The Chicago Cubs front office appears to be entering the final stages in their efforts to trade veteran starting pitcher Ryan Dempster. With Dempster scheduled to start for the Cubs on Friday against the St Louis Cardinals, the Cubs would like to trade Dempster before then. Reason being that the Cubs do not want to risk Dempster re-injuring himself after missing three weeks due to a strained lat muscle. Also, Dempster’s trade value may never be as high as it is right now. The 35 year old starting pitcher holds a league leading ERA of 1.86, and is currently in the midst of 33 inning scoreless streaking including the 11 scoreless innings that he has pitched since returning from the disabled list.
The list of teams interested in Dempster is a lengthy one. The Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, St Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and Atlanta Braves are believed to be the teams that have some degree of interest in Dempster.
But with the Cubs looking to trade Dempster before Friday, the Cubs are going to teams asking for their final, and thus, strongest offer for the starting pitcher. Through this part of the process, most of the teams interested in Dempster have been weeded out and only 3 teams remain. Those three teams are the Tigers, Dodgers, and Red Sox. All three teams appear to have a strong interest in acquiring Dempster.
Up until this point, it was believed that the Dodgers were the front-runners were the favorites to land Dempster. Though, recent reports have suggested that Dodgers’ status as front-runners for Dempster is in question. Especially if the Tigers are willing to include pitching prospect Jacob Turner in their package for Dempster. But both the Tigers and Dempster now may be trumped by the Boston Red Sox.
Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted on Monday that the Red Sox are aggressive in their pursuit of Dempster. Before we go any further, it should be stated that when it comes to either the Red Sox or the Yankees, Olney’s sources are incredibly credible. Along with reporting the Red Sox aggressive pursuit of Dempster, Olney reports that the Red Sox do have some reservations about trading for Dempster as Theo Epstein knows a lot about the Red Sox farm system considering he was the general manager in Boston when most fo the Red Sox top prospects were drafted by the organization. The Red Sox have reason to be wary of making a deal with Epstein and the Cubs. Reason being that Epstein and the Cubs got the better of the Cubs in the past two deals that the two teams have made.
There is no question that Epstein won his own compensation deal with the Red Sox as the pitcher the Cubs sent to the Red Sox, Chris Carpenter, required arm surgery in Spring Training and has yet to appear in the Major Leagues with the Red Sox. Then there was the deal that two teams made during the season that sent center fielder Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox for reliever Michael Bowden. Byrd struggled with the Red Sox and then was released by the Red Sox right before it was discovered that Byrd would be suspended for 50 games for using PEDs.
Though, if the Red Sox were that concerned about trading with the Cubs the team would not be this aggressive in their pursuit of Dempster. While Epstein may have inside knowledge of the Red Sox farm system, it would stand to the reason that people who work in the Red Sox front office (you know, the people that evaluate the prospects in the Red Sox farm system) would stand to have equal if not greater knowledge of the Red Sox farm system than that of Epstein.
Dempster could be in his final days as a member of the Cubs’ organization, and a trip to Boston could be in his near future.