7/20 Cubs consider Dodgers offer
Ryan Dempster is still scheduled to start tonight for the Cubs, who are considering the latest offer from the Dodgers for the right-hander. According to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers have made an offer but won’t get into a bidding war because they also need to add offense, preferably a corner infielder, even more than they need Dempster.
The Dodgers farm system also is a little thin in the kind of prospects needed to land All-Star caliber players like Dempster, the Padres’ Chase Headley, or the Phillies’ Shane Victorino. Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, has said they’re looking to improve on pitching in the organization. That said, Dempster, 35, would be a pure rental for the Dodgers, which most likely is affecting the negotiations. He is in the last year of his four-year contract with the Cubs, which is paying him $14 million this season. Players must be with a team for an entire season in order to qualify for draft-pick compensation, according to the new CBA.
Dempster has played 10 years in the Major Leagues and five with the Cubs, so he has the right to veto any deal. However, the right-hander was expected to approve of a trade to the Dodgers, where he would be reunited with his friend, Ted Lilly.
Epstein has kept Dempster up to date.
“It’s just kind of like, ‘Hey, there’s teams interested,’ and that’s great,” Dempster said Thursday. “Nothing imminent, not that I know of. I’m sure if they have something, they’ll come to me. But right now, I’m just trying to get ready for [Friday’s] game.”
The Tigers and Braves also were believed to be pursuing Dempster as well. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Friday that talks regarding Dempster could “drag on a few more days.”
This season has been the right-hander’s best, despite two stints on the disabled list, and he currently leads the Major Leagues with a 1.86 ERA. He missed time April 21-May 3 because of a right quad strain, and was sidelined June 18-July 8 because of right lat tightness. His record would be better if he had gotten any run support early in the season. Dempster went 18 starts, dating back to August 2011, without a win until June 5 when he beat the Brewers. He has 10 quality starts out of his 14 this season. Dempster has won his last five starts without giving up a run, and his 33-inning scoreless streak is the longest by a Cubs pitcher since Ken Holtzman’s 33-inning streak in 1969.
The Cubs will have an extra pitcher on hand in St. Louis. Casey Coleman was scratched from his start Thursday for Triple-A Iowa but a team official said that was done in case newly acquired pitcher Justin Germano could not get there in time for Friday’s game. The Cubs acquired Germano from the Red Sox late Thursday for cash considerations.
– Carrie Muskat