(Update, June 20, 1:20 p.m.: Jon Morosi of FOXSports tweeted that Dempster is “still scheduled to pitch” against the Cardinals, an indication that talks between the Cubs and Dodgers may have hit a snag. There’s been no word about where the Tigers currently stand in all this.)
The Detroit Tigers have shown interest in Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, whose 1.86 ERA is the best in baseball this season. But Dempster may be suiting up for the Los Angeles Dodgers before the weekend is out.
The MLB Network’s “MLB Tonight” reported Thursday that the Cubs have pulled Dempster from the rotation — he was scheduled to start Friday in St. Louis — and were on the verge of calling up a pitcher from the minors in case a trade of Dempster was completed. MLB insider Ken Rosenthal confirmed that the Dodgers have the inside track for Dempster.
“Yes, they are exchanging names,” Rosenthal said on “MLB Tonight”. “(Dempster’s) preference, as a 10-and-5 player, are the Dodgers and the Braves, in that order. There are other teams in the mix, as well. …
“We’ve heard about the Tigers’ interest, I’m sure they’re in there as well … but would Dempster go to the American League?”
Being a 10-and-5 player — meaning Dempster has been in the majors for at least 10 years and has spent five-plus seasons with the same club — gives Dempster the right to veto a trade. There are already rumors that Dempster will re-sign with the Cubs in the offseason once he becomes a free agent, so any acquisition of the 35-year-old starter would likely be on a short-term basis.
Dempster currently sports a 5-3 record to go along with his sub-2 ERA and has 75 strikeouts in 92 innings, though he has struggled to stay healthy. Dempster has also never pitched for an American League team, which could be one of the main reasons behind his desire to stay in the Senior Circuit.
Dempster is just one of the starting pitchers believed to be on the trade market, with his current Chicago teammate Matt Garza in the mix. Rosenthal added that the Cubs could also look to deal Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker, Paul Maholm and Bryan LaHair, while recent rumors have linked Detroit to second baseman Darwin Barney.
The wheels are in motion on the MLB trade season, and Dempster could be the first big chip to fall.