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How I haven’t been classifying this as an Obsessive Watch, I’ll never know. When you’re one of the five most valuable trade chips on the market, and you’re the most obvious piece to be moved, there’s going to be a whole lot written about you.

So it is with Ryan Dempster, about whom we’re going to keep hearing a ton of rumors until he’s actually dealt (much of it conflicting – that’s just the way these things play out; I’ll do my best to steer you in the right direction). In the last 20 hours, alone …

  • We keep hearing about the Dodgers, who are considered by most to be the clear frontrunner for Dempster. A “high-ranking Cubs official” tells Bob Nightengale that, yup, the Dodgers are the leaders.
  • The Dodgers are also Dempster’s preferred destination, according to Ken Rosenthal. His second preference is to go to the Braves, but he’s open to going to any contender, depending on the deals offered up by the other participants in the bidding. Buster Olney adds that, from the perspective of building value for his next contract, the Dodgers are a good fit for Dempster (I presume he means not only because it’s a nice place to pitch (and is in the NL), but also because the Dodgers are expected to spend a fair bit this Winter, and getting Dempster now might make them more likely to make a handsome extension offer).
  • Ah, but Toni Ginnetti says the Dodgers are no longer the frontrunner for Dempster, and the possible leaders instead being other names we’ve heard, including the Tigers, Red Sox, and Braves (she says the Nationals and Yankees aren’t as interested as we might have heard). I can’t quite see a reason why the Dodgers’ interest in Dempster would have cooled, except possibly that the Cubs’ asking price remains steep. We’ve heard that the Dodgers may have already offered Garrett Gould and Chris Withrow (which would be an acceptable, but unsexy return), but could the Cubs be holding out for …
  • The Dodgers’ top prospect is easily pitcher Zach Lee. A 20-year-old righty, Lee is a top 100 prospect and is already at AA (though he’s struggled through four starts). He would seem to be too much to ask for Dempster, alone, but maybe the Cubs are holding out anyway. Or, as Doug Padilla suggests, the Cubs could be trying to include Bryan LaHair or a prospect in order to net Lee in a Dempster trade. The fact that it has become relatively widely known that Dempster’s preference is to go to the Dodgers could hurt the Cubs’ leverage slightly.
  • Paul Sullivan suggests a pitcher that could be coming back to the Cubs is Stephen Fife, the 25-year-old who started well last night for the Dodgers. He’s not a terrifically impressive pitcher, who put up so-so numbers in the minors, mostly in the Red Sox organization. He could possibly be a serviceable back-end starter, but that’s not the kind of guy the Cubs should be targeting in these Dempster talks (his numbers suggest a Casey Coleman type). I’d have no problem with him as an inclusion, mind you, just not the centerpiece.
  • David Schoenfield says in a chat that Dempster’s value is right around a couple B/B+ prospects (which sounds right to me, for what it’s worth), but that Jacob Turner’s stock has dropped sufficiently that he could be in play in a Dempster deal (even with the stock drop, if the Tigers are willing to send Turner for Dempster, I scream with delight and jump on it).
  • Njriv

    Literally just read and article that said Dodgers were the front runner for Dempster and I logged on here and see an article saying that they are not?! All this trade talk is making me crazy! *Chucks laptop out the window*

    • Internet Random

      . . . this trade talk is making me crazy!

      These pretzels are making me thirsty.

      • Jimmy james

        Serenity now! Insanity later…..

  • WiCubsFan

    I would like to see him go to Detroit and rip a part the White Sox. Then again, as long as we get a solid arm (or two) in return, I don’t really care where he ends up.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Still think the Angels slide in and get Dempster

  • PJ

    Can we keep him for twelve more scoreless innings so that he can set the Cubs record?

    • dreese

      I think he only needs one more for the cubs record. Im not sure what the ML record is though.

      • @cubsfantroy

        I think it is like 51 1/3 or somewhere near there by Orel Hershiser.

        • Carew

          aint it 59?

        • Doug Dascenzo

          I thought it was around 56. The actual retail price is?

          • cubs217

            59 1/3 by Oral Hershiser

          • Jim L.

            It’s 59 or 58 2/3

    • PJ

      I read somewhere that the Cubs record is 44 innings set back in the ’20′s (a bit before my time).
      The MLB record is 59 1/3 by Hershiser who broke 56 by Drysdlae.
      BTW – if Dempster is traded to Dodgers and he should break the record, that would be three straight Dodgers to hold the record.

  • Jim

    I would prefer Chris Reed over Chris Withrow. Reed and Gould would be nice return for Dempster.

    • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

      I would like Chris Reed and Nate Evoaldi. If there top 6 prospects are pitchers surely they could give up 2 for a solid number # 2 starter. Demp could help get to the WS. They are not giving up there number # 1 Lee. Theo wants mlb ready prospects

  • Cheryl

    Somehow I think the Braves may be pulling up. Really can’t see him in Detroit or Boston

    • Patrick G

      Thats where I hope he goes. Plenty of good arms in that system

    • Brendan

      I agree. I think the switch to the AL may have some teams a bit more hesitant than those in the NL. Atlanta definitely has the more appealing pitching prospects in comparison to LA, and I can’t see them not going for things this year with it being Chipper’s last year.

  • JB88

    My god, if the Cubs somehow landed Turner and Detroit’s competitive balance draft pick, I might do cartwheels down my office halls. At a minimum, I’m thinking an extreme squeal would be in order.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Stephen Fife? More talent on the roster is better than less talent on the roster, but I’d rather the Cubs give Rusin and Raley a shot in Chicago’s rotation before sticking Fife in it.

    I half suspect Sullivan saw a young Dodgers pitcher in the box score and decided to start speculating.

    • tim815

      You don’t think Fife would Drum up support. I keed.

    • Quintz

      I was thinking the same thing. If I were to suggest Fife as a centerpiece for Dempster I would have gotten lambasted on this site. Oh how I long to be a blow hard print guy.

  • scorecardpaul

    We might be waiting for the new CBA bonus draft pick thingy. I think the teams should know who gets a pick by early afternoon, and those draft picks next year can be traded right now????

  • Dan

    I have a feeling Dempster will be traded tomorrow. The Cubs are eyeing the draft lottery today that Detroit is involved in. If Detroit lands a good pick, like around the 35th pick, then I think it may sway the Cubs to get that pick plus a B prospect or two. I believe the Cubs are committed to building this team through the draft and this will help add that extra pick.

    • Dan

      70th pick**

  • Dustin S

    On the Dodgers interest…there’s no real way to know because I doubt they changed their mind about being interested all of the sudden. More likely it is either just posturing as part of the negotiations, or the other possibility is that another team has made a big offer the Dodgers aren’t willing to come close to (a good sign for the Cubs). The Tigers big prospects have always been the most exciting ones, but Dempster might not be thrilled with moving his family to Detroit.

    Who knows, the way things have gone probably some random mystery team that no one expected will swoop in.

    • D.G.Lang

      He doesn’t have to move his family to Detroit if he doesn’t plan on resigning with them.

      Shortly after I moved from Chicago toCentral Florida, I had to take a three month assignment in New Jersy. It was a great deal for me with free housing, parking and monthly bonus and I actually wound up spending less than three full monthe there.

      I was able to fly my wife up for a visit as well. We toured parts of New York and statue of liberty one weekend. While we were on top of the world trade center, I became very worried about a plane hitting it.

  • coby

    If he does go to the Dodgers, I hope it’s not similar to a Maddux for DeWitt deal. That would be horrible.

    • Edwin

      Maddux landed Izturis.

      Lilly landed DeWitt, and got rid of Theriot.

      • http://none millhah

        interchangeable. both were terrible deals.

    • TakingWrigleyToSãoPaulo

      I have it in my head that theo is smarter than that and has built a smarter team but we´ll see soon enough…

      • Scotti

        Not a matter of smarter but a matter of the situations being different. A) More teams in the hunt means 1) more teams needing pitching and 2) fewer teams willing to give up pitching. B) neither Maddux nor Lilly were red hot like Dempster is. And C) the financial effects of moving these types of contracts is much easier than when, say, Lilly was moved. This is, afterall, a dump and no one is suggesting we’ll pick up a dime of it.

        As favorable as the trade market is, some speculation has Dempster netting B/B+ return. While I think that the Cubs should do better than that, it is because of having a more marketable player to move in a more marketable economy.

  • Grant

    Gould and Withrow for Demp makes sense if there aren’t 9+ other teams in the running for his services. Thankfully, there are 9+ other teams interested. I don’t see Gould and Withrow being the winning offer, and I half-expect to see LaHair tossed in to maybe net Lee, assuming a trade with the Dodgers happens.

    • Boogens

      Amen, brother. ;-)

  • Pingback: Lukewarm Stove: Today’s Competitive Balance Lottery Could Allow the Cubs to Pick up a Draft Pick in Trade | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

  • Patrick W.

