Phone lines at the front offices of multiple MLB clubs have been heating up all across the nation, as the July 31 trade deadline rapidly approaches.
Teams have finally decided whether they will be buying, selling or spectating in this trade season, as fans continue to speculate and rumors continue to precipitate across the league.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are certain buyers as they are looking to reclaim the lead in the National League West.
Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp are now back to full health for Los Angeles, so the offensive production should see a boost.
The starting rotation has been strong, led by left-hander Clayton Kershaw, last year's Cy Young Award winner.
However, right-hander Chad Billingsley has been hampered by elbow inflammation recently and was subsequently placed on the disabled list (via Arash Markazi, ESPNLosAngeles.com).
Going forward, the Dodgers cannot afford that kind of uncertainty in their rotation if they hope to win back first place in the division from the San Francisco Giants.
Either way, Los Angeles would love to add another starting pitcher, which is no secret.
The Dodgers' first choice may have been left-hander Cole Hamels, but now it appears as though he may end up staying in Philadelphia.
Until he actually inks a deal, Hamels isn't out of the picture, but right now Chicago right-hander Ryan Dempster may be the best option.
Despite the fact that Dempster is 35-years-old, he has been pitching as well as anyone in the league recently.
His record on the season is just 5-3, but when you look at his 1.86 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, it is clear that it would be much higher if he pitched for a team other than the Cubs.
What is even more encouraging for the Dodgers, and other potential suitors, is that all five of his wins have come in his last five starts.
The Gibsons, Canada native is 5-0 in his last five starts, and in that time he hasn't given up more than five hits per outing and hasn't allowed a single run.
Five starts—zero runs allowed.
He currently leads the majors in ERA and his quality start percentage of 71 percent is higher than the Dodgers' current No. 1 and No. 2 starters, Kershaw and Chris Capuano.
This is even more impressive considering Los Angeles leads the league in quality starts.
With the addition of Dempster, the Dodgers would almost undoubtedly have the best starting rotation in MLB.
They could still use another bat in the lineup to help out what would be a sterling staff, but with Kemp back in the lineup along with Ethier, that may not be the case.
Regardless, with Dempster the Dodgers pitching staff alone could be enough to carry them to a playoff berth.
Fortunately for Los Angeles, a perfect storm may be brewing which will send him west.
On July 17, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweeted that the Cubs are looking to move Dempster soon:
An exec of one team talking to the #Cubs said today they're working hard to move Ryan Dempster "by the end of the week."— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 17, 2012
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Dempster's preferred destination is Los Angeles.
With the Dodgers new ownership looking to buy, the Cubs looking to sell and Dempster looking to land in L.A., we could see him in Dodger blue within the next week.
And with Dempster in a Dodger uniform, we could see Los Angeles atop the NL West within the next month.
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