As Ryan Dempster continues to pitch well, and as the Cubs continue to look like a team that, while plucky, probably aren’t going to seriously contend for a playoff spot come September, Dempster’s name will continue to bounce around trade rumor circles.

From Ken Rosenthal:

Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster, an obvious trade candidate, would be even more likely to be moved if the team signed righty Matt Garza to a contract extension.

Keep in mind, though, that Dempster, 35, effectively would control the process. As a player with 10 years of major-league service, five with the same club, he has the right to veto any deal.

Dempster, earning $14 million in the final year of his contract, is eligible for free agency at the end of the season. He likely would consider any proposals on a case-by-case basis, with the usual variables coming into play.

Players typically require inducements to waive their no-trade protection, either in the form of a cash bonus or contract extension. Dempster, though, already would cost nearly $5 million for two months unless the Cubs included cash in the deal to “buy” better prospects.

The Cubs might need to do just that — under the new CBA, potential free agents traded in the middle of a season no longer are eligible for draft-pick compensation. The new rule diminishes their trade value; the acquiring teams no longer can count on getting a draft pick, or picks, to replace the prospects they lost.

The CBA point is an important one, as Dempster – assuming he keeps pitching well – would have been a candidate to be made a one-year, qualifying offer (about $12.5 million) after the season ends. And, given that he’s probably looking at one last decent free agent score, he probably would have declined. That would have made him much more valuable in the trade market.

As it stands, the only team eligible to make such an offer to Dempster is the Cubs, if they keep him. The draft pick compensation would be nice, but keep in mind: whereas Dempster would likely reject such an offer from the other 29 teams, are we certain he would reject it from his adopted hometown team?

That must weigh in the calculus of the Cubs’ decision on whether or not to trade Dempster. The acquiring team is getting a true rental player – possibly a very good one, but a rental player just the same – and that value may not exceed whatever value Dempster (plus the possibility of compensation) has to the Cubs. In that scenario, the Cubs might elect to hold onto Dempster, even if they know they don’t want to re-sign him, and even if they know they have no chance at the playoffs in 2012.

This, of course, all ignores Dempster’s no-trade rights, which, as Rosenthal points out, could be exercised and leveraged in any number of ways.

As I’ve said before, the ideal outcome here is that Dempster wants to go to a contender, and the Cubs can pick up a couple prospects in a deal (perhaps one in which they include some cash to incentivize the trading team to up the prospect bounty). That would remove the uncertainty attached to the decision about whether to make a qualifying offer to Dempster in the offseason, or to sign him to a new deal.

Finally, I have to disagree with Ken on the presumption that a Matt Garza extension makes trading Ryan Dempster more likely. I see it as neutral, or possibly in the other direction. As we’ve recently discussed, signing Garza to an extension may signal the Cubs’ intention to build a contender in the next two years, which could make the Cubs more willing to bring Dempster back on a short-term deal. Further, if the Cubs don’t extend Garza, and instead trade him for prospects, wouldn’t that make them more likely to trade Dempster?

  • King Jeff

    What kind of deal would you see him getting if he hit the open market? At 35 years old, he’s probably limited to a 2 or 3 year deal around his current salary if he keeps pitching the way he has been.

    I think the Cubs need to strike while the iron is hot and talk Dempster into accepting a trade while his value is this high. I can’t help but think that he’d be one of the top arms available at the deadline, and I don’t think it’s likely that it would work out for the Cubs to get a 1rst round supplemental.

    • Brett

      If he only regresses slightly the rest of the year (he has to regress a bit), I could see him getting three years and maybe $12 million per. Harder to project in this new environment.

  • al

    I think both Dempster and Garza will be back. Just my thought.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      I think they will both be gone, so we have a real coin flip here. If this is the case we could settle on one being gone and call it a day.

      • RY34

        holy crap, i hope you are wrong, we need to extend garza unless we get a kings ransom for him!

