ST. LOUIS -- Most of the scouts at Busch Stadium to watch Ryan Dempster on Friday stayed to watch Matt Garza on Saturday to see if he might be a better fit before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
On Saturday, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Dodgers are "very unlikely" to get Dempster now because they prefer not to trade their better prospects for a rental player. Dempster will be a free agent after this season. Garza, who is under team control through 2013, may be a more logical target.
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer wouldn't talk specifically about any of the rumors. Hoyer did say Saturday he's kept Dempster up to date about discussions. The right-hander has 10 years in the big leagues and five with the Cubs, so he can veto any deal.
The Dodgers haven't given up, but the tone of rumors cooled noticeably Saturday. Even manager Don Mattingly seemed to be preparing himself for the deal to fall apart.
"Other teams have agendas to build or rebuild, and to put two teams together to make a deal is not as easy as it sounds," Mattingly told reporters in New York, including MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. "But if we're in position to pick up somebody that can help, we're going to do it."
The Dodgers reportedly are refusing to deal pitching prospect Zack Lee because Dempster would essentially be a two-month rental. The Dodgers invested $5.25 million to sign Lee in 2010. If the Dodgers trade Lee, it would more likely be for a player they could control beyond this year who won't be a free agent until 2015.
Was Hoyer disappointed that the Cubs haven't made a deal yet?
"It's July 21, and [baseball] had the first couple real trades in the last 24 hours with the big [10-player] trade between Houston and Toronto and the trade with Brett Myers," Hoyer said. "We were saying, sometimes it takes a deal to break the ice. Maybe that'll break things loose -- who knows? Usually things don't happen early."
If Dempster did leave, the Cubs would talk to him about returning next season.
"I would never close the door on that at all," Hoyer said. "You look at his track record as a starter with the Cubs, even with the hiccup last year, he still threw 200 innings. He's a leader in the clubhouse and a terrific guy to have around. It's fun to see a guy like that bounce back after a terrible year. We'd never close the door on him at all. He's a guy who's always welcome in a Cubs uniform for sure."