|Along with the Dodgers, the Braves and the Nationals are in the mix for the Cubs' Ryan Dempster. (US Presswire)|
The favored Dodgers and Cubs have gone back and forth over which prospects Los Angeles would have to send to Chicago for red-hot righthanded starter Ryan Dempster as talks continue Thursday night with L.A. and a few other teams.
As of late Thursday night, the Dodgers were balking at including the pitching prospects the Cubs most coveted, and the Cubs were engaging other teams, believed to include the Nationals and Braves. L.A. has a decent stash of young mound hopefuls.
The Dodgers have long been seen as the most likely landing spot for Dempster, but Washington, Atlanta and others were said to still be in the picture as of late Thursday night as Los Angeles and Chicago continued to barter.
One executive on a rival team said "it appears the Dodgers are the favorite,'' which has been the sense for a while. Though as of 10 CDT, it didn't appear a deal was close.
Friday is seen as something of a soft deadline, as Dempster is due to start for the Cubs Friday night at St. Louis with a 33-inning scoreless streak on the line. Some have suggested the Cubs would likely be selling high to trade Dempster, who leads the N.L. in ERA with a 1.86 mark, before he throws another pitch.
"They should trade him now. Why take a chance?,'' one rival GM said.
But another said, "Theo (Epstein and Jed Hoyer are) in good position. He's got the hottest pitcher in the game.''
The Dodgers are most in need of a hitter but are also hoping to add a starting pitcher, which would enable them to move a starter into the pen.
CBSSports.com suggested the Dodgers might be the favorite two weeks ago. Dempster, who has veto rights over trades, is said to be willing to go to the Dodgers, according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Dempster is close to Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly.