One thing is certain about the Ryan Dempster trade rumors. The certainty is that there will likely be a resoloution by Friday. Friday is when Dempster is scheduled to take the mound against the St Louis Cardinals. However, the Cubs are intent on trading Dempster before he takes the mound against the Cardinals on Friday. The Cubs have advanced beyond the stage of calling teams to garner their interest in trading for Dempster. The Cubs have been actively exchanging names with multiple teams this week with the hope of coming to an agreement with a team before Friday. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and Boston Red Sox remain the interested parties in Dempster. Though, most believe that the Dodgers will be the team to trade for Dempster.
It is believed that the Dodgers already have an offer on the table for Dempster. The Dodgers’ offer is believed to consist of pitching prospects Garret Gould and Chris Withrow. If the Cubs wanted to take that deal, then Dempster would have been traded by now. The Dodgers’ offer of Gould and Withrow has been on the table for at least the past week. While Gould and Withrow are respectable prospects, neither is the top pitching prospect that the Cubs are seeking for in a trade.
Zach Lee is the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect and that is the prospect that the Cubs have their eye out for. Lee entered the season ranked #62 on Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects. Though, Lee probably is in line for a drop in the rankings. After making 12 starts with the Dodgers’ high class A affiliate and posting an ERA of 4.55, Lee was promoted to the double A level. Lee has struggled in his first four starts at the double A level as the 20 year old pitcher has an ERA of 8.82 in those four starts. I, however, would not be too concerned with Lee’s struggles. Part of the process for the pitcher to develop is to see what adjustments he can make as he moves through the farm system. There are bound to be struggles for a 20 year old pitcher during his rise to the Major Leagues, but the important thing is that the pitcher needs to overcome those struggles.
Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago reported that the Cubs have asked the Dodgers’ about Lee, and the belief that Dempster alone would not be enough for the Cubs to acquire Lee. With the fact that Dempster is a free agent at the end of the season, it stands to reason that any team may be hesitant to part with their top pitching prospect for what could be a two month rental of Dempster.
Because of the reason, Padilla mentions the possibility that the Cubs could trade both Dempster and starting pitcher Matt Garza to the Dodgers. Including Garza in a trade as well as Dempster would be enough for the Cubs to acquire Lee, Withrow, Gould, and another two to three prospects. It would be a true blockbuster trade. As much as that might be an appealing trade considering the amount of prospects the Cubs could receive if Garza and Dempster were in the same deal, there is also one other way the Cubs could end up with Lee without trading Dempster and Garza in the same deal. The Cubs would have to trade Dempster along with a prospect (Josh Vitters?) or Bryan LaHair, and then that may be enough for the Dodgers to give up Lee in a trade. Then, the Cubs could trade Garza and Darwin Barney to the Detroit Tigers and potentially receive highly regarded third base prospect Nick Castellanos.
It still seems likely that Dempster will be traded before Friday. I say the word likely because of the number of reporters that have suggested as much. But if the Dodgers are the team to acquire Dempster, then teams like the Braves and Red Sox would likely turn their attention to Garza.