Chicago Cubs Trade Options: Is It Time To Sell High on Ryan Dempster?

Jeff Chase@@Real_Jeff_ChaseSenior Analyst IIMay 10, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Ryan Dempster #46 of the Chicago Cubs delivers during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field on September 18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Brian Kersey/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs must start making some moves, especially before its too late. One player the team must look to move immediately is veteran pitcher Ryan Dempster.

Before the season, Dempster accepted his player option for the 2012 season. That gave the inconsistent right-hander $14 million for the season. Coming off a 2011 season with an ERA of 4.80 and 211 hits over 202.1 innings, Dempster certainly didn't look like a $14 million pitcher.

In just five starts, though, Dempster looks like that type of pitcher. So far, he has an ERA of 1.02 through 35 innings with a record of 0-1—and yes, you read that right.

Dempster is pitching phenomenally, but the Cubs' hitting woes are just not supporting him. Heck, the bullpen hasn't been any better.

That is where the problem lies, and while the team has looked to be in a good position as of late with Dempster on the mound, the team must face the fact that the 35-year-old is not in its future plans.

One would imagine Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are aware of this. The bigger question is if anyone would be willing to take on Dempster and at what price.

Would the Cubs move him in favor of a team eating up his contract, or would they actually be able to swing a deal for some valuable future pieces while taking on a nice chunk of that $14 million?

That is a tough call for the team, but as long as the Cubs are either getting some future prospects or getting rid of the money, it may be best to deal the pitcher immediately before he potentially takes a turn for the worse.

The other hurdle is the fact that Dempster has a no-trade clause and is rather fond of playing in Wrigley. Perhaps a move to a consistent contender would change his mind, but as mentioned, he has been relatively fond of sticking around despite the team's woes.

Dempster has already spent time on the DL this season, and despite making 34 starts last season, the team can't afford to see him sidelined again. That would certainly hurt any potential moves.

This isn't an easy time for the Cubs, but the future could be bright. Moving veterans like Dempster while they are hot will be the only way the Cubs could potentially get any sort of return on their investments to potentially gain future success.

It will be bittersweet to see Dempster leave the Friendly Confines, but in the end it is in the best interest of the Cubs and their plans to rebuild the team to be a future contender.


Jeff Chase is a featured columnist for the Chicago Cubs and Arizona State football.