  • Peter O

    Basically for players that project to decline a qualifying offer, teams are going to need to trade for a better prospect than they can acquire in the comp round of the draft. That’s a pretty high value prospect. It’s going to be interesting to see how the trade deadline shakes out this year.

  • EQ76

    Too early to be talking as sellers.. If our closer(s) didn’t suck so bad, we’d be a game or two out of first place. This team isn’t as bad as people think.

  • baseballet

    I’m completely ignorant regarding how draft pick compensation works. In a hypothetical trade where the Cubs trade Dempster to the Yankees for a prospect, does one team automatically receive a draft pick? And how is this result different from what would have happened pre-CBA?

    • Kyle

      Not trades. Free agency.

      Under the old CBA:

      If you had a player file for free agency, you had the option to offer him arbitration. If he accepted, eventually an arbiter would decide his salary for the next year with your team. If he declined, and went on to another team, you would get draft pick compensation. There were different tiers of players (decided by some stupid formula written by Elias Sports) that decided how much compensation. If you lost a Type A player, you would get the signing team’s top draft pick (excluding picks in the first half of the first round) plus a supplemental pick added to the end of the first round.

      Under the new CBA:

      Instead of offering arbitration, you have to offer the player a one-year deal that represents a certain percentile of major-league salaries. It should be around $12.5 million. If the player declines and then signs with another team, you get an extra draft pick added to the end of the first round. However, unlike the old CBA, you are only eligible for compensation if you had the player for at least one entire season before he left.

      • baseballet

        Thanks Kyle!

      • Rowengartner

        Thanks Kyle for explaining this.

  • Ben

    the end of this month will be very telling…..9 games against not great teams but 6 on road….If somehow cubs came out of that 6-3 or 7-2 maybe it jump start something…..I apologize for the optimism

    • Brett

      Yeah. Keep that optimistic filth to yourself. :)

      • Ben

        haha I need the optimism every now and then….these last few years have been tough….If LaHair has allstar first half does he net a teams’s top10 prospect if traded? Can he adequately play LF?

        • Brady

          I say stick him in LF. His trade value wont be much since this is his first real stint in the Majors where whe wasnt hobbled by an injury and I know he played LF in the minors for a bit. All things considered, he couldn’t be that worse of a defenseman than Soriano and his bat seems to be a lot better. At least people are starting to try and pitch around him. I think he would be great protection to Rizzo when he comes up and hopefully force people to give him good pitches to hit. Also optimism only works when your drunk and winning. This team has turned many a good night into a drunken rage.

  • Beer Baron

    Would it be at all legal for the two sides to work out a handshake deal where Dempster agrees to waive his no trade in return for the Cubs agreeing to sign him to a 3 year deal in the off season? I know guys have come back after being traded mid-season, but can they actually negotiate a quid pro quo agreement like that? Short of that, I really don’t see him accepting a trade – he wants to stay in Chicago and he holds all the cards because he knows they will almost certainly make a qualifying offer and bring him back for at least a 1 more year. I think a deal like that would be a win-win — even if it is not entirely legal.

    • Bric

      Really don’t know the answer to your question, just wanted to respond to the beer baron. I see you strutting around out there in your new hat as if to say “Look, I have a new hat”.

      • calicubsfan007

        Love the comment! Funny (=

    • calicubsfan007

      I can’t imagine that being illegal. Teams do a lot of things to convince players to accept a trade to another team. But leave it up to Spud Selig to ruin that part of baseball too. There is a Beer Baron on Youtube with the same picture, is that you too?

    • hansman1982

      Openly agreeing to that would be illegal because you would, in effect, have an agreement with another teams player before they became a free agent. Now Theo could have the discussion where he said if there was a free agent similar to Ryan he would be potentially willing to offer XYZ and Ryan could say that if he were a free agent he would want to see a contract around ABC so both sides knew where the other stood.

      • calicubsfan007

        It isn’t so much of it being a agreement as it is being a basic idea of plans for the offseason. And there is so many things that go on under the table with these kind of things.

  • calicubsfan007

    I see Dempster leaving more likely and sooner than Garza because of the age difference. If we keep Dempster, it would really contradict the whole rebuilding the organization from the minors. Still hoping Detriot offers us something, they have some nice young players.

  • Diamond Don

    Dempster for Smyly at the trade deadline. Then
    resign Demp next year for two years. Sign Garza
    to a 5 year contract. Rotation next year:

    • Brady

      If we could do that it would be amazing to bring Demp back after trading him for Smyly (I dont think we will be that fortunate but I would gladly take it).

  • KCubsfan

    During Spring training Dempster told MLB radio that, if the Cubs came to him with a trade he would waive is 5 and 10 rights. Not because he wants to leave Chicago but because The Cubs have done so much for him. So he would be willing to return the favor. So I dont see the 5 and 10 being an issue.

  • RicoSanto

    Diamond Don Not a bad idea. I think demp would go for 2 years for maybe 6 or 7 per year to stay wit the cubbies.I dont think the cubs want to pay him anything like he is making this year.Then sign a top free agent for RF Eithier, or I doubt Hamilton.Eitheir will be way cheaper than Hamilton. Dejesus and Campana 4th and 5th OF.Jackson in Cf. 3B and 2b are the questions.Ill give Stewart until the all star break to see if he can be the 20 Hr .270 hitter we need His glove has been pretty good lately.He hasbeen real bad in the clutch especially aganst lefties

    • hansman1982

      mind you this is a tiny sample size but in the last 4 games here is the line Stewart has put up.

      .313 .389 .625
      BABIP .308

      The only reason I mention it is the BABIP is in a normal range and he is MASHING.

      • Brady

        Yea I think if he continues to play like he has been he will be fine unless a cant refuse option drops into our lap, which I dont think it will.

    • Brady

      I say leave Dejesus in RF if he can keep his OBP where it is at. He is doing a splendid job for cheap and I think that money would be better used to bring in some pitching help (mostly bullpen but if Garza and/or Demp get traded we will need more starters who can keep a game within reach).

  • KCubsfan

    Here is the ideal trade would be Dempster to the Blue Jays for AJ Jimenez (Catcher) and one of these pitcher Aaron Sanchez (RHP), Justin Nicolino (LHP) and Noah Syndergaard (RHP). All of the pitchers are in A ball but Jimenez is in AA and is a very good Defensive catcher with a good bat and power potential.

    • Myles

      Well, the ideal trade would be to the Nats for Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos, and Stephen Strasburg.

      • hansman1982

        eh, I would rather have Zimmerman. I don’t trust Strasburg’s mechanics.

  • Kevin

    Sign Garza to 6 yr extension and maybe Demster to a 3 tr deal at a discount.

  • die hard

    Agree..Dempster needs to go sooner than later as his value can only go down….maybe other team would take Soriano too if Cubs agree to throw in a draft choice besides picking up salary…need to get him out of the way for up and comers…

  • RicoSanto

    People keep making lineups for next year that only have current cub players(Majors and Minors).Theo will have some money to make 2 or 3 great acqusitions. We could give Eithier 6 years 95 mill. If Jackson is not good we could put Dejesus in CF. I agree he is a very good ball player, especially in RF.We doi not want a bunch of Class A pitchers.I think Theo plans to contend next year

    • Brady

      True but Dejesus is signed through next season and is performing admirably in RF as a leadoff hitter. I wouldnt mind moving him to CF if Bjax doesnt perform but overall I would love us to gather more pitching. If we can get a solid pitcher to replace Volstad in the rotation and some bullpen arms that can hit the broadside of the strikezone with relative consistency.

