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Ryan Dempster Streaking To A New Team?

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July 14, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster throws a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

I have said this before, and I will say it again, starting pitcher Ryan Dempster may have made his last start for the Chicago Cubs on Saturday when Dempster took the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Dempster earned the victory and lowered his league leading ERA to 1.86 while extending his scoreless innings streak to 33 consecutive innings.

This figured to be a big weekend for the Chicago Cubs as arguably their top three trading pieces in starting pitchers Paul Maholm, Dempster, and Matt Garza would all be on display this weekend for the Cubs. Maholm and Dempster excelled in their starts, and now it is time for Garza to do the same on Sunday as the Cubs look to sweep the Diamondbacks.

Dempster’s scoreless inning steak may continue with a new team. Dempster’s next team was likely in attendance at Wrigley Field on Saturday. According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, ten teams have expressed legitimate interest in Dempster. Among those teams are the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians, the Detroit Tigers, and the Atlanta Braves.

The Dodgers, Tigers, Yankees, and Braves have expressed the strongest interest in Dempster. Though, the Tigers are also believed to be the front-runners for Cubs’ starting pitcher Matt Garza. However, the Tigers along with the Dodgers are believed to have an offer on the table for Dempster. George Ofman of WBBM Radio tweeted that both the Tigers and Dodgers have made an offer for Dempster.

The Tigers also are in talks with the Cubs about Matt Garza in a trade that could also send second baseman Darwin Barney to Detroit as well. Ofman mentions that the Tigers’ package for Garza includes a young left handed starting pitcher. 24 year old Andrew Oliver could be that pitcher. Oliver has struggled so far in his seven career starts with the Detroit Tigers spread-out through 2010 and 2011. However, Oliver still has the potential to be a respectable left handed starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. Oliver entered the 2011 season being ranked #87 on Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects in all of baseball. Oliver has pitched the entire season with the Tigers’ triple-A affiliate and has posted a record of 4 an 9 to go along with an ERA of 5.18. Given Oliver’s young age, trading for him would be similar to when the Cubs traded for Travis Wood this past off-season.

Then there is Jacob Turner. The Cubs were linked to Turner in the off-season when the Cubs and Tigers were talking about a possible Garza trade. And, there is a belief that if the Cubs trade either Dempster or Garza to the Tigers, Turner would almost certainly be on his way to Chicago. The Cubs will likely have a scout on hand in Detroit on Tuesday when Turner makes his first start of the season for the Tigers. The 21 year old right hander entered the 2012 season with a ranking of #22 on Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects. With the Tigers’ triple-A affiliate this season, Turner has posted a record of 4 and 2 to go with an ERA of 3.16. Turner is the exact pitching prospect that the Cubs are looking for in a possible Dempster or Garza trade.

Meanwhile, Ofman believes that Dodgers package for Dempster includes two pitching prospects. Those pitching prospects could be Chris Withrow and Garret Gould. Withrow was drafted out of high school in the first round of the 2007 first year player draft, however, he has yet to pitch beyond the doube-A level. Withrow was ranked as the #48 prospect in baseball prior to the 2010 season but has since not been on Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects. This season with the Dodgers’ double A affiliate, Withrow has posted a record of 1 and 1 to go along with an ERA of 5.29. Meanwhile, Gould was drafted out of high school in the second round of the 2009 first year player draft. Gould has yet to pitch at the double-A level. In 2012, Gould has been pitching with the Dodgers’ high class A affiliate. Gould has posted a record of 3 and 6 to go along with an ERA of 4.61 in 2012.

Even though the Dodgers could be considered as the favorites for Dempster, it would be hard for the Cubs to pass up on Turner if they are indeed able to acquire him in a trade with Tigers. Though, it is possible that the Cubs acquire Gould, Withrow, and Turner. That would mean that the Cubs would have to trade Dempster to the Dodgers, and then Garza to the Tigers. That could be a likely scenario as things play out prior to the July 31 trade deadline.