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Ryan Dempster

(Not So Instant) Trade Analysis: Ryan Dempster to the Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox get: SP Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster gets: 2 years, $26.5 million

And so concludes an understated, expensive and ultimately…effective offseason for the Boston Red Sox.

The BoSox have spent over $120 million dollars in the past month on new additions, doling out dual $39 million dollar deals for Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, a two year, $10 million dollar commitment to OF Jonny Gomes, as well as a one year, $4.5 million for reliever Koji Uehara. This of course, doesn’t take into account David Ortiz’s new two year, $26 million dollar deal. All in all, the Red Sox spent nearly $150 million this offseason, which is still seven figures less than what they traded out to the Dodgers last August.

There’s really no need to go over the blood-letting that’s gone on in New England in 2012–we’ve covered it extensively on this blog and this season’s edition of the Boston Red Sox was probably one of the most over-reported last place teams ever. However, with the freed up money they had from dealing Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, Josh Beckett and Weekend at Crawford’s onto the Dodgers, GM Ben Cherington and company could splurge on the many holes created by their departures.

While all four of these deals weren’t particularly worthy of the money spent, there’s no doubt that these are four contributors that will shore up the reserves without the pressure of $100 million contracts bringing them down. In this particular case, Ryan Dempster will take that to his advantage.

At over $13 million a year, the proud Canadian right-hander isn’t a steal, but the length of his contract certainly is. Over his career as a starter, Dempster’s flipped between being an effective high strikeout and high contact pitcher and, well, a non-effective high contact, high strikeout pitcher. He’s either been able to harness his best and worst trait, which was personified by his 2012 season. While in Chicago playing for the Cubs, Dempster allowed only 81 hits and struck out 83 in 100 innings to the tune of a 2.25 ERA. However, after being traded to Chicago, he struck out more batters but also allowed more hits resulting a messy 5.09 ERA.

In Boston, there’s conflicting thoughts on if he’ll succeed. Dempster’s spent a majority of his career in hitter’s parks, between Arlington, Wrigley and Great American in Cincy. Fenway is a moderate park that doesn’t particularly give the advantage to the hitter or pitcher, but it’s certainly better than scorching Texas summers in August and sweltering Julys in Chi-town.

However, he’ll be facing AL East competition in most of his games this season, which shouldn’t be easy on a high contact 36 year old who’s moving to the AL for an entire season for the first time in his career. It’s difficult to say whether or not Dempster is the pitcher he was in Chicago or the batting practice meatballer he was in Texas. At his age, it’s easy to think that last summer’s bean ball session against the American League (not to mention his 2011 where he had a 4.80 ERA and walked 3.6 batters per nine innings) was just a sign of his decline.

Overall though, his potential was enough to take a relative flyer with just a two year commitment. It’s obvious that the Red Sox were going for more understated signings this offseason, preferring to go for players who would only require three year or less deals. Part of the reasoning had to be Boston’s many holes on the line-up sheet, which … Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers get: SP Ryan Dempster

Chicago Cubs get: 3B Christian Villanueva, P Kyle Hendricks

Tears of Texas baseball fans everywhere still saturate the dirt despite the unforgiving southern summer sun, but GM John Daniels is doing his best to see that the waterlogged field doesn’t get damaged any further. In a bid to get to their third straight World Series, the Texas Rangers acquired starter Ryan Dempster just minutes before the trade deadline expired on Tuesday.

Just weeks ago, playoff hero and de facto staff ace Colby Lewis went down for the season with elbow surgery, leaving Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Roy Oswalt and of course, unhealthy MAMBINO favorite Yu Darvish as the only members of the Texas rotation left standing. With CJ Wilson leaving for the Angels in the offseason and former closer turned starter Neftali Feliz undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Rangers needed another starter badly if they wanted to stay up with the hard-charging Angels, who acquired SP Zack Greinke from Milwaukee on Friday.

What the Rangers got certainly wasn’t the postseason hero that they had in the battle-tested Lewis, but is good and bad in his own right. Dempster is having a strange year, having spent time on the DL after pitching at least 200 innings for four straight seasons. His ERA is a career-low 2.25, cutting his walks down to 2.3 per nine innings down from 3.6 per nine the two seasons before that. However, he’s throwing one strikeout less per nine innings than he did the year before. Now 35, Dempster’s performance seems to be due to better pitch control, rather than a late career renaissance involving missing bats. The latter is a troublesome development for a starter that’s been a typically high strikeout pitcher, but also encouraging in that he’s changing his style as he advances towards the end of his career.

Regardless, Dempster’s value to the Rangers is apparent: he’s there to help the Rangers fend off the Angels for the division title. Anaheim showed that they are not merely trying to make a wild card berth with their trade for Greinke, and now boast a better rotation than Texas, and perhaps a comparable lineup. Remarkably, Dempster has only been to the postseason twice, but perhaps less remarkable when you remember that he’s spent a majority of his career with the Cubs. However, the most important role he’ll play with Texas, for now, is pitching every five days to make sure the Rangers are guaranteed at least three games in the playoffs, rather than the crapshoot one game wild card round.

New Cubs GM Theo Epstein continues his complete revamp of the organization by cutting ties with the nine-year Chicago veteran in Dempster. Moving forward, I thought the Cubs might try to re-sign Dempster, who still provides value and had seemed to want to stay in the Windy City. However, after the former Cubs’ last week veto of a trade to Atlanta, it seems unlikely that such a reunion, even after a trade, would be unlikely. More and more signs point to Theo getting this team ready to compete in two years, rather than next season, when Dempster would be most valuable.

The Cubs got a pretty good return from a guy they weren’t interested in keeping for the long term, so says

Villanueva, 21, has a .285/.356/.421 batting line in 425 plate appearances with Class A Myrtle Beach this year. The third baseman entered the 2012 season as the 100th-best prospect in MLB, according to Baseball America. He has a .286/.350/.438 batting line in four minor league seasons.