The Atlanta Braves are closing in on a deal to acquire Ryan Dempster from the Cubs in exchange for several high-profile minor league prospects. If Chicago pulled the trigger on this deal, it'd be another smart move by team president Theo Epstein.
Dempster has been pretty good in a Cubs uniform since arriving in 2004 but, moving forward, he is of minimal use to the club.
Moving the 35-year-old pitcher during his best season means he is overvalued to any team in a playoff race. In other words, somebody, like the Braves, are going to overpay for him, helping the Cubs in the long run. Even though Dempster has provided incredible numbers (2.11 ERA, 77 K's, 1.01 WHIP in 15 starts), I anticipate a crash-down next season.
Which is exactly what the Cubs don't need.
Dempster has a career ERA of 4.31 with a 116 strikeout-per-season average and 117 wins, numbers an upper middle of the road pitcher would have in the majors. There is nothing to suggest Dempster would continue his magical season long-term through his career.
Which is exactly why the Cubs need to move him immediately. Chicago is clearly in a rebuilding mode, where the value of a 35-year-old pitcher is quickly dropping moving forward. There is no need for Dempster to stay on a Cubs roster and play out a season in which his club is playing .300 baseball, only to explore free agency at the end of the year anyway. His contract expires at the end of this year.
Dempster needs to go to a team that is ready to win right now. This time of year, teams in playoff races always overpay and over-value guys, because they're looking at the here and now, not the future.
Trade Ryan Dempster while he's at a high value, and continue to build your team for the future.