Ryan Dempster, slated to pitch tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals, might be the first big name pitcher to be dealt at the trade deadline.
At age 35 Dempster is having a career season for the scuffling Cubs. He is 5-3 with a 1.86 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 75 K’s in 92 innings pitched. He also has one DL stint under his belt.
It’s actually hard to imagine the righty on a team other than the Cubs. He is currently working on a stellar 33-inning scoreless streak and over his 8 and ½ years in Chicago he has essentially become the face of the franchise.
Whether it be ripping off one of his famous Harry Caray impressions or hanging with Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis on the field for some shenanigans this past week, he is all Chicago all the time. He’s so loyal in fact that he has agreed to waive his no-trade clause for the good of the team.
Dempster will once again get a shot to pitch for a contender. The top team on the rumor mill right now is the Los Angeles Dodgers. If he doesn’t go there, it appears as though the Tigers, Braves, and Nationals are next in line.
Dempster has had a great career, one that has existed entirely on National League rosters. For him to jump leagues in the middle of a pennant race to a team like the Tigers seems like a huge risk. His arsenal is a low 90’s fastball with a lot of deceptive breaking ball offerings.
He could potentially pull off the switch, and would certainly be an upgrade over 4th man Rick Porcello and the streaming gaggle of #5 starters the Tigers have trotted out there this year. The Cubs want at least one highly rated prospect in return though, along with some other pieces. I for one wouldn’t want to be the AL team that takes the gamble on his ability to master a brand new league during the stretch run.
The Dodgers seem to be a great fit as they play in the weak-hitting NL West. But it’s not as if the bats in the NL East are overly terrifying either.
The lesson here is that NL teams should be all in on this guy while AL teams should really think long and hard before pulling that trigger.