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," said Mattingly. "But if we're in position to pick up somebody that can help, we're going to do it."
That said, the Dodgers are still considered by many the favorites to land Dempster. The pitcher can virtually dictate where he ends up because he has trade-veto power and he's rumored to prefer the Dodgers, where he would be reunited with buddy Ted Lilly.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers reportedly are refusing to deal pitching prospect Zack Lee for Dempster because Dempster would essentially be a two-month rental as an upcoming free agent, and the Dodgers invested $5.25 million to sign Lee in 2010.
If the Dodgers trade Lee, it would more likely be for a player the Dodgers could control beyond this year, someone like Padres third baseman Chase Headley, who won't be a free agent until 2015. The Cubs are believed to be holding out for Lee.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.