According to a tweet from Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, the Cubs are "trying to trade Ryan Dempster ASAP", and that the Red Sox are out of the race for the veteran, but still interested in Matt Garza. On Tuesday, Stark reported that the Cubs were trying to move Dempster by the end of this week, Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal reported that Dempster's preference was to go to the Dodgers, with the Braves as his second choice.
The Dodgers could definitely use another starter, especially after putting Chad Billingsley on the DL on Tuesday with right elbow inflammation, which is not a good sign long-term. Stephen Fife started on Tuesday and he pitched OK, but one strikeout to three walks isn't a long-term winning formula, and his minor league numbers scream mediocrity. Between Clayton Kershaw at the top and Fife at the back-end, the Dodgers are trotting out a pair of veterans in Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano, and the young Nathan Eovaldi. Capuano has been fine this year, while Harang and Eovaldi have been serviceable...but not much more than that. If Billingsley is going to be out an extended period of time, the Dodgers desperately need another starter, and Dempster would fit the bill perfectly.
As for the Braves, Dempster's other top choice...they're in an interesting spot. Ace Brandon Beachy is out for the rest of the year (and a good chunk of next year), and the rest of the rotation hasn't lived up to the standards set by the Braves organization. Veteran Tim Hudson has been solid as usual, and allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings today in a 3-2 win over the Giants. Mike Minor has been awful for most of the year, but his problems stem from a way too high homer rate, and sure enough, his last two starts have been quality ones, with Minor allowing three runs in 12 innings, walking four and striking out 13. After the Braves showed confidence in him by keeping him in the majors and demoting Randall Delgado to AAA to make room for Ben Sheets, I think the team is comfortable with him in the majors. Speaking of Sheets, he's made just one start this year, but it was a good one last Sunday, and there's no way that the Braves will punt on him quite yet. As for Tommy Hanson...the talented righty has had an enigmatic year, but like Minor, I don't think the team will punt. I don't think that the Braves would be a very good match for Dempster and the Cubs.
With Dempster due to start tomorrow for the Cubs in St Louis, I'm going to assume that GM Jed Hoyer is going to try his damndest to get a deal done before then, so we don't have a flashback to Ubaldo Jimenez pitching an inning for the Rockies last year after getting traded. There are plenty of teams out there with a need for pitching, but with the Dodgers and Braves as Dempster's stated preferences, I'd wager that he winds up with one of those teams...and I'm going to lean towards the Dodgers.
Photo courtesy of Daylife.com
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