Ryan Dempster is one of the top pitchers available for trade this season, and the Dodgers look like they will be landing the Cubs ace. As Theo Epstein continues remodeling the entire Cubs organization, the prospect package that the Dodgers will provide is what will put them over the top in the race for Dempster.
Currently, Epstein has at least seven or eight teams interested in the 33-year-old right-handed pitcher (h/t ESPN's Bruce Levine). However, the primary contenders for him seem to be the LA Dodgers, the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves.
The Nationals aren't looking like they have the proper package needed to get Dempster. They would have to come up with a package to blow the Cubs away. It's either that or, as ESPN's Jayson Stark tweeted:
Hearing Dempster is one of 4 or 5 starters #Nationals are pursuing. Would need to get "creative" to pull off this deal.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 20, 2012
The question is just how creative the Nationals have to get. Honestly, they just don't have the pieces to compete with the Dodgers when it comes to going after Dempster.
After the Nationals, the Braves have also shown a lot of interest in Dempster, as he would give the Braves a front-of-rotation starter for the rest of the season. However, Jayson Stark tweeted about the Braves' interest as well:
#Braves also don't appear to be aggressively pursuing Dempster. Still prefer a high-end starter they can keep beyond this year.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 20, 2012
The Braves were thought to be the best team not named the Dodgers to have a shot at Dempster. However, they are likely looking more intently at Matt Garza, Zach Grienke or even Francisco Liriano over the veteran right-hander.
That leaves the Dodgers as the only real trade prospect for Dempster's services. Interestingly enough, the Dodgers are also the first team to have publicly made an offer for the Cubs' best pitcher. As ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine reports:
The Los Angeles Dodgers have proposed a trade for Chicago Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, a baseball source told ESPNChicago.com on Thursday. The Cubs have been clear their top priority on the trade market is adding young pitching. It is unclear whether Zach Lee, the top-rated arm in Los Angeles' farm system, is included in the offer.
While the details of the offer aren't completely clear, it is clear that the Dodgers are interested in Dempster to bolster their rotation as they head towards the home stretch. Since the Dodgers seem to have the most interest, they also are looking to offer the best package of prospects.
The Dodgers will likely have to base their winning offer on their best pitching prospect, Zach Lee. This doesn't seem to be much of a problem for the Dodgers though. They will be able to win the Ryan Dempster sweepstakes and have the righty on their team to finish this season, and possibly more.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist and Trends and Traffic Writer for Bleacher Report. As a Featured Columnist, he covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek and also runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and the host of Kvetching Draftniks Radio.