CHICAGO -- With reports Tuesday saying that Ryan Dempster’s preference is to move to Los Angeles, the Cubs’ bargaining power with the Dodgers might not be as strong now.
Dempster has the right to veto any trade, a honor earned by playing at least 10 seasons and at least the last five with the same club.
The idea has always been for the Cubs to not only look for the best return of players on a Dempster trade, but to also work with the right-hander so that he can move to a team he desires.
The Dodgers are not only in contention, an obvious preference of Dempster, but they play in the National League, where Dempster has been dominating. And as foxsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal pointed out Tuesday, Dempster and Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly are good friends.
Indications are that the Cubs have asked the Dodgers about the availability of their top pitching prospect Zach Lee, but handing over Dempster alone is not believed to be enough to pry Lee off the Dodgers’ hands.
Complicating matters is that Dempster's contract expires at the end of the season and Lee is a high price to pay for what potentially could be a rental player.
Reports have also suggested the Cubs could trade both Dempster and Matt Garza to the Dodgers, which could to be enough to land Lee and more. The Cubs could also sweeten the deal by trading Dempster along with a prospect of their own, or perhaps by including Bryan LaHair in talks.
Just because Dempster has a preference for the Dodgers, though, doesn’t make it a foregone conclusion that he is heading West. And as the Cubs had every intention of helping Dempster get what he desires, Dempster is also believed to be understanding to the desires the Cubs have in a return package of players.
Speculation has centered around Dempster being dealt before his next outing. He is scheduled to pitch again Friday at St. Louis. The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31.