- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Ryan Dempster trading market will see a huge surge on Saturday as upwards of 10 teams will have scouts on hand to watch the Chicago Cubs' veteran right-hander pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Dempster and Cubs team president Theo Epstein had a meeting in early June to talk about his future and it was agreed upon that the Cubs and the pitcher would work hand-in-hand to find a future home for the 36-year-old Canadian.
Dempster has 10-and-5 rights, meaning he can veto any proposed deal. According to major league sources, the clubs that have had the most interest in the pitcher have been the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians.
The Cubs are looking for impact young pitching that can be projected for 2014 and beyond. Third base is also a position that is high on the Cubs’ wish list.
The Dempster contract has a shade under $7 million left for the 2012 season and he will declare himself a free agent after the World Series is over. He has thrown 27 consecutive scoreless innings headed into his Saturday start.
“Demp is a real professional so we don’t talk about the possibilities of him being traded, but everyone in the clubhouse understands the possibilities of him leaving,” said All-Star Bryan LaHair.
Dempster’s reputation as a top-flight pitcher and quality person is well known among the game’s top stars.
“When you see all the top teams in baseball, they are always deep in quality pitching,” the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp said. “If it is possible to add a pitcher like Ryan Dempster of course you would do it. He has been pitching great and he is healthy again, not to mention he has the best ERA in baseball. He would be a great addition.”
Future Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones is a big Dempster fan.
“Ryan is one of the most respected guys in baseball,” Jones said. “He goes out there every five days trying to stick it to you. Any team would be lucky to get him. We could use some help trying to catch the Nationals, so getting someone like Demp would certainly bolster our chances.”
Dempster presented Jones, who will retire after 2012, the Braves flag that flies over Wrigley Field on Atlanta’s last trip to Chicago.
“He is a class act and very funny,” Jones said. “We have been on All-Star teams together and I always have admired him from afar as well. He has been a leader on the Cubs for a long time.”