    If he’s not traded today or tomorrow, I would love to see him make a start on his regular day’s rest tomorrow. One more at Wrigley. I don’t know why it matters, but I would really like to see it.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    As I mentioned in an earlier post this week Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti was in Chicago last week & spent time with Cubs execs talking trade. The Cubs asked him for the best return he could offer & Ned did give them names. Neither Lee or Reed were on that list.
    The Cubs are now looking elsewhere as are the Dodgers. Ned has set the deal parameters for 2 months of Dempster & is now looking for & at bigger names & dollars. Garza may be someone they will look at & would consider moving better prospects for.
    Garza & LaHair could net Lee, Reed, & Gould.

  • a_mazz_ing

    Atlanta has more arms than Goro from Mortal Kombat. I hope we can get Minor/Teheran/Delgado out of them. Or if Detroit wants to give us Turner, that’s 100% A-OK with me.

  • cubsin

    If Coletti won’t part with Zach Lee to get Dempster, I’d advise him to start polishing his resume.

    • Turn Two

      It’s their #1 pitching prospect for a 2 month rental pitcher.

      • hansman1982

        but, but, but, Dempster is a Cub so clearly he is awesome.

        Prime example #1: Barney, Darwn

      • Scotti

        The issue of “their #1 pitching prospect” just doesn’t matter. Afterall, who is our #1 pitching prospect? I’d trade ours for Dempster right now and we ain’t going nowhere! The question is Where does Lee fit in the overall community of prospects? From that aspect he fits just fine as a return for Demptser. Lee isn’t an elite prospect. He isn’t a plus, plus stuff kind of pitcher. LA might have their reasons for not moving Lee for Dempster but his being their best pitching prospect (regardless of where he is in the prospect universe) ain’t one of them.

        • Vladimir

          But their #1 pitching prospect happens to be their overall #1 prospect. I know our top 5 is probably better than theirs but would you trade Almora or maybe Baez for Dempster if we were in the opposite situation?

          • Scotti

            We have no reference for guys like Almora or other guys who have yet to play so, excluding those, would you trade our #3-5 prospect for a guy who is pitching like an Ace to help your legitimate playoff run? If not, good luck telling that to your fanbase and owner (remember, playoff games are worth 10M each game (gate, beer, t-shirts, ad buys) for teams like the Cubs and Dodgers). And, as an aside, Dempster is a guy that LA might sign for a couple years, too. Trading him to LA isn’t like trading him to KC.

          • Scotti

            FWIW, a pitching comp for Lee is probably what Brett Jackson is on the hititng side for us. Both could be good players. Both have issues and neither promise to be super stars. Lee is not Mark Prior or Kerry Wood.

            • Vladimir

              Ok then would you trade Brett Jackson for Dempster? Or would you do your darndest to negotiate down to maybe McNutt and someone in the 15-20 range? I’m just trying to put you in the Dodgers shoes since you seem so ready to trade away their #1 prospect for Demp. I’m asking you now. Would you trade Jackson or keep trying to negotiate down to still good but less ranked prospects?

              • Scotti

                Negotiate all you want but there is a world of difference between Jackson and McNutt (or someone in the 15-20 range). None of that gets you a Ryan Dempster in this type of market. Of course you negotiate but, despite being one of Brett Jackson’s biggest supporters on this Bleacher Nation, I’d trade him for Dempster in a heartbeat to get to the playoffs.

                • Edwin

                  Lee is top 50 prospect in all of baseball. Based on the value of a prospect (http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/7/20/950254/which-is-better-compensation) Lee is worth $12 to $15 million.

                  Even if the Cubs eat all of Dempster’s salary, he isn’t worth it.

                  • Richard Nose

                    Fact.

                  • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                    Some people are going to be really disappointed when the Cubs trade two months of a 35 year old pitcher for anything less than a team’s best prospect. If Theo can get Zach Lee, Shelby Miller or Jacob Turner for Ryan Dempster I think we ought to start building the statue.

                    • Edwin

                      And hey, maybe things change. There are a lot of moving parts (Dempster’s value, value of a prospect, value of a win), and maybe the new CBA changed all of that, and we need to come up with a new model, or new values. And maybe a GM does get desperate and decides to way overpay. It’s rare, but it happens.

                    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                      I would be real happy with a deal like the Mets got for Carlos Beltran last season, and Wheeler at the time had less value than any of the pitchers I named.

                  • Scotti

                    Sigh. Again, teams like the Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees, etc. pull that in per single playoff game. If the Dodgers believe that Dempster is the difference in making them a contender then he’s worth it. Also, regarding what Dempster is owed, you didn’t take into account what LEE is owed (he signed a five-year contract).

                    Regardless, if you go by that site, you’d never trade any top prospects–ever. Theo, of course, is a fool because–ta da–he traded Rizzo (and others).

