Category Archives: Ryan Dempster

As The(o’s) World Turns: The Dempster saga continues

The Ryan Dempster trade saga has become a tough situation to stomach as the Los Angeles Dodgers can completely dictate any deal that might be made. Ned Colleti isn’t stupid, he knows that if the Cubs want any return for Dempster it can only come from the Dodger system.

“What’s that Theo, you’ve got someone else calling about Dempster? Go ahead and take the call, I’ll wait.” – Ned Colleti. Image courtesy insidesocial.com

But even with the Dodgers virtually calling all the shots, it is still in the Cubs’ best interests to trade him. It has surfaced that the Cubs are considering keeping him and making him a 1-year/$12 million qualifying offer in the hope that he’ll decline and the Cubs will end up with a draft pick.

But this is most likely the team trying to drum up some leverage out of thin air. Ken Rosenthal writes that it is unlikely they’d ever make such an offer because they don’t want to risk being on the hook for $12 million.

Holding on to Dempster to then extend him doesn’t make any sense either. To begin with, he can simply resign with the Cubs even if he is traded. But even so, I’d say the Harry Caray statue is more likely to pitch for the Cubs in 2013 than Dempster. A pitcher close to being on the wrong side of 30 is not the type of guy Theo and Jed will be interested in. And what has transpired this week has probably soured both sides towards another. Dempster still has value, but not to a team like the Cubs at his current market price.

So that leaves us back where we started: the Cubs need to trade Dempster because it’s the only safe way to get something for him. And something is better than nothing, right?

Zach Lee, the highest rated Dodger prospect on MLB.com and Fangraphs.com, is the ultimate prize and his name had, quite obviously, surfaced as the Cubs main target. But given the Cubs’ current bargaining position it’ll be tough to land him. I have no clue if the Marlins were interested in him, but if they were and couldn’t get him for a former batting champ under contract for multiple seasons (Hanley Ramirez), then the Cubs have no chance. This is especially given the Dodgers need offense far more than starting pitching.

Still, Theo and Jed can add value to the system. If you look at those Dodger prospect lists you’ll see they are full of pitchers. While many of those guys likely won’t end up starting in the majors, there might be some effective future bullpen pieces in there.

The last few seasons there has been a parade of ineffective relievers shuttling back and forth from Iowa (think Scott Maine, Casey Coleman, etc.). And despite some recent success, the bullpen, and especially its depth, could use a major upgrade. Simply adding, semi well-regarded arms to the system would help, even if they never end up in the rotation.

I’m not going to pretend like I know anything about the Dodgers system. But given the situation, if the Cubs could get a package for Dempster which includes one or more of the pitchers on either list I’d be thrilled. Allen Webster‘s name popped up on Twitter yesterday, and based on the rankings a package centered around him would  be a solid return at this point.

This is mainly so because the alternative looks like Dempster signing elsewhere next season and leaving nothing but memories.

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3/7 quick hitters, Cubs even up ST record

Hey, a winning streak! The Cubs improved to 2-2 in Cactus League play on Wednesday, beating the Kansas City Royals 6-4. Here’s a quick look at what stood out:

  • You had the candidates for that last OF bench spot on full display today with Dave Sappelt, Joe Mather and Tony Campana all seeing action. None especially stood out at the plate, going a combined 1-7. As I didn’t see the game I can’t speak to how each looked defensively. The gut says the corner-oriented Mather has the worst chance because that would make Reed Johnson the backup center fielder. That just doesn’t seem wise at this point in his career as Johnson has only played in 31 games there over the last two years.
  • Jeff Samardzija gave Alfonso Soriano some competition at the top of the “best ST performance” board by throwing three innings, striking out three and allowing only one hit and no runs. Samardzija made some interesting comments which seem to suggest he feels a sense of urgency now that a return to football is becoming less and less probable (if it ever was). Or maybe he’s just joking around. Only the Shark knows for sure.
  • One of the more intriguing story lines will be whether Samardzija can grab one of those starting spots behind Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and perhaps Paul Maholm. Randy Wells and Travis Wood would be my bets to end up in the rotation, but Samardzija likely has the highest ceiling of them all as a starter. And yes, you’d be taking another good reliever out of the bullpen after the loss of Sean Marshall, but isn’t the chance to develop a reliable starter worth it?
  • Royals’ catcher Salvador Perez is hitless in eight ST plate appearances after signing a creative, seemingly mutually-beneficial five year contract last week. Maybe he’s feeling the pressure already? That’s a joke, obviously he’s not. I just wanted an excuse to point out how interesting that contract is, and applaud the precedent it sets for teams locking up their budding stars in deals that work for both sides.