The Chicago Cubs appear desperate to trade starting pitcher Ryan Dempster ahead of Tuesday's deadline, and three potential suitors have distanced themselves from the field. According to David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees are the most likely landing spots for Dempster.
Dempster is having a strong rebound season with a record of 5-5, a 2.25 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He has been a streaky pitcher over the course of his career, but this has been his best year since 2008. There is no guarantee that Dempster will continue to pitch at such a high level, but he would be a big help to every team that he is rumored to be traded to.
Here is a breakdown of the three teams in the running and how good of a fit each would be for Dempster.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been the top team in on Dempster for the past several days and they would likely be the best for for him as well. L.A. has already acquired outfielder Shane Victorino and third baseman Hanley Ramirez, so it is clearly committed to making the playoffs and doing some damage. The Dodgers now have a pretty formidable lineup with the aforementioned players as well as Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, but they could most definitely use another starter.
Dempster would probably slide into the Dodgers' No. 2 spot behind ace lefty Clayton Kershaw. Los Angeles has gotten good seasons out of Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Chad Billingsley, but I'm not sure how much any of them can be trusted in a postseason setting. The Dodgers would offer Dempster the most important role of any other team, and due to the extreme weakness of the National League as a whole they stand a great chance to go to the World Series.
The Texas Rangers have been denied in the World Series two seasons in a row and they need to do something in order to get over the hump. Texas already has one of the best offenses in the game, but pitching continues to be a concern. Matt Harrison is Texas' de facto ace by virtue of his 12-6 record and 3.19 ERA, but it's hard to imagine the Rangers winning it all with Harrison as their biggest arm. Aside from him, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Roy Oswalt have all had some issues.
Colby Lewis is out for the season due to injury and Neftali Feliz had a setback in his recovery too, so there is no doubt that Texas needs a starter. Dempster would probably be their No. 2 guy just like he would with the Dodgers, but I would consider Los Angeles to be a slightly better option. It's true that the Rangers have gone to the World Series in consecutive seasons, but the American League lineups are much tougher to handle and balls tend to fly out of the Ballpark at Arlington. Dempster has a better chance to succeed with the Dodgers.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are the third and final team that have emerged as a candidate for Ryan Dempster's services, and while they may represent his best chance at a championship, they are probably the worst choice of the three. The biggest reason for that is that the Yanks already have a pretty firm starting five with CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes. That, of course, is contingent upon Pettitte returning from his leg injury in September and pitching effectively.
Dempster probably wouldn't supplant Sabathia, Kuroda or Pettitte, so he would have to knock both Nova and Hughes into the bullpen come playoff time. Pitching for the Bronx Bombers would mean less pressure to some degree since he would only be the No. 4 starter, but saying that there is less pressure in New York is almost like an oxymoron. When you add to that the fact that Yankee Stadium features a short right-field porch that is conducive to home runs and consider that he may have to face teams like the Rangers, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels in the postseason, the Yanks aren't the best organization for him.
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