MLB Rumors: Ryan Dempster Would Make the Atlanta Braves World Series Contenders
Ryan Dempster has drawn lots of interest from lots of teams, but it looks like he's found a home.
According to ESPN.com, a deal is in the works that would send Dempster to the Braves. Dempster has the final say on the deal, but, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, he said that the Braves are his second choice. A deal that would've sent Dempster to his first-choice team, the Dodgers, fell through, and the Dodgers are now interested in fellow Cub Matt Garza.
Now, Atlanta is the front-runner for Dempster. And, it looks like they will bolster their rotation by adding the Cubs ace.
Atlanta is just 4.5 games back of first place in the NL East. They have Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Ben Sheets in their rotation, but they also have Mike Minor and Jair Jurrjens. Both Minor and Jurrjens have ERA's over five and haven't helped the Braves this year.
Minor has shown signs of improvement, but Jurrjens hasn't. In his last start, Jurrjens allowed six earned runs and two homers in just 2.1 innings. He left the ball over the plate and missed his target numerous times, making it easy for Nationals hitters to get the barrel on the ball and make good contact.
Nationals starter Ross Detwiler had the same plan as Jurrjens. Both tried to attack hitters, hit the corners and force weak contact. Detwiler allowed just one earned run in seven innings, and he forced weak contact and hit his spots. Jurrjens gave up nine hits and got seven outs, and a lot of the pitches he threw were hit very hard into the outfield.
If the Braves wanted to keep that going, they would have left the rotation just like it is. However, they didn't. So, they agreed to a deal that would bring the league leader in ERA to Atlanta.
If Dempster Landed in Atlanta, What Would the Trade Mean for Atlanta?
Dempster has a 2.11 ERA, although his record is just 5-4. The Cubs have failed to support him with runs, but the Braves have a much better lineup. Everyone in the lineup can hit, and they will provide run support for Dempster. That will lead to a lot more wins for the Braves.
Jurrjens was consistently pitching well last year, but this year, he's consistently leaving pitches over the plate. Dempster has been very consistent, and he doesn't let guys get on base often. He has a 1.05 WHIP, which is among the best in the league.
With Dempster, Hudson, Hanson and Sheets in their rotation, Atlanta will be tough to beat. Hitters won't get a break during the playoffs, since Atlanta will only need a four-man rotation. They'll have strikeout specialists in Hanson and Sheets, and consistent pitchers who know how to force weak contact in Dempster and Sheets.
Atlanta isn't very far behind the Nationals, but they would benefit from adding depth to their rotation. Washington is a very well-rounded team, and they have the best team ERA in baseball. The Braves are in the bottom half of the league in ERA, and Jurrjens is a major reason for that.
If Dempster, who has a no-trade clause, doesn't accept the deal, Atlanta's playoff and championship hopes will take a major hit. There are other pitchers on the trade market, but none as good as Dempster. Atlanta would have trouble pulling off another deal, and Jurrjens would have to pitch at least one more time.
Dempster will probably end up in Atlanta, and the Braves will instantly become contenders. With Brian McCann, Martin Prado, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Chipper Jones in the lineup, Dempster, Hudson, Hanson and Sheets in the rotation, and Craig Kimbrel closing, Atlanta will be hard to beat.
But if the deal for Dempster falls through, a lot of things will change for the Braves. And the changes won't be good for the Braves.
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