The Rangers won the Ryan Dempster sweepstakes. Now, they’ll try to capture the ultimate prize.
The American League West leaders fortified their rotation for the stretch run, acquiring the Cubs ace before Tuesday’s trade cut-off point for 2 minor leaguers. In exchange, they sent infielder Christian Villanueva and pitcher Kyle Hendricks to Chicago.
Dempster, who had power to block deals, refused to approve a trade to Atlanta last week. The Los Angeles Dodgers and NY Yankees also attempted to land the 35-year-old righty. Baseball spreads
”It’s a great opportunity over there,” asserted Dempster, who has spent all of his virtually 15 seasons in the NL. ”It’s not going to be simple. There are a large amount of teams out there that are very good. I think they have as good an opportunity as anybody.”
Dempster was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA in 16 games for the Chicago Cubs and can become an free agent after the season. He was one of several players Chicago traded in a 24 hour span, with pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson going to Atlanta and catcher Geovany Soto to Texas.
With a strong season that contained a 33-inning scoreless streak, Dempster was one of the most attractive pitchers on the market. The Rangers were trying to find pitching help although they commenced the day leading with a 59-42 record and a Three Half -game lead over Oakland in the American League West.
The Dempster trade came less than a week after the division rival Los Angeles Angels got previous Cy Young winner Zack Greinke in a swap with Milwaukee. Many fans expected Texas to counter with a big move, and the Rangers pulled it off.
The 2-time American League champion Rangers needed help with their rotation.
Right-hander Colby Lewis went through surgery to repair a ripped flexor tendon in his elbow and will miss what’s left of the season. Roy Oswalt has struggled, too, since signing as a free agent in midseason and is being moved to the bullpen.
”He could be a guy like Colby (Lewis),” Rangers outfielder David Murphy declared. ”I loved seeing a bloke like that pounding the strike zone and working late into games. (Dempster) might have an advantage off the bat because not a lot of men in this league have seen him much at all.”
With a deal set to expire after the season ends, Dempster merely wasn’t part of the plan with the Cubs in a rebuilding mode. They employed president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and Hoyer, hoping they could put together the 1st championship since 1908 after they helped build 2 title winners in Boston, ending a long drought there.
Dempster was coming off Tommy John surgery and had been released by the Reds when he signed with the Cubs before the 2004 season. He spent several years as the closer after replacing LaTroy Hawkins before being moved back to the rotation in 2008. He answered with a career-high 17 wins and a 2.96 ERA for their most recent division winner, and he’s been typically steady since then springing back from a hard season last year.