Reports first started to come in a week ago and it looked as if Ryan Dempster had been traded to the Braves for Randall Delgado. Turns out Dempster used his 10-and-5 rights and vetoed the deal that would send him to Atlanta. Following, Dempster made it clear that he wanted to go to the Cubs and the pressure was then on for a deal to get done. The deadline was quickly approaching and still nothing was done. The Dodgers were not willing to give up any of their big three pitching prospects and we started to hear other names start to step in. Then with just about a minute prior to the deadline, Buster Olney tweets that Ryan Dempster was traded to the Rangers. The pieces heading to Chicago will be third baseman Christian Villanueva and right hander Kyle Hendricks.
When I first heard of the Cubs – Braves deal around Dempster, I thought the Cubs got a very good return. Well as mentioned above, that deal did not work out and now Dempster is headed to Texas. Texas was rumored to have wanted a starter and the pressure was really put on them when the division rival Angels went out and landed possibly the top pitcher available in Zack Greinke. The Rangers were dealt a huge blow when Colby Lewis hit the DL on July 19th with a torn tendon and was ruled out for the season. Dempster now steps in and will play a huge role in the Rangers rotation from here on out.
Dempster’s 2.25 ERA is the second best in all of baseball, behind the one and only Ryan Vogelsong. Dempster’s 3.41 FIP suggests that he will regress some. The Zips are not to kind for him have the predict him posting a 4.14 ERA and 3.92 FIP from here on out. One of the biggest questions about any pitcher heading to Texas is how will they hold in that hitters friendly ballpark. Dempster’s batted ball data are all about the league average and I don’t think he will be harmed a whole lot by pitching there but it certainly won’t
The return that the Cubs got for Dempster brings two interesting pieces who will take some time to develop. Christian Villanueva, the better prospect in the deal, was listed at the 8th best prospect in the Rangers organization heading into the year. I think Villanueva is a little bit over shadowed as a third base prospect in the Rangers organization with Mike Olt there. There seems to be no question about Villanueva not being able to stick at third base. Reports say he is a plus defender there thanks to an above average arm and great quickness at the hot corner. Villanueva also has great speed and is plus for his position. He stole 32 bases last year and has 9 this year. He has a quick explosive swing, producing mostly line drive power at this point. There are mixed opinions about his future power though. He makes a lot of contact at the plate but does not take a lot of walks which will be something for him to work on. The Cubs added a good third base prospect here but if needed, he could possibly slide over to second.
The other piece in the trade is right hander Kyle Hendricks who has seen his stock rise this year. He has a 2.82 ERA this year with a 7.7 K/9 and a 1.0 BB/9 at High A. He does not have over powering stuff but the key to him is his command. His fastball sits 87-89 and he has a new cutter to go with. He also has a curve, slider, and changeup which makes for a versatile arsenal.
Solid trade for both sides. Dempster will be a very important piece for Texas as I mentioned above.