Ryan Dempster Starting For The Cubs On Sunday
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster will make his return for the Cubs today against the New York Mets. Dempster was placed on the disabled list in mid-June with a strained lat muscle, and the expectation was that Dempster would nto return for the Cubs until after the All-Star break. However, with Dempster starting for the Cubs today it likely will re-ignite the whirl-wind of trade rumors that involved the starting pitcher prior to him being placed on the disabled list.
Teams like the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Detroit Tigers have all been waiting patiently for Dempster to return from the disabled list.Though, no team may have been waiting as anxiously as the Dodgers. Before Dempster was placed on the disabled list, the Dodgers and Cubs were in serious discussions regarding the starting pitchers. In fact, reports suggested at the time that the Dodgers could have been on the verge of pulling the trigger a trade for Dempster. Though, talks between the Dodgers and Cubs have since ceased.
The Dodgers will likely be one of the many teams scouting Dempster in New York when he makes his start against the Mets. While the Dodgers and Cubs have had no talks as of late, there have been multiple reports in recent weeks that has pegged the Dodgers as the clear favorites to land Dempster when he returns from the disabled list. In addition, there is a belief going around that Dodgers are tempted to trade for both Dempster and Bryan LaHair in the same deal. The Dodgers were rebuffed in their attempts to trade for Carlos Lee, now there is a thought that the Dodgers plan on trading for both Dempster and LaHair.
Personally, I do not see that move happening. As with any player on the Cubs roster, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the rest of the Cubs front office will take in offers on any player. LaHair is no exception. Though, the same reason why teams would want to trade for LaHair is the same reason why the Cubs may want to keep the first baseman/right fielder. LaHair is cost-controlled and will be under the Cubs control for at least the next three seasons. We have seen the benefits of late bloomers in the form of Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Cubs could have that same benefit. Another reason the Cubs may want to keep LaHair is that impact that he has on the lineup. Anthony Rizzo has solidified himself in the #3 hole in the Cubs lineup and with LaHair hitting behind him, the Cubs have a combination of left handed run producers that have added some potency to the Cubs batting order.
If the Dodgers want to trade for both Dempster and LaHair, the price will be steep. The price for Dempster is believed to be two top prospects, one of which is young starting pitcher that is closer or already is Major League ready, and then another one or two quality prospects from the lower levels. With LaHair included in a trade, that could be the factor that puts the deal over the top for the Cubs. As that may allow the Cubs to receive three top prospects from the Dodgers to go along with a throw-in prospect from the lower levels.
We could be saying this a lot over the next two or three weeks, but Dempster’s start for the Cubs today could be the last start that he makes as a member of the Cubs organization.