Ryan Dempster’s first choice is the Los Angeles Dodgers and his second is the Atlanta Braves, according to major-league sources.
Whether the veteran right-hander would allow the Cubs to trade him to another team could be determined in the next several days.
Dempster, as a player with 10 years of service, the last five with the same team, has the right to veto any deal.
The Cubs are trying to move him before his next start, sources say, but Dempster could delay the process by nixing potential trades before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
Dempster, 35, has spent his entire 15-year career in the National League, and is good friends with Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly.
However, he will not necessarily play hardball.
Dempster’s primary wish is to go to a contender, and he likely would consider any of the teams interested in him, including the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals.
Dempster, according to one source, has told the Cubs that he is open to many clubs and given them only a handful of teams that he would reject.
A variety of factors could play into Dempster’s decision. His familiarity with the Tigers’ front office and manager Jim Leyland from their days together with the Florida Marlins, for example, could prove an asset for Detroit.
A team pursuing also could offer Dempster a contract extension as an enticement for him to waive his no-trade rights. But Dempster, who leads the National League with a 1.86 ERA, is eligible for free agency, might prefer to test the open market this offseason.
The Cubs’ only leverage against Dempster is the threat that they might keep him the rest of the season. Dempster, though, would not necessarily mind spending his final two months in Chicago, where he has played since 2004.
The Cubs would get nothing in return if Dempster left them as free agent in the offseason unless they made him one-year offer of around $12 million in order to qualify for draft-pick compensation.