A little bit ago┬áin the latest Lukewarm Stove, I noted that, unless the Los Angeles Dodgers were suddenly willing to include top pitching prospects Zach Lee, Allen Webster or Chris Reed in a deal for Ryan Dempster, it would be hard to argue that the talks between the Cubs and Dodgers were “gaining momentum” unless the Cubs were capitulating. And then Ken Rosenthal reported that the Cubs were “bending over backwards” to make a Dempster/L.A. deal happen.

Add those together, and you get the sense that none of those bigger three arms are being discussed in these talks.

And, unfortunately, Kevin Goldstein says that’s precisely the case. In a Twitter conversation that started with George Ofman tweeting that Garrett Gould – a lesser Dodgers pitching prospect – would likely be involved in a Cubs/Dodgers/Dempster trade, I noted that his inclusion would mean Lee and Webster were not included (on the belief that there’s no way the Cubs could get Gould AND one of Lee or Webster). Goldstein responded to me that Lee and Webster are “absolutely not in play for Dempster.” From there, Goldstein added that all three of Lee, Webster, and Reed are off the table in the Dempster talks.

Obviously you have to regard all rumors this time of year suspiciously – the Dodgers have an incentive to put the word out that they won’t part with a top piece for Dempster, a guy they’ve said they don’t really like (more spin?), and a guy on whom the Cubs have very little leverage. But, if the Cubs move Dempster to the Dodgers, it sounds like it’s going to be a “multiple middling pieces” type deal rather than a “one top piece” deal.

UPDATE: We’re not going to do the update dance again, are we? (Answer to my own rhetorical question: no, probably not. Too many posts today given the BNBlogathon for me to keep updating just one. If big, new Dempster info comes forward, it’ll probably get its own post.) Jim Bowden says the Cubs ideally do want to get Dempster to LA (why? because that’s the only place he’ll go? or because they really are trying to do him a favor? I doubt that latter one), but they won’t take a crap return just to do it. You probably already knew this.

UPDATE 2 (at 3:32pm CT): Apparently Tim Kurkjian was on the radio today saying that, ultimately, he thinks the Braves will suck up their pride and put Randall Delgado back on the table for Dempster. That’s great and all, but it presumes Dempster will, in turn, finally relent and go to Atlanta. We’ve learned in recent days that he still might be willing to go there, but we certainly don’t know for sure.

UPDATE 3 (at 3:53pm CT): Jayson Stark tweets: “One exec who spoke with #Nationals says: ‘If I looked up and saw that Washington traded for Ryan Demoster it wouldn’t be a surprise.'” It would be a surprise to me, if only because we don’t yet know that Dempster would accept a trade to DC. It wouldn’t surprise me in the sense that Dempster is a perfect fit for the Nats.

UPDATE 4 (at 2:12am CT): Ken Rosenthal says he’s got sources telling him Dempster “remains adamant that he will only approve a trade to the Dodgers.” Maybe everything in the last few days has been mere spin control after all.

  • gutshot5820

    It’s 7:30 AM. You think it’s too early for Theo to call Dempster to approve a trade it they had one worked out over the night?

  • aCubsFan

    Dan Pleasac last night tweeted that one way or another today would be Dempster’s last start in Chicago. I have to wonder if the Cubs don’t get a trade done from Dempster if they immediately put him on waivers.

    • J R

      I have thought it was a mistake to throw Dempster out on the mound his last 5 starts. But apparently the front office think it’s hillarious to pitch him when all this is going on.. So I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see him out there today.

      • JP cubed

        Either he’s traded at the deadline or he’s not starting. If I’m the cubs FO at this point you have to keep the hostage as they’ve done the whole time. They have said if there isn’t a good return coming back he’s going to be a cub. The FO has been letting it ride all year so why would they stop now.

        • gutshot5820

          Agreed. They drew the line on what type of return the wanted on Dempster. If they cross that line this time, they will do it again and again and will always take the worst of it in future negotiations. It is apparent, they are not going to trade valuable pieces unless they get what they feel is proper value.

      • David

        If he pitches today, it’ll be after the deadline. “all this” would be pretty much over.

  • 100 Years of Tears

    So, who starts for the Cubs tonight?

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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