Ryan Dempster's days in Chicago are numbered.
With the Cubs selling, which teams are suitors for the 35-year-old starter?
The two-time All-Star has a 2.11 ERA this season and could boost a team to playoff contention. The following clubs are in the hunt to acquire the hurler (barring he doesn't veto a deal):
More than likely, the Dodgers would have to ship out some touted minor league prospects for Dempster. ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine inspected the Dodgers' prized trade chip:
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.
That could be a tough pill to swallow, since there's no guarantee that the veteran Dempster would even re-sign this offseason. Meanwhile, a young talent like Lee would move his promising career in another direction.
The Dodgers are nipping at the heels of the San Fransisco Giants in the NL West race. The club is fifth-best in the majors in terms of runs allowed—Dempster would certainly put their pitching over the top.
Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Braves are in hot pursuit of Dempster. Atlanta has the parts that Chicago is looking for, reports Rosenthal:
The Braves’ farm system is deep, and the team likely would be open to the Cubs’ strategy of including significant cash in the deal to acquire better prospects. Dempster knows Braves general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez from their days together in the Marlins’ organization.
The Nationals are vying a playoff spot and contemplating a move for Dempster, per Rosenthal.
Which team will Dempster be on after the trade deadline?
Washington's interest in the wily right-hander may stem from Stephen Strasburg's innings limit post-Tommy John surgery. Although, the choice to shut him down may not be as rigid as originally thought, according to ESPN.com's Pedro Gomez:
General manager Mike Rizzo told ESPN Wednesday that he alone will decide when Strasburg's 2012 All-Star season will end, and that it's not necessarily at the 160-inning mark that has been talked about so often.
Dempster would provide the Nats with an innings eater who could carry the rotation into the postseason.
The Cubs should find a way to unload Dempster so he doesn't finish out the two months of the season in vain. The Dodgers and Braves project to be the biggest players to land the vet.