Cubs add Germano; Dempster deal near?

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs starter Ryan Dempster could be traded before his scheduled start on Friday night in St. Louis.

Trade talks on Dempster are fluid, a major league source told ESPNChicago.com on Thursday. Furthermore, the source said the team is preparing to have replacements in St Louis in case a deal is completed for the veteran starter.

In what could be the first move of an active weekend, the Cubs acquired pitcher Justin Germano from the Boston Red Sox for a cash consideration on Thursday. In a corresponding transaction, right-hander Jairo Asencio was designated for assignment.

Germano, who turns 30 on Aug. 6, is 8-20 with a 4.91 ERA in 80 major league games. He is expected to be with the club Friday in St. Louis. Numerous reports indicate that Germano won’t be alone -- right-hander Casey Coleman will also be on hand to pitch in case Dempster is traded or Germano has any travel issues.

As one of baseball’s hottest pitchers, Dempster represents a valuable trade chip for the Cubs. The 35-year-old has not allowed a run in his past 33 innings, spanning five starts. His 1.86 ERA is the lowest in the majors.

Dempster has 10-5 trade protection rights, meaning he must approve any trade before it can be made. He is making a prorated amount of the $14 million dollars he is owed in the last year of a four-year contract.