                    More to the issue, my original post here was making the point that what a certain team’s #1 or #10 is is immaterial. It is where they are ranked within the context of the prospect universe. So what if a guy is a team’s #1? Is another team offering their #5 who happens to be a better player? You obviously go with the better player. Conversely, if a marginally decent prospect is your #1 (a #1 should be 30 or better in the prospect universe), you will have to dig deeper if another team’s offer of their #5 is better than your offer.

                    So, is Dempster worth a team’s #1? It depends on who that #1 is.

                    • Edwin

                      I agree with your point, just stating that a prospect is a teams #1 overall prospect doesn’t tell you much about how much they are worth.

                      My response was less about that and more to the fact that I just don’t see how Dempster is valuable enough to the Dodgers to give up Lee. If the Dodgers think that Dempster is that big of a difference in making the playoffs, then they obviously value Demspter much higher, and then Dempster would be worth the prospect value.

                      I think we disagree on how much a player at the deadline is worth, and how much a prospect is worth. I don’t think a player like Dempster can make enough of a difference to be worth a higher ranked prospect like Lee. The Dodgers would probably find a cheaper pitcher, or a position player upgrade instead of paying such a steep price to the Cubs. Or they might decide that it’s too expensive and just choose not to trade at all.

    • Vladimir

      Because it would make him look smarter.

  • Tony

    Detroit is desperate. They started slow and their back end pitching has been so so. I think Detroit will offer Turner or even Porcello in a deal to land Dempster. The back end of the Tigers rotation is week. Max Scherzer is a bit too erratic to do well in the post season. I think the Tigers make a move to grab Dempster to go along with Verlander and Fister. I think Detroit sends Turner or Porcello to Chicago. Pizza Pizza owner is very and I mean very impatient when it comes to his Tigers. Their farm system is all but Turner and Castellanos…maybe they get one or the other. Something else tells me that Marmol gets dealt to D-town. Valverde and Marmol would make a great Tums commercial together.

  • Mike

    Dodgers get: Dempster, LaHair 

    Cubs get: Lee, Reed 

    Indians get: Soriano 

    Cubs get: Scott Barnes 

    Royals get: Garza, Jackson, Lake, 
    Barnes, Russel

    Cubs get: Montgomery, Ordizzi, Myers, Smith 

    White Sox get: Camp, Johnson 

    Cubs get: Erik Johnson 

    Rays get: Soto, Dejesus 

    Cubs get:  Enny Romero

    Tigers get: Marmol, Maholm, Barney, Romero, Samardizija

    Cubs get: Jacob Turner, Bruce Rondon, Castellanos, McCann

  • Mike

    Dodgers get: Dempster, LaHair 

    Cubs get: Lee, Reed 

    Indians get: Soriano 

    Cubs get: Scott Barnes 

    Royals get: Garza, Jackson, Lake, 
    Barnes, Russel

    Cubs get: Montgomery, Ordizzi, Myers, Smith 

    White Sox get: Camp, Johnson 

    Cubs get: Erik Johnson 

    Rays get: Soto, Dejesus 

    Cubs get:  Enny Romero

    Tigers get: Marmol, Maholm, Barney, Romero, Samardizija

    Cubs get: Jacob Turner, Bruce Rondon, Castellanos, McCann

    What do you guys think? Realistic?

    • Daniel

      pipe dream

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      I wish that was realistic… If the Cubs got back Turner, Rondon, Castellanos, Lee, Reed, Odorozzi, Myers, and Montgomery I think the North Side would have to have a celebratory parade. That would literally be a a few systems worth of talent(depending on the system**cough cough white sox cough cough**)

    • Andrew

      Did you really waste your time putting that together? Ridiculous. This isn’t video game world dude. Be realistic and don’t waste everyone’s time with that garbage. Your the kinda guy who thinks if only you were gm you could solve all the cubs problems and have a roster full of all stars in just a couple days.

      • Andrew

        Oh I got an idea corpas and volstad for Jose Bautista That will work, right mike?

    • ryan

      I have no idea how Theo and Jed beat you out for their jobs.

  • Mike

    Any you think are possible? The tigers one is kinda just a dream

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Possible Cincy – Cubs Blockbuster deal : Garza, DeJesus, Baker, & H. Simpson to Reds for
    Leake, Cingrani, Stephenson.

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      I like that. I wonder what the Cubs would have to add to that deal to get Hamilton… Maybe Camp or Russel.

  • TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

    The speculation is tiring. If Demp is going to get traded before his next start it should be today before we move on to St. Louis. A bit concerned it’s taking so long because Theo and Jed don’t think the price is right. If they did, think a deal would have been consummated by now.

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