With the expected shutdown of ace Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals have become a popular team among trade rumors involving MLB pitchers. Most linked to the Nationals has been Brewers' pitcher Zack Greinke, but now it has been reported the team is aggressively pursuing another National League right-hander.
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman says the Nationals are "trying hard" to get Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster and that they are among approximately four teams involved in talks.
nationals said trying hard on dempster. braves in, & tigers may be, too. 1 gm still thinks dodgers still favorite tho Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 20, 2012
Chicago has been dangling Dempster for quite some time as the 35-year-old is enjoying a career year. Dempster currently leads the majors with a 1.86 ERA and ranks sixth with a 1.02 WHIP.
Dempster may be a more viable option for the Nationals because of his age as the asking price should be nowhere close to what it would take to get Greinke or another top shelf starter like Cole Hamels. Dempster isn't a long-term solution by any means and though the Cubs are likely demanding prospects, it would be tough to justify sending any blue-chip young players for his services.
Dempster is in the last year of a four year contract and carries a salary of 14 million this season. He, like Greinke and Hamels, is scheduled to be a free agent after this year. It would likely be a rental situation for the Nats if they choose to trade for Dempster.