Trade Candidate: Ryan Dempster

The Cubs, now 21-41, aren't going to win anything this year, and they’re reportedly willing to listen to trade offers on a variety of players. The Cubs’ front office members would consider a new contract for Ryan Dempster, but there’s no denying the obvious: the 35-year-old right-hander could just as easily be traded.

Ryan Dempster - Cubs (PW)

Teams will have interest in Dempster this summer. He has a 2.31 ERA, and while his peripheral stats suggest the ERA is not quite sustainable, he's been highly effective by most measures. He's striking hitters out (7.7 K/9) and owns a career-best walk rate (2.4 BB/9). Though his average fastball velocity has dropped below 90 mph, he continues to generate swings and misses (9.8% swinging strike rate). 

This year isn’t an anomaly, either. Only 16 pitchers have been more valuable in the past five years, according to FanGraphs’ version of wins above replacement. For context, the metric ranks Dempster alongside pitchers such as James Shields, Josh Beckett and Mark Buehrle for 2008-12.

Dempster’s contract status could complicate trade talks. He'll earn $14MM this season before hitting free agency, so his salary could deter some low-revenue suitors. If a trade is completed, the acquiring team won't be eligible to obtain draft pick compensation in 2013, so other interested teams may be reluctant to meet the Cubs' asking price. And Dempster has earned ten and five rights, so he can block any trade or demand compensation for being traded. All told, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, Dempster, and the pitcher’s representatives at LSW Baseball face an unusual situation.

The Dodgers are known to be interested in Dempster and others clubs are presumably eyeing him as well. The Braves, Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers are among the contenders that might seek rotation help between now and the end of July.

If Dempster agrees to waive his no-trade protection — and it sounds as though he’s open to the possibility — the Cubs will be positioned to demand valuable prospects or controllable young players in return. The trade market could include Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum seven weeks from now, but at the moment Dempster might be the top starter available and it’s an advantage the Cubs could look to exploit.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

36 Responses to Trade Candidate: Ryan Dempster Leave a Reply

  1. monkeydung 3 years ago

    still confused on where he fits in the Dodgers rotation unless Lilly is out longer than we thought or Harrang is heading to the bullpen.

    Eovaldi is now riding a 1.82 ERA in 4 starts this year, and a respectable 2.88 career ERA in his ML career (admittedly a super-small-sample-size).

    Pretty solid with Kershaw, Lilly, Capuano, Billingsley, Eovaldi, and Harrang

    Dempster is expensive and the Dodgers pitching has been great. Why not bring in a bat to the infield if anything?

    • BlueLA 3 years ago

      because because I like “veteran grit” – Ned

    • dodgerskingsfan 3 years ago

      you can’t have enough pitching…. and as the trade deadline comes closer, i’m sure there will be bats available for the dodgers to get.

    • The Cubs will pay Dempsters contract if need be. Money is no issue for them if they are getting a better prospect back in return for it.

      • monkeydung 3 years ago

        but I don’t know that Dempster is worth a prospect to the Dodgers.

        • baseball52 3 years ago

          Wait, what?

          • monkeydung 3 years ago

            sorry. let me be clear. a pitching prospect is not worth trading for a half a year of Dempster.

            Dodgers starters are second in baseball in ERA and the bullpen is 5th in the NL in ERA.

            a hitting prospect might be, but we are pretty depleted down there and if we can’t make a big bat trade, we may rely on guys like Sands & Catellanos to fill in holes.

    • thegrayrace 3 years ago

      The problem with Eovaldi seems to be that he can’t hit. Because the rest of the Dodgers lineup sure doesn’t whenever he is on the mound…

    • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 3 years ago

      Dempster has also worked out of the bullpen in the past.  Maybe they would like him for an either/or kind of situation.  They surely don’t want to blow their chances for lack of enough pitching.

      If they are willing to rent a player, I’d like them to take on Carlos Lee.  Here’s the thing-with Dempster and Lee, they are going to cost you-cash, lots of it.  But if you want to keep players in the minors that you hold near and dear, you get to keep them.  Money can be replaced; money can be made if you go all in and win, but traded players are gone forever.

      I see validity in the Dodgers going all in-they are in a great position, and the other teams in the division have some flaws.

  2. the_show 3 years ago

    Just trade him already, I’m sick of hearing about Ryan Dempster

    • stl_cards16 3 years ago

      Yeah you’re probably not going to like it here……

      • the_show 3 years ago

        I’ve been on this site multiple years I know how it works I’m tired of hearing about a pitcher that is no God…. he will get traded the Cubs should stop pretending he will get resigned

  3. 14 Rocks 3 years ago

    I don’t see the Braves having interest in Dempster.  They are more likely to pursue bench help or bullpen help.

