The Cubs should deal Dempster now

Updated: July 15, 2012, 6:08 PM ET
By Buster Olney

Ryan Dempster's six scoreless innings for the Chicago Cubs on Saturday were probably his last with the team, because now is the best time to trade him. Dempster is healthy now, after being on the disabled list earlier this year, and if the Cubs deal him before his next scheduled start -- rather than later this month -- his presence won't complicate their marketing of Matt Garza in late July.

Last July, if you recall, the San Diego Padres listened to offers for Heath Bell and Mike Adams, and in the end, they couldn't get what they wanted for Bell partly because of the persistent interest in Adams.

So Dempster will soon be gone, at a time when he's throwing really well; he's been able to throw a split-fingered fastball lately after limiting its use in the past because of a blister. Opponents have a .562 OPS against Dempster, easily the lowest mark of his career, and his ERA of 1.86 is the lowest in the majors. The Cubs are selling a stock performing at peak level, and beyond the numbers, Dempster is highly regarded for his personality, his clubhouse presence and his experience.

There are 10 teams involved in the pursuit of Dempster, writes Bruce Levine.

Earlier this season, when there were fewer teams declaring themselves as buyers, the Dodgers appeared to be the favorite for the right-hander -- and they still may land him.

But there is more competition for him now, and the Cubs are willing to eat a whole lot of the money owed to Dempster for the rest of the season, because they want to get the best possible talent in return.

Here's a list of teams for which Dempster could be a fit: