The Los Angeles Dodgers, desperate to fill a gap in their starting rotation, are making a play for Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster.
The Dodgers have yet to mention the names of the players they would send in return but the Cubs are reportedly seeking prospects of all sorts. The question may be exactly who the Dodgers can offer. Pitcher Zach Lee, selected by the Dodgers with their first pick in the 2010 draft, is the prospect most often mentioned in trade rumors. Lee, 20, is currently 0-2 with an 8.82 ERA at the Dodgers Double A affiliate in Tennessee.
Dempster, 35, is 5-3 with an ERA of 1.86 this season. He has not allowed a run in his last five starts, a total of 33 innings. Dempster is in the final year of a contract scheduled to pay him $14 million so he might be just a “rental” as far as the Dodgers are concerned.
The Dodgers have two starting pitchers, Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley, on the disabled list. Lilly is on the 60 day disabled list with shoulder problems. GM Ned Colletti said Lilly might still be able to return this season. Billingsley (4-9) was recently added to the 15 day DL with a sore elbow although he was already in the Dodgers “doghouse” after losing his previous five starts. Manager Don Mattingly revamped the rotation during the All-Star break moving Billingsley from the number two spot in the rotation to number four.
Fifth starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-6) has been up and down this year. He gave up a total of 13 runs in his final two June starts but has given up a total of just four runs in his first two July starts.
Meanwhile, there is a question of whether obtaining an aging veteran like Dempster would be counter to team president Stan Kasten’s remarks that fixing the Dodgers “probably can’t be done overnight.” Kasten said trades should “be governed by reason” and “make sense long term.” You can read Kasten’s thoughts here.