  4. NYPOTENCE 3 years ago

    If The Red Sox decide not to sell they should be all over Dempster. They’ll need it

  5. ctownboy 3 years ago


    Carpenter hasn’t thrown a pitch this year and who knows how good (bad) he is going to be IF he comes back this year.

    Wainwright has been hit and miss since he came back from surgery.

    Garcia is on the DL and who knows if he is going to come back this year.

    Westbrook is nothing great and even when he pitches well (not often) he can’t seem to get past the Fifth Inning which makes the (bad) Bull Pen have to throw more Innings.

    Lynn has been great but how long can he keep it up?  Is he going to be able to throw 200+ Innings and be as effective or is he going to regress when it gets hot?

    Lohse is the only Pitcher on the team that is healthy, been good on a consistent basis this year and has thrown 200 or more Innings in a season.

    Getting Dempster would help the Cardinals because he would be a consistent Pitcher who eats up Innings and thus would save the Bull Pen some work.

    I think Matt Adams and Fernando Salas would be a good trade for Dempster.  Salas seems to need a change of scenery and Adams is still young.  Even though the Cubs have Rizzo (who is injured) for First Base, they could use Adams while Rizzo is still developing and then trade him to an AL team that needs a young First Baseman or (more likely) a DH. 

    • Ptk123 3 years ago

      Where did you find that Rizzo is injured? Nothing about him being injured on the Iowa cubs or the Cubs website.

      • Grant Michalski 3 years ago

        He slid into a dugout railing a couple days ago and bruised his knee.  He’s currently day-to-day, but it wasn’t a serious injury.

  6. sdsuphilip 3 years ago

    the cardinals would be crazy to trade matt adams for a 35 year old pitcher.

    • ctownboy 3 years ago

      The Cardinals have Lance Berkman, Allan Craig, Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams that they can use at First Base.  Plus, if they don’t like any of those guys they can always move Beltran to First or go out and get a guy like James Loney (who the Dodgers seem to want to get rid of).

      Also, Matt Adams, from what little I have seen him play, lumbers around First Base like Adam Dunn did.  In short, he isn’t all that great at First Base and probably should be a DH.  So, with bad defense and a number of OTHER options to play First Base, I say use Adams as a trade chip to fill another need.

      If not Dempster then go after Wandy Rodriguez.  Adams for Rodriguez would actually work out a little better since the Astros are moving to the AL next year and Adams would fit the bill as their DH…..

      • sdsuphilip 3 years ago

        If they trade Adams it will be for a piece they can use for the future not a guy that probably has 2 good years left at best.

    • G-Code260 3 years ago

       Cubs have Rizzo. Why would they trade Dempster for Adams?

      • sdsuphilip 3 years ago

        they wouldn’t i was merely replying to the idea from ctownboy from cardinals perspective

      • ctownboy 3 years ago

        So they could get Adams and then flip him to some other team for more prospects.

        Think about it.

        Trade Dempster for Adams, flip Adams for more prospects and then possibly resign Dempster in the off season.

        Look, the Cubs NEED as much help as they can get if they are going to be competitive any time soon.  So, they are going to have to get creative if they want to be winners in the next few years…..

  7. EightMileCats 3 years ago

    Wonder what it would cost to rent Dempster. With Fister being injured, Scherzer and Porcello being inconsistent, and Smyly likely being on an inning count as a rookie…

    • soxfan123123 3 years ago

      Jacob Turner + Nick Castellanos for Dempster?


      • EightMileCats 3 years ago

        I’m really just curious if he could be had for Crosby + 1 or 2 prospects from A ball.
        Because the tigers don’t have much in the farm above A that’s worth anything. Turner and Crosby in AAA and Castellanos in AA

  8. pirates should trade for him. what would it cost to get him though?

    • ctownboy 3 years ago

      The Pirates need offense (Josh Willingham) more than they need another Pitcher.

      If the Pirates had had a guy like Willingham this whole season, with the pitching they have gotten so far, they would lead the NL Central by at least three games….

      • i think they should get dempster and get rid of corria. then send brad lincoln into the bullpen. then trade for willingham. then maybe carlos lee or morneau for first. and send down pedro alverez and trade for headley

  9. Natsfan89 3 years ago

     I wish the Nationals could work something out for him. They could dump Wang and have a rotation of Gio/Dempster/Zimmermann/Jackson/Detwiler after Strasburg get’s shut down.

    Pipedream though.

  10. The Cubs should extend both Dempster and Soriano. Maybe trade for Werth. Get it done Theo!

  11. the_show 3 years ago

    No he won’t…No way a team that is in a full fledged rebuild is going to sign a 35 year old pitcher…The cubs aren’t going to contend next year either

  12. sdsuphilip 3 years ago

    beltran and dempster are in no way comparable.

  13. sdsuphilip 3 years ago

    beltran’s a ton more valuable than dempster ever has been .

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