Dodgers considering Shields, Johnson with Demspter deal on hold

With the Dodgers and Cubs seemingly at an impasse in Ryan Dempster talks, the Dodgers are looking at Josh Johnson and James Shields as rotation alternatives.

The Dodgers offered a couple pitching prospects for Dempster, but the Cubs were asking for top right-handed pitching prospect Allen Webster, a request the Dodgers rebuffed, reported Thursday. The Dodgers' offer for Dempster was suggested to be underwhelming. They also have leverage in those talks, as Dempster turned down a deal to the Braves and is believed only willing to go to the Dodgers.

The Dodgers may also take a peek at the coveted Zack Greinke, but Los Angeles generally isn't believed to be enamored of rentals, which may also be what's limiting their offer for Dempster. The Dodgers love Webster, so they may not relent on him. One person with ties to the team called Webster "the best arm in their [farm] system," and suggested he's "major-league ready" now.

Los Angeles, as with other big-market teams, surely sees Shields' $9 million option for 2013 as reasonable (though it's pricey for the low-revenue Rays).

Johnson is drawing plenty of interest, but it's far from a certainty the Marlins trade him.

The Dodgers, seens as baseball's new big spenders, see Cliff Lee's $97 million commitment as onerous, so they won't consider him. (It was reported here the Phillies have no plans to trade Lee, so that point may be moot.)

The Dodgers had Matt Garza as another alternative to Dempster but Garza's tricpes injury has caused his start to be pushed back until later next week, making him a difficult trade candidate. Garza still could possibly be move, though.

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