The significance here is that the Cubs are willing to pay a large portion of his salary in order to obtain better prospects, though that part probably isn't too much of a surprise either, since the Cubs aren't looking to save money here. They're looking to acquire as much talent as possible. Rosenthal mentions the Dodgers as a suitor, a team we speculated on before. The Dodgers best pitching prospect, and best prospect overall, is RHP Zach Lee. Whether the Cubs can obtain him for Dempster though is questionable. The Dodgers have shown the proclivity to trade top prospects in the past when they've been contenders (i.e. Carlos Santana), so we can't rule it out, especially in a package deal. I speculated on other names earlier this week. Nick Cafardo suggests the Dodgers may be ready to "pull the trigger" on Dempster, which suggests the Cubs may already have made an offer, though I don't want to read too much into that.
Rosenthal also names the Orioles, but they are a bit of an odd fit because of their top heavy system. SS Manny Machado and RHP Dylan Bundy are among baseball's top 10 prospects, maybe top 5 It's very unlikely the Cubs can obtain either of them in a deal. By the same token, it will be nearly impossible for the Orioles to pick up Matt Garza without including one of those players. It appears that this type of deal is probably a stalemate from the start.
Dempster is a possibility, however, as is Alfonso Soriano, a player whom the Orioles had shown interest in earlier in the year. The Orioles don't have much, however, beyond their big two. There's Jonathan Schoop, a 20 year old high ceiling 2B-SS-3B who's already reached AA, though he has struggled (.245/.303/.323). He has the kind of athleticism, bat speed, and mental makeup the Cubs like, however.
I've heard the Orioles seem to want to move LHP Chris Tillman, who was once a top prospect, but now has just an 89-91 mph FB with little movement. The Cubs have enough guys like that who have to hit their spots to succeed. Maybe for Soriano, you take a flyer on a former top prospect and hope it comes out better than it has with Chris Volstad so far -- though I like Volstad's stuff better than Tillman's.
Rosenthal notes also that the Blue Jays are asking for pitching, so they may not be ready to fold the tents yet. However, I think they'll only do it if they can obtain pitching relatively cheaply. My guess is that they're more likely to take a flyer on a couple of veteran starting arms that will be less expensive rather than sell the farm for someone like Matt Garza. Dempster might be a better fit if the Jays still think they can make a run in 2012. Cafardo is reporting the Jays have shown interest in Dempster. It's tough to figure out what Jays GM Alex Anthropolous wants to do. On one hand, he believes in a more long-term approach of building through the farm and securing cost-controlled players. On the other hand, his best player, Jose Bautista, is now 31 and will soon be past his peak years. You can't build long term forever. There comes a time where you have to take your shot while you're nucleus is still in it's prime years. To me, the Blue Jays situation is one of the more interesting scenarios to watch unfold in the next couple of months.
The Indians are also looking for a DH and a LF'er and it seems Soriano can help fill both roles, although LF may only be on a part time basis these days because of his knees. The Cubs will have to compete with the Padres when it comes to trading a DH/LF type because Carlos Quentin seems the more desirable acquisition, though Soriano might be obtainable at a lower price. Carlos Lee of the Astros also offers a DH option for some teams.
Some wheels are turning but it does seem most of the early attention has been on Dempster. He's the pitcher than can help this year without costing as much in terms of financial commitment or prospects as much as Garza would. As always, we'll monitor the situation.
Filed under: Rumors/Speculation