CHICAGO -- The Cubs may have been busy the last two years at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but the emphasis lately has been more on evaluating what the team already has.
The Cubs did deal Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics on July 4, and on Monday sent infielder Darwin Barney to the Dodgers. But last week, Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, stressed that the Cubs are evaluating the current roster to see who to keep as the team moves ahead.
"When you have players who are working together over time, continuity does seem to help," manager Rick Renteria said. "You can't guarantee that change won't occur after the Trade Deadline. I wish I could tell you that I have a crystal ball and I know exactly what's going to happen, but I don't.
"I think the players we have continue to grow together. We've been together five months now. You get to know each other, and they build relationships. They're learning from each other. As long as they continue to move forward, we'll see what we have here."
Renteria said that his conversations with Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer focus more on how the current 25-man roster is doing, not about possible deals.
"I don't get into the possibilities or chances of any movement," he said. "I think I concern myself more with the guys we have and how we'll move forward in the next eight, nine weeks."
The players are aware of Thursday's 3 p.m. CT deadline.
"Everybody thinks [that] after they get three or four hits, they'll be the next guy traded out of here," catcher John Baker said. "I tend to laugh at that. I've been told I've been traded, I've been told I've been claimed off waivers, and it hasn't happened. The most important thing for us is, when the lights turn on and the baseball game starts, [we focus on] what happens between the lines."
Baker was Hammel's personal catcher and knows that it's tough to lose a teammate.
"Hopefully, we don't have anybody else leaving, so we don't have to be sad for a couple of days like we were with Darwin and Jeff and, especially for me, Jason," Baker said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.