Ryan Dempster loses out on Dodgers, so he heads to Rangers
By GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org July 31, 2012 11:00PM
Ryan Dempster (5-5, 2.25 ERA in 16 starts) consented to trades to the Rangers and Yankees as the deadline approached. | David Banks~Getty Images
Updated: September 2, 2012 6:22AM
Ryan Dempster might be as close to a World Series as he ever has been after a final-hour trade Tuesday to Texas.
The Cubs, meanwhile, look as far away from one as they have been in recent years after three trades in the final 20 hours before Tuesday’s non-waiver deadline that left them short of the prospect haul they had hoped to land.
Of the five minor-leaguers the Cubs acquired in one trade with Atlanta and two with the Rangers, talent evaluators say the best one is former Braves prospect Arodys Vizcaino, who just had Tommy John surgery.
Vizcaino, who was acquired in Monday night’s Paul Maholm-Reed Johnson deal, should be ready to pitch next spring, considering the almost-routine nature of Tommy John surgery these days.
But he’s a far cry from Randall Delgado, the highly regarded Braves pitcher/prospect who looks ready now and was clearly the best offer the Cubs got for Dempster before the pitcher vetoed the deal.
In the end, the Cubs never got close to a deal with Dempster’s desired team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and took what they could get in the final 30 minutes before the
3 p.m. deadline.
They got a pair of Class A players for Dempster: right-hander Kyle Hendricks and third baseman Christian Villanueva. Dempster spent the final hour or two in the Cubs’ offices and consented to possible deals with Texas and the New York Yankees only when the Dodgers option was exhausted.
‘‘We had to, not scramble, but work pretty hard at the end to find a suitable deal for him,’’ said general manager Jed Hoyer.
‘‘He’d probably still be a Cub [if Rangers talks fell through]. We had dialogue going with three clubs in the end. But in the end, Texas really stepped up.’’
The Cubs still plan to be active trying to make trades through the waiver process in August.
The Cubs fell short of expectations because of their inability to widen the field of potential Dempster destinations and the arm injury that deflated a strong market for pitcher Matt Garza.
Hoyer called Dempster a ‘‘great guy,’’ and both sides indicated there was no animosity involved with Dempster’s stand regarding his rights as a ‘‘10 and 5’’ player.
‘‘He has every right to tell us he wanted to end up on the West Coast,’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘Because of that it certainly wasn’t an open market, if you will. A lot of teams need starting pitching. In this situation, because of the player’s right, we only had the ability to talk to one team for a long time and at the end it opened up. … But he earned that [right].’’
Dempster said he’s not sure in hindsight whether he’s better off with Texas than Atlanta.
‘‘Well, we’ll see,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s no right or wrong decisions. There’s just journeys in life. … You have to try to make the most of those. … We’ll see if this is the right decision.’’
Multiple sources say the Cubs sought highly rated pitching prospect Allen Webster from the Dodgers, who didn’t bite. The Dodgers were willing to take Dempster’s remaining salary (close to $5 million), making them less willing to part with top prospects in exchange for a rent-a-pitcher who can become a free agent after the season.
‘‘We actually had dialogue with them really up until the end,’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘It wasn’t for lack of hard work with them that we didn’t get a deal done.’’
When Dempster consented to the Yankees or Rangers in the final hour, it set off a flurry of activity in the Cubs’ offices.
‘‘There was a lot of emotions,’’ Dempster said. ‘‘I thought it was going to be the Dodgers. I thought it was going to be the Yankees. I thought it was going to be this, that and the other. It ended up being Texas. And I’m super excited. They’ve been in the World Series two years in a row and they’ve got a great team. Hopefully, I can go over there and just be a little piece of the really good puzzle they’ve got going.’’