Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster could return for the Cubs on Sunday and then go away once again.
Dempster has been lobbying for the opportunity to start on Sunday, the last game for the Cubs before the All-Star break. Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum will make a decision on whether or not Dempster will start for the Cubs on Sunday by Friday.
If Dempster does not start for the Cubs on Friday, Sveum will likely be forced to go with starting pitcher Chris Volstad once again. Sveum was highly critical of Volstad on Tuesday, so it stands to reason that Sveum would be in favor of anything that takes a start away from Volstad.
The reason Dempster may return and leave shortly thereafter is because of his status as a trade candidate. Unless the Philadelphia Phillies are intent on trading starting pitcher Cole Hamels, Dempster is one of the top two or three pitchers that is on the trade market. Though with the Milwaukee Brewers not really committed to trading starting pitchers Zack Greinke and/or Shaun Marcum, Dempster could be the top starting pitcher on the trade market.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a strong interest in Dempster. Their interest in Dempster dates back to before the Cubs placed Dempster on the disabled list a couple weeks back. In the day leading up to Dempster being placed on the disabled list, reports surfaced that suggested the Dodgers were on the verge of pulling trigger on a trade for Dempster. Talks between the Cubs and Dodgers have ceased while Dempster was on the disabled list, but with the starting pitcher on the verge of making a return, talks between the two teams will likely resume once again.
Dempster’s contract expires at the end of the season, meaning any team that trades for Dempster would have him as a rental player for the final two months of the 2012 regular season. Though, that is assuming that Dempster is traded on July 31. However, if a team like the Dodgers trade for Dempster during the All-Star break, they would likely be able to sneak in two more starts with Dempster on their team.
While the Dodgers have long-been considered the front-runners for Dempster, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox both have an interest in Dempster. In 12 starts this season with the Cubs, Dempster is 3 and 3 to go along with an ERA of 2.11.
If Dempster gets the start for the Cubs on Sunday, it will be against the New York Mets in New York.