dozen Cubs who could be traded by the deadline.
Another could be starter Matt Garza, who would take a major package to get because he's under club control for another season.
``It's not my choice,'' said Garza, who sailed through five innings Wednesday before a rough sixth cost him in an 8-4 loss to Detroit. ``I love the city. My kids love the city. It'd be a great place to have them grow up, but its out of my control. ... I just want to keep playing. It doesn't matter where. I'll pitch on the freakin' moon.''
NOTES FROM WEDNESDAY
-- Ian Stewart is headed to the disabled list because of continuing trouble with his left wrist, and will seek a second medical opinion for the injury, manager Dale Sveum said.
The Cubs havn't decided who will be called up from Iowa to replace Stewart, but former first-round draft pick Josh Vitters is not ready, Sveum said. Luis Valbuena is a possibility.
--Dempster and Jeff Samardzija will swap spots in the rotation, putting Dempster on his natural fifth day Friday against Boston, a move Sveum said was in part due to matchups in upcoming series.
--Top prospect Anthony Rizzo - who could make his Cubs debut this month -- missed Wednesday's game for AAA Iowa the day after banging his knee against a dugout fence trying to make a catch, but Sveum said it was ``no big deal.''
--Samardzija misses next week's White Sox series because of the switch. ``I drive by there all the time, going home taking the Skyway,'' said a disappointed Samardzija. ``Hopefully, I get another crack at them.''