Ryan Dempster pitching for the Chicago Cubs. 19:50, 14 July 2007 . . Mshake3 . . 804×1334 (440 KB) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Texas Rangers added veteran right hander Ryan Dempster to their starting rotation on July 31 when they acquired him from the Chicago Cubs in return for two minor league players. Texas sent pitcher Kyle Hendricks and infielder Christian Villanueva to the Windy City for Dempster, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Dempster has a 5-5 record so far this season in 16 starts to go along with an ERA of 2.25. He’s struck out 83 batters while walking 27 in 104 innings pitched and has held opponents to just a batting average of just .210. Jon Daniels, the Rangers’ general manager, said Dempster’s a great fit for the club since he’s a veteran with a lot of experience. He added that he has an excellent mix of pitches and can handle both right and left-handed batters equally well.
The deal took place on trade deadline day and the Cubs, who sit in last place, were looking to ship out some veterans for young blood. Dempster had turned down a proposed trade to the Atlanta Braves a few weeks earlier because he thought the club would then deal him to the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, negotiations with LA fell through.
Texas was holding discussions with the Cubs anyway concerning other players and dealt minor league hurler Jacob Brigham to Chicago on July 30 for catcher Geovany Soto. Dempster then told the Cubs he’d accept a trade to Texas if one could be worked out and the deal was made just before the trade deadline.
Dempster said he felt comfortable with Texas as a possible destination as he thought he would fit in well there. He added that he’s thrilled about going to a club that has a shot at winning the World Series this year. Dempster will be welcomed by the Rangers and their fans since Neftali Feliz and Colby Lewis are both out for the season due to elbow injuries. However, Dempster has also been sidelined a couple of times this year with strained quadriceps and rib-cage muscles. He returned to the Cubs line-up on July 8.
Dempster will be joining Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Scott Feldman, and Yu Darvish in the starting rotation. His addition means that Roy Oswalt and his ERA of 6.49 will be moved to the Rangers bullpen. Oswalt will be used as a middle reliever along with Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, and Robbie Ross.
Dempster was originally drafted by Texas in 1995 during the First-Year Player Draft. His stay with the rangers didn’t last too long as he was dealt to Florida the next summer. The 35-year-old is currently in his 15th Major League season and has a 117-121 career record with an ERA of 4.31. He’s started 310 games and appeared as a reliever 225 times. He was an All-Star in 2000 with Florida and was then dealt in 2002 to the Cincinnati Reds, who released him a year later. The Cubs signed him in 2004.