The Red Sox are 9.5 games out of the division lead in the AL East, but they're just 1.5 back from a wild card spot, and look to be interested in fortifying their rotation. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Boston is being aggressive in its pursuit of Ryan Dempster.
The 35-year-old Dempster, who is owed roughly $6.1MM over the remainder of the season, is in the midst of a very strong campaign. He's posted an MLB-leading 1.86 ERA to go along with a 7.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, and 42.5% groundball rate in 92 innings to date. Stats such as FIP (3.13) and SIERA (3.82) aren't as fond of Dempster's work, and he went through a short DL stint with a lat strain, but Dempster would be a clear upgrade to a Red Sox rotation that has compiled a 4.77 ERA this season.
Dempster has the power to veto a trade, but will reportedly consider being shipped to any contender. He's drawn interest from as many as ten teams, and prior to this point, the Dodgers and Tigers were thought to be the most serious players for the right-hander's services. Other interested parties include the Yankees, Braves, and Indians.
As a reminder, any team that acquires Dempster would be receiving a pure rental. Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement states that teams are only eligible to receive compensatory picks for players who spent the entirety of the season with that club.
A deal between the two sides would make for an interesting matchup, as it would represent the first deadline deal between new Cubs president Theo Epstein and his former assistant GM (and now Red Sox GM) Ben Cherington.