  • nkniacc

    You can’t trade draft choices

  • nkniacc

    I think Hamels maybe a player the cubs go hard after. I don’t think you see the Cubs go after a OF for that kind of money but i wouldn’t be surprised to see them go hard after a 2b or 3b

    • Brady

      It all depends. If Rizzo and Bjax get called up mid season and start failing really hard we could realistically use that kind of outfield help. Lahair could stay at first but I’d rather not see Soriano in LF if we can get a better bat up there.

  • Njriv

    Could you imagine if Dempster keeps pitching like he is to the deadline and the Cubs trade him to the Tigers and they give up more than they have to like either Smyly and Crosby or Smyly and Castellanos or even just Smyly, then in the off-season the Cubs sign Dempster to a cheap contract and sign guys like Hamels and a power hitter like Ethier/Napoli, etc.? Realistic or not I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it!

    • Brady

      You know what I can imagine? Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings…. oh wait you were being serious.

      • Njriv

        I was really talking about my team on MLB 12 The Show.

        • Brady

          lol I play that too and my Cubbies are beast. I’m only like 15 games into the season and Stewart has 8 HR, Lahair and Rizzo have 5 a piece and last night I actually pinch hit in Dejesus and he hit a grandslam just like in real life. It was amazing.

          • drew

            Im in 2014 with Voglebach destroying AA pitching to start the year.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    At this point who in Gods name would you put in the starting rotation if you traded Dempster?
    We can’t find a bullpen pitcher let alone a starter! The only chance the Cubs have at any type of success is to get Dempster to resign for a couple more years. Sign Garza and hope we can develop another starter. Which we have had ZERO success at doing. So what does a prospect get us. Something that some other team is willing to part with and not their best guy. Look at what we have gotten in trades thus far made by boy genius. This is going to be a slow rebuilding process through the draft and via fee agency. We are not going to get a superstar prospect for Ryan Dempster. He should be re-signed to be a 3, 4 or 5 starter. We have to sign a very good starter in free agency this off season.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I would love to hear from someone with a plan on how we put a replacement pitcher in place if we move Dempster. We don’t have anyone who can pitch 3 innings and keep a game close outside of the 4 decent starters we currently have. Keeping Dempster around for a couple more years helps this system grow a starter or two from somewhere. Looking to improve this team via the trade route is not going to work. We will never get anything in return worth having. Theo doesn’t hold any cards. All Dempster has to do is say no thank you. If they piss him off he simply waits on free agency and cashes in big somewhere instead of possibly getting a team friendly two year deal to stay in Chicago so we can bridge the gap.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Bringing up Wood is a pretty good idea. Pitching out of the 5 hole he won’t face any world beaters and he will have a slight chance at success if we can only score some runs and hold a lead. I look at success this year as if we are playing high school 7 inning games. If we can win to the 7th with our starters that’s a win. If we could only change the rules so all MLB games are 7 innings vs 9 we would probably be in pretty good shape. Why wouldn’t Theo bring up Rusin and Wood both. We obviously have all kinds of places for them to pitch in Chicago. Clearing 25 and 40 man roster spots is easy in the bullpen. Anybody who gets DFA’d and waivered will be back in AAA in a week. We haven’t lost a player yet being claimed. Like why in the hell would we want to keep any of these guys who suck so bad that nobody else in baseball wants to claim them?

    • bob

      Um…tonight our #5 gets to go against Halladay. Isn’t that “world beater” enough?

  • Deez

    Let’s Face It!
    The Cubs are competitive, but will not compete for the Division or the Wild Card maybe for another 2 years.
    Why hold 2 talented highly paid pitchers when you can get quality prospects for cheap that can build your organization for the long run?
    We are not the Yankees or the Red Sox as far as organizational or on field talent right now. We are not 1 player away. Why would you tie somewhere near $30M/yr in 2 pitchers for a team that’s at least 2 years away.
    Sometimes the best thing for both parties is to move on, more importantly, aging highly paid veterans spending the best parts of their careers fighting to stay out of the cellar is not good for the organization.

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