Ryan Dempster will trade in his Cubs cap for a Rangers lid. (Tom Lynn / Associated Press )
The Dodgers withdrew from negotiations with the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Ryan Dempster shortly before the 1 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.
Dempster instead was sent to the Texas Rangers.
Even without landing Dempster, the Dodgers were arguably the team that improved itself the most over the last week.
A week ago Tuesday, they landed three-time All-Star Hanley Ramirez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate. Monday night, they acquired another former All-Star, reliever Brandon League, from the Seattle Mariners. Tuesday morning, they landed a third former All-Star, Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Dodgers and Cubs were in talks regarding Dempster for several weeks but couldn’t agree on the prospects that would be involved in a deal. The Dodgers were unwilling to part with top-tier pitchers such as Zach Lee and Allen Webster to acquire a rental player.
Dempster, 35, will be a free agent at the end of the season. He is still owed about $5 million of his $14-million salary, which the non-contending Cubs were desperate to shed from their payroll.
Dempster, who had power to block deals, refused to approve a trade to Atlanta last week. He was 5-5 with a 2.25 earned-run average in 16 games for the Cubs, who traded several players in a 24-hour span: pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson were dealt to Atlanta and catcher Geovany Soto also went to Texas.
The failure to land Dempster, however, raises concerns about the Dodgers' rotation.
For now, rookie Stephen Fife will remain the fifth starter. Fife has made two starts, limiting opponents to two runs over 12 1/3 innings.
Ted Lilly, who has been sidelined for two months with shoulder inflammation, could return in a couple of weeks. Lilly pitched in a minor league game on Sunday and is expected to pitch in another on Friday.
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