The Atlanta Braves have reportedly landed starting pitcher Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-handed pitcher Randall Delgado and the Cubs will be paying for some, if not all, of Dempster’s contract. The Braves, looking to win now, give up a lot for a two month upgrade.
Dempster will come to the Braves with a Major League best 2.11 ERA but barely passing the innings pitched threshold to be the leader. Dempster also comes with an impressive 3.28 FIP which would be the best mark of his career. His K/9 of 7.07 is his lowest mark since 2003 but his 2.48 BB/9 is his lowest mark ever and he is keeping the ball in the park with a 0.64 HR/9 rate. There is some regression to come with a .245 BABIP and 83.9% strand rate but Dempster is a very good pitcher and will work a lot of good innings for the Braves.
Also, David O’Brien tweets that the “Braves believe they’d have good shot at re-signing Dempster, because of history that Wren and Fredi have w/ him from Marlins days.” Dempster is still owed around $5.5M for the rest of the year and the Cubs may eat some of that. MLBtraderumors notes that if Dempster does not sign the Braves they will not obtain a draft pick if he signs elsewhere after the season but the Cubs would have been able to obtain one compensatory selection for losing Dempster if they had kept him for the remainder of the season and made him a qualifying offer.
Coming into the 2012 season Randall Delgado was my #3 ranked Braves prospect and #68 overall prospect. Delgado has a 91-94 mph fastball that can reach the mid-90s with a plus change-up and a curveball that is fringe-average at best right now but he is only 22 years young and arms that can reach the mid-90s with plus change-ups do not grow on trees. Delgado’s uses mainly a two-seam fastball and had over a 50% ground ball rate in 2012.
Theo Epstein and the Cubs turned two months of Dempster and a potential supplemental draft pick into five years of control in a 22 year old Randall Delgado who has the potential to be a #2 starter if his command and breaking ball improve. The Braves are in-it-to-win-it and flags do fly forever so I understand why the Braves wanted Dempster but this was a great move by Theo and the Cubs and one that the rest of the pitching trade market will be judged on.
The Brewers should expect a good return for Zack Greinke and the Rays, if they decide to shop Shields, should get an even bigger haul thanks to his contract. Selling general managers have Theo Epstein to thank for the current market price for starting pitchers. Theo Epstein is also reportedly talking to the Dodgers about sending Matt Garza in exchange for top prospect Zach Lee.
Ryan Dempster tweeted at 3:27 pm that “THERE IS NO TRADE.”
Reporters are in the clubhouse and Doug Padilla tweets: “Dempster declines to talk. Won’t discuss speculation.” He is in full Cubs uniform.
Bob Nightengale tweets at 4:26pm: “The
#Braves and #Cubs simply waiting for Dempster’s approval.”
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt