Trade Target — Ryan Dempster

Could this face be in Cleveland soon?

One in a series of posts previewing the upcoming trade deadline. Previous entries:

An argument to make a trade - Valuing Cleveland's Tradable Assets

Trade Target — Carlos Quentin

If you're cagey, you've probably noticed that the title of this piece implies that Ryan Dempster is a 'trade target', a player that the Indians might acquire through an exchange of player sometime over the next few weeks. We'll play along with that as a premise, but we should probably be clear: as the first piece in this series indicated, Cleveland's farm is fallow and Dempster, in a year without a CC Sabathia or Cliff Lee on the market, may very well demand a price the Indians cannot afford.

Overview

Year Age Tm W L ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
1998 21 FLA 1 5 7.08 14 11 1 0 0 0 54.2 72 47 43 6 38 35 57 2.012 11.9 1.0 6.3 5.8 0.92
1999 22 FLA 7 8 4.71 25 25 0 0 0 0 147.0 146 77 77 21 93 126 91 1.626 8.9 1.3 5.7 7.7 1.35
2000 23 FLA 14 10 3.66 33 33 0 2 1 0 226.1 210 102 92 30 97 209 121 1.356 8.4 1.2 3.9 8.3 2.15
2001 24 FLA 15 12 4.94 34 34 0 2 1 0 211.1 218 123 116 21 112 171 86 1.562 9.3 0.9 4.8 7.3 1.53
2002 25 TOT 10 13 5.38 33 33 0 4 0 0 209.0 228 127 125 28 93 153 77 1.536 9.8 1.2 4.0 6.6 1.65
2002 25 FLA 5 8 4.79 18 18 0 3 0 0 120.1 126 66 64 12 55 87 84 1.504 9.4 0.9 4.1 6.5 1.58
2002 25 CIN 5 5 6.19 15 15 0 1 0 0 88.2 102 61 61 16 38 66 69 1.579 10.4 1.6 3.9 6.7 1.74
2003 26 CIN 3 7 6.54 22 20 1 0 0 0 115.2 134 89 84 14 70 84 63 1.764 10.4 1.1 5.4 6.5 1.20
2004 27 CHC 1 1 3.92 23 0 8 0 0 2 20.2 16 9 9 1 13 18 114 1.403 7.0 0.4 5.7 7.8 1.38
2005 28 CHC 5 3 3.13 63 6 53 0 0 33 92.0 83 35 32 4 49 89 141 1.435 8.1 0.4 4.8 8.7 1.82
2006 29 CHC 1 9 4.80 74 0 64 0 0 24 75.0 77 47 40 5 36 67 97 1.507 9.2 0.6 4.3 8.0 1.86
2007 30 CHC 2 7 4.73 66 0 58 0 0 28 66.2 59 36 35 8 30 55 98 1.335 8.0 1.1 4.1 7.4 1.83
2008 31 CHC 17 6 2.96 33 33 0 1 0 0 206.2 174 75 68 14 76 187 154 1.210 7.6 0.6 3.3 8.1 2.46
2009 32 CHC 11 9 3.65 31 31 0 1 1 0 200.0 196 94 81 22 65 172 122 1.305 8.8 1.0 2.9 7.7 2.65
2010 33 CHC 15 12 3.85 34 34 0 1 0 0 215.1 198 110 92 25 86 208 110 1.319 8.3 1.0 3.6 8.7 2.42
2011 34 CHC 10 14 4.80 34 34 0 0 0 0 202.1 211 111 108 23 82 191 80 1.448 9.4 1.0 3.6 8.5 2.33
2012 35 CHC 5 3 1.86 14 14 0 0 0 0 92.0 69 21 19 6 25 75 214 1.022 6.8 0.6 2.4 7.3 3.00
15 Yrs 117 119 4.30 533 308 185 11 3 87 2134.2 2091 1103 1021 228 965 1840 99 1.432 8.8 1.0 4.1 7.8 1.91
162 Game Avg. 9 10 4.30 43 25 15 1 0 7 173 169 89 83 18 78 149 99 1.432 8.8 1.0 4.1 7.8 1.91
W L ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
CHC (9 yrs) 67 64 3.72 372 152 183 3 1 87 1170.2 1083 538 484 108 462 1062 116 1.320 8.3 0.8 3.6 8.2 2.30
FLA (5 yrs) 42 43 4.64 124 121 1 7 2 0 759.2 772 415 392 90 395 628 92 1.536 9.1 1.1 4.7 7.4 1.59
CIN (2 yrs) 8 12 6.39 37 35 1 1 0 0 204.1 236 150 145 30 108 150 66 1.684 10.4 1.3 4.8 6.6 1.39
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/16/2012.

  • Dempster's career deserves a post all its own. Some of the things Dempster has done:
  • Served as the ace of a bad Florida Marlins team, which was managed by a man whose name I do not think I've ever heard: John Boles. Google Image is really not helpful.
  • Pitched in a truly horrific Cincinnati Reds rotation which was fronted by our old friend Danny Graves. Seriously, go look at that rotation — is that the worst one in recent memory? The best pitcher in it had an ERA+ of 89.
  • When his career appeared totally over — which appeared to be the case for a lot of the guys pitching in Cincinnati around that time — he resurrected his career as a first decent, then Borwoskian closer for the Cubs.
  • When his career again appeared over because he was a lousy closer for the Cubs, he insisted he become a starter, added a weird glove flap that commentators talk about incessantly, and transformed into a totally reasonable starter.

All this is to say, in a sport that spawns many odd trajectories, Dempster's is especially weird. It's only fitting that now, as he hits the trading block near the end of his career, Dempster is in the midst of another weird chapter, leading baseball with a 1.86 ERA despite being substantially the same pitcher he was last year, when he posted an ERA near five. As with most nice pitching runs, Dempster has benefited from a high LOB% and a lack of balls leaving the park, while also making some of his own luck, especially through a decreased walk rate. And, of course, this is happening at exactly the moment when former boy wonder Theo Epstein needs it to, giving the Cubs first year GