Dodgers engage Cubs in talks for Ryan Dempster

Tim Brown
Yahoo! Sports

In the slow dance that is the lead-up to the trading deadline, it would be only appropriate that the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers would find each other for "Stairway to Heaven."

Irrelevant two weeks into the season, the Cubs are working on a full-bore rebuild. Let's call it a five-year plan, as that's the length of Theo Epstein's contract. Maybe it won't take that long, but it might. So there's very little in the way of players that can't be moved in order to nudge ahead The Plan, which is why Ryan Dempster and his league-leading 1.86 ERA can be had. Matt Garza probably won't be far behind, either.

Conversely, the Dodgers have today in mind, and they've strung together a month's worth of awful todays. Gone are the best record in the league, the best record in the division, and the notion they might just overachieve for all of six months. The Dodgers need players. They need pitching and they need offense from the corners of their infield. They need a lot of help, and new ownership – unlike past ownership – seems willing to take on payroll.

The Dodgers never did look like a first-place team, and now aren't performing like it either.

So, it was without fanfare that the Cubs and Dodgers all but fell into each other's arms this week, and by Thursday were having somewhat constructive conversations about swapping Dempster for prospects.

The market for Dempster is broad, however, and the Dodgers figure to be challenged for the pitcher by the likes of the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves, in particular.

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The Cubs, meantime, acquired 29-year-old right-hander Justin Germano from the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, leading to speculation the Cubs were insuring themselves against a Dempster trade. Also, right-hander Casey Coleman was scratched from his minor-league start Thursday.

Dempster is scheduled to pitch Friday night in St. Louis. Considering the risk for injury and the Cubs' intention to trade him, Dempster might not make the start.

And then …

Brian Compton, the son of Minnesota Twins super-scout Ken Compton, signed this week with the Twins. A catcher out of Cal State L.A., Brian has reported to the Twins' Gulf Coast League team in Fort Myers.

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