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MLB Rumors: Possible Destinations for Cubs' Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster's days in Chicago are numbered.
Ryan Dempster's days in Chicago are numbered.Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Oliver ThomasContributor IJuly 23, 2012

The Chicago Cubs are on the ground floor of the National League standings and the four-year, $52 million contract of starting ace Ryan Dempster is set to expire.

Those two factors have put Dempster on the trade block as the July 31 trade deadline nears, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.

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):

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

According to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are Dempster's No. 1 choice. However, talks between Los Angeles and Chicago have simmered.

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.

 

Atlanta Braves

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 Braves are right behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East standings. Possessing viable prospects could help Atlanta's odds of adding the reliable arm to their rotation.

 

Washington Nationals

The Nationals are vying a playoff spot and contemplating a move for Dempster, per Rosenthal.

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.

 

Detroit Tigers

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com (h/t James Jahnke of the Detroit Free Press), the Tigers are in the Dempster sweepstakes. To what extent? Well, that remains to be seen.

Detroit is edging out the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. Nonetheless, Dempster would upgrade the starting pitching corps behind AL MVP Justin Verlander.

 

Overview

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.

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