MLB Trade Rumors: Braves Front-Runners for Ryan Dempster?

Eli GreenspanSenior Analyst IJuly 22, 2012

The latest report, courtesy of Ken Rosenthal and FOX Sports, is that the Atlanta Braves may have the inside track on Ryan Dempster now that the Los Angeles Dodgers have cooled on him. 

The Braves have remained in the mix for Dempster for weeks, but no reported offers have been exchanged, so it's hard to imagine that talks could be very far along.

The Braves remain firmly in the mix for Dempster, though no deal was close as of late Sunday afternoon, major-league sources said.

The Braves may be more inclined to trade for Dempster after seeing Jair Jurrjens fail to pull out of his season-long slump, falling to 3-4 with a 7.04 ERA in 10 games.

What's most important for Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs at this point is that they strengthen their farm system. It is very thin, but there are several good young prospects, and the AZL Cubs and Boise Hawks are loaded with raw young talent just entering the system for the first time.

Trading Dempster should help the Cubs land a pair of good prospects, ready to help the Cubs in the next few years. If they can't get anything for him at the deadline, they may hold onto him for the remainder of the season and simply collect draft picks as compensation. 

Both Dempster and Garza could provide the push teams in contention need, and the prospects Chicago is seeking aren't necessarily blue-chip prospects.

Yes, a team who acquires Dempster could let him walk at the end of the season, but at 35, he's having a career year, forcing the Cubs to seek more value. And for Garza, who the Cubs traded two of their best prospects for in 2010, he won't be a free agent until after the 2013 season, so a team could conceivably collect draft picks on Garza in 2014, further enhancing his value slightly as well.

The Cubs simply want the best return for their investments, not a package of low-impact prospects, as the draft picks would be of more value. The timing needs to be right, and it may come down right to the deadline in order for the Cubs to maximize their return.