This flies in the face of a great deal of what we’ve heard, but I’ve been told by a source to trust Dave Kaplan’s sources, so, by that game of telephone, I trust the following …
Dave Kaplan reports that, not only have two additional teams – aside from the Los Angeles Dodgers – emerged as suitors for Ryan Dempster, but also that Dempster is willing to approve a deal to any of the three teams. From Kap:
Baseball sources have confirmed to me that three teams are in play for Ryan Dempster and he will approve a deal to any of the three teams if the Cubs can agree on a suitable return in exchange for the veteran right-hander who is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who have long been Dempster’s preferred destination will have to increase their offer as the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have stepped up their pursuit over the last 48 hours.
Kap adds some quotes from baseball sources, who reiterate that Dempster is willing to go to a number of teams besides the Dodgers.
Once again, this smacks of an attempt to pressure the Dodgers into increasing their offer (heck, Kaplan even says it), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also true. Why wouldn’t the Cubs want the Dodgers to feel pressured to increase their offer?
UPDATE: I know you’re going to go nuts thinking about the Rangers possibilities, but allow guys like Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, and Martin Perez to fall far, far from your minds. Probably even the next tier of guys, too (that’s how good the Rangers’ system is).
UPDATE 2 (at 8:56am CT): Multiple reports have Shane Victorino going to the Dodgers for reliever Josh Lindblom and another pitcher. You’re wondering, why is this a Ryan Dempster update? Well, if the Dodgers land Victorino, they’re out on Alfonso Soriano. And, without Soriano’s inclusion, the Cubs may not be able to swing a decent deal with the Dodgers. Maybe it won’t matter if all of the above is true, but more bidders is always better, even if one of them is LA.
UPDATE 3 (at 9:25am CT): And, quickly, the national guys swoop in to say the Yankees have no interest in Ryan Dempster. Clearly someone in the Yankees’ front office wanted to get that word out quickly. Why exactly, I’m not sure. Danny Knobler suggests this entire angle is, indeed, just a ploy to gain leverage with the Dodgers (which has been contended for days).
UPDATE 4 (at 9:29am CT): Kaplan quickly comes back, “Yankees have talked about Dempster with the Cubs. They are not as motivated as Texas and the LA Dodgers.”
UPDATE 5 (at 9:46am CT): Phil Rogers describes the Rangers’ interest in Dempster as “at least tire-kicking.” That’s not altogether encouraging.
UPDATE 6 (at 9:54am CT): In the most transparently bogus leak of the season, which could apply to both Dempster and Matt Garza, a source tells Ken Rosenthal, “Rangers consider quality of available starting pitchers to be ‘minimal.’ May wait until August waiver period to see if that changes.” Come on, Rangers. Do you really expect us to believe you think the starting pitching market is going to go appreciably up in August?
UPDATE 7 (at 10:00am CT): Ken didn’t agree with me, saying that more teams might fall out of the race in August, and make more players available. That’s all well and good, but those players have to clear waivers to be dealt in August (or can be dealt only to the team who claimed them). How many big-money pitchers are out there, not currently available, are much better than who’s out there now, and who would clear waivers? That Venn Diagram looks awfully small to me.
UPDATE 8 (at 10:03am CT): Ken concedes that he probably could have worded his originally tweet better, saying that his source told him that the Rangers see “minimal attractive talent” right now. So, the Rangers weren’t necessarily saying there might be better talent in August, they were saying there might be more talent in August. Which could be true.
UPDATE 9 (at 10:59am CT): Tim Brown says Shane Victorino to the Dodgers is done for reliever Josh Lindblom and AA starter Ethan Martin. So, Soriano to the Dodgers is toast. Interestingly, that package was briefly rumored a few days ago to be the offer for Ryan Dempster. I think someone got their signals crossed.
UPDATE 10 (at 11:06am CT): Now this is interesting. Ken Rosenthal says the Dodgers “remain focused” on getting Ryan Dempster, and want him even if they acquire another pitcher. That cuts against various reports that the Dodgers don’t even really like Dempster that much. Hmm.
UPDATE 11 (at 11:15am CT): Multiple additional sources say the Dodgers are now pushing hard for Dempster. Does that mean they will finally put one of their three untouchables – Zach Lee, Allen Webster, or Chris Reed – back on the table? The pessimist in me doubts it.