Sources: Dempster prefers to be in LA
Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster is still very much in the mix for the Los Angeles Dodgers, while his chances of joining the Atlanta Braves have cooled, according to major league sources.
At least for now.
Dempster, as a player with 10 years of major league service, the last five with the same team, has the right to block a trade to the Braves.
The pitcher instead wants to be sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were still negotiating with the Cubs as of Tuesday night. The Cubs have asked the Dodgers for a prospect package built around Class AA right-hander Allen Webster, one source said. To this point, the Dodgers have been reluctant to trade Webster or the organization’s No. 1 prospect, righty Zach Lee.
Dempster, 35, had indicated that the Dodgers were his first choice and the Braves were his second. With the non-waiver deadline still a week away, there is still time for the Cubs and Dodgers to negotiate a suitable trade.
The Braves and Cubs reached agreement Monday on a trade that would send Dempster to Atlanta, reportedly for right-hander Randall Delgado.
No deal, however, can be completed without Dempster’s approval. Later on Monday, Dempster said on his Twitter account that there was no trade.
The problem for Dempster is that the Braves apparently made a better offer for him than the Dodgers, and that the Dodgers also are trying to trade for other starting pitchers.
The problem for the Cubs is that they will lose leverage with the Dodgers if Dempster rejects a trade to his second choice — and will be forced to keep the pitcher if he is unwilling to approve any other trade.
Dempster is eligible for free agency at the end of the season. The Cubs, under the new collective-bargaining agreement, would receive a draft pick for him only if they made him a one-year offer in the $12 million range.
If Dempster approves a trade, he might only be with his new team only for a short period of time. But he still would prefer to be on the west coast, one source said.
Dempster, a native of Gibsons, British Columbia, still has family in the Vancouver area. He has three children — Brady, 5; Riley, 3; and Finlay, 1 — and wants them to be close to his relatives, sources said.
Riley suffers from DiGeorge Syndrome, a genetic disorder that makes it difficult to swallow and eat and can create numerous other symptoms. She underwent surgeries to insert a tracheal tube and feeding tube when she was a baby.