Reported Trade for Ryan Dempster Would Push Braves Back into Playoffs
It's not clear if the reported trade that would send Cubs ace Ryan Dempster to the Braves will go through, but it is clear that, if it does, it will be enough to propel the Braves into the 2012 playoffs.
Let's start with where the deal stands. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman brings us up to speed.
braves & cubs had agreed on dempster deal. his twitter comment suggests his 10-and-5 veto rights could be in play tho— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 23, 2012
So it appears that the fate of this trade is in the hands of Dempster. It is hard to imagine him turning down an opportunity to jump from a team playing out the string to one with serious playoff aspirations, but stranger things have certainly happened. There is good reason for both sides to hope he does agree.
The Cubs would likely net some youngsters to help them build a brighter future, and the Braves will dramatically strengthen their team by addressing a big weakness.
Atlanta's starting rotation, as Bob Nightengale of the USA Today points out, is allowing a 4.34 ERA this season, which is third worst in the National League. Dempster would instantly eliminate the rotation as a weakness.
Will Dempster guarantee the Braves a playoff spot?
This would allow the Braves to flush out the underwhelming Mike Minor or Jair Jurrjens from the rotation and replace them with an outstanding pitcher having, what is easy to argue, his best season.
Dempster currently carries an ERA of 2.11 and a WHIP of 1.05 for the season, both of which are on track to be career-best marks. His WAR currently sits at 3.0, which, coincidentally, is almost the 3.5 games by which they trail the Nationals for the NL East crown.
The NL East title is not the Braves' only path to the playoffs. They are in a virtual tie with the Pirates for the top spot in the Wild Card race. That tie would not last long if this trade goes through.
This move would not only give the Braves a fearsome top of the rotation, but the benefits will trickle to the bottom of the rotation and the bullpen, and all of that will be more than enough to get this team into the postseason.
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