Ryan Dempster pitched very well on Friday, shutting out the Boston Red Sox offense over seven innings. It was the third straight start in which he tossed at least seven shutout innings, reducing his ERA to 2.11 in the process. With his typically strong peripherals, Dempster has already tallied 1.9 wins above replacement in 81 innings, putting him on pace for his highest total since posting 5.2 WAR with the 2008 Cubs.
However, given his contractual status and the Chicago Cubs' futility this season, Dempster is likely to find himself finishing the season in another uniform.
While a few contenders such as the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers have already inquired on his availability, the team Dempster just recently blanked could and should have interest. The Red Sox's interest in Cubs pitching doesn't have to stop there, either, as Matt Garza is conceivably available as well. Both righties would solidify Boston's starting rotation and help the Red Sox get back into the running for a very obtainable American League playoff berth.
Neither pitcher would come cheap, but the Red Sox have a solid system, and the teams' front office familiarity -- Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer run the Cubs now after having served together with the Red Sox for numerous years -- could certainly help matters. The Red Sox might not appear to be natural trade partners for the Cubs, but they stand to make up some ground as offensive contributors regress to the mean and return from injuries. Adding a 4-5 WAR pitcher to the mix could take them even further.