Leading up to Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline one of the ongoing sagas was where Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster would end up, if anywhere at all. For a while it seemed like he was headed to the Atlanta Braves, but that never materialized. The Los Angeles Dodgers were a preferred choice for Dempster and the Cubs made an effort to accommodate him, but in the end there was a breakdown in negotiations.
Dempster was eventually traded to the Texas Rangers, but before the move took place Theo Epstein and Cubs let the veteran right-hander hear for himself that his ideal destination wasn’t going to be a reality.
“Some things are better left unsaid,” Epstein said with a grin. “It was an unusual situation. But I think it was helpful to have him there so he could hear first-hand that (the Dodgers deal) wasn’t going to happen.
“If someone wants to really go to a place, you can tell him over and over it’s not going to happen. But unless they’re convinced of that, they’re not going to want to move on to their second choice.”
The Dodgers (56-50) are currently a half game back of the first place San Francisco Giants in the NL West and have upgraded their offense with the recent acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino. But the AL West leading Rangers (60-43) aren’t a bad consolation.
In 16 starts this season Dempster is 5-5 but has a 2.25 ERA in 104 innings pitched. He didn’t pick up his first win until June 5. On several occasions the Cubs didn’t offer him much run support, a problem Dempster is less likely to experience often with Texas’ potent lineup. The need for a starting pitcher was evident for the Rangers as Roy Oswalt has struggled since joining the team, Neftali Feliz has been out injured since May and recently had Tommy John surgery, and Colby Lewis is out for the rest of the season recovering from elbow surgery.
Dempster makes his Rangers debut this evening against the Los Angeles Angels.