Ryan Dempster is moving to a new team and division with a better chance to pitch in the playoffs.
The Chicago Cubs, according to multiple reports Monday, have agreed to deal the Canadian right-hander to the Atlanta Braves, but the trade has yet to be finalized.
It’s believed the Cubs would receive starter Randall Delgado, 22, in return for Dempster, a native of Gibsons, B.C., who could still veto the trade as he has 10-5 rights — 10 years in the major leagues and five years spent with Chicago. Major League Baseball also must approve the trade.
Some reports suggest the deal may only need financial approval before becoming official. Dempster is making $12 million US this season including more than $5.5 million before the end of the season, while Delgado is signed through this season at $480,000.
Dempster was said to have the Braves on his wish list, a team with a chance to contend for a post-season berth. Atlanta opened play Monday with a 52-43 record, one of the two wild-card spots in the National League and second to Washington in the East Division.
The Cubs, meanwhile, are 38-56 and 16 ½ games behind NL Central-leading Cincinnati and 13 ½ games off the pace in the wild-card race.
The Braves have been seeking a pitcher to stabilize their starting rotation and accomplished that goal with Dempster, who has posted a major league-leading 2.11 earned-run average in 15 starts this season. He is also striking out 7.1 batters per nine innings and walking 2 1/2 per nine.
Dempster also has been dominant away from hitter-friendly Wrigley Field, posting a 1.52 ERA.
He would join a rotation currently consisting of Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, Ben Sheets and Jair Jurrjens.
The Los Angeles Dodgers also were believed to have interest in Dempster as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nears. He is 67-64 with a 3.72 ERA in nine years with Chicago and had a 33-inning scoreless streak snapped in his most recent start.
Atlanta starters have combined for a 4.34 ERA and seven strikeouts per nine innings this season.
Delgado, whom Baseball America called the 46th best prospect in the majors entering the season, has a 4.42 ERA in 17 starts in 2012.