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Cubs, Braves agree on Ryan Dempster trade, but pitcher, MLB must finalize deal

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer
Dempster may be headed to Atlanta to join the pennant race. (Getty Images)

UPDATE: The trade may now fall apart. Full story on Jon Heyman's blog.

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The Cubs have agreed to trade right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Dempster to the Braves, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has confirmed.

The deal has yet to be finalized. Dempster has a no-trade clause in his contract, but he is likely to approve this deal, according to Heyman. Still, he hasn't done so yet, so the trade has not officially happened. Also note that Major League Baseball also has to approve all trades.

The trade would mean that Dempster will be immediately added to the Braves' starting rotation -- again, assuming he approves the deal. They can certainly use the help, as Braves starters have a 4.34 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson aren't going anywhere, while Ben Sheets is off to a great start. This leaves Mike Minor and Jair Jurrjens as potentially squeezed out of the rotation to make room for Dempster.

The Braves trail the Nationals by 3.5 games in the NL East, but hold a half-game advantage over the Dodgers for the second wild card.

Dempster, 35, is 5-4 with an MLB-best 2.11 ERA. He also sports a 1.05 WHIP and has 77 strikeouts in 98 innings pitched this season. Since going back to being a full-time starter in 2008, Dempster is 58-45 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Also worth noting: This season, Dempster has been lights out away from Wrigley Field (1.52 ERA, 0.92 WHIP).

Dempster is currently in the final year of a four-year, $52 million contract.

There is no word on the return for the Cubs from either ballclub, due to the deal not yet being finalized. Right-handed starting pitcher Randall Delgado's name has been thrown around in rumors. Delgado is 4-9 with a 4.42 ERA and 1.43 WHIP this season, but he's also only 22 years old. He's been ranked as a top-50 prospect by Baseball America in each of the past two seasons and has struck out more than one hitter per inning in the minors.

Dempster has tweeted from his official account that "there is no trade," but, again, the deal has yet to be completely finalized. It's not done until Dempster and MLB say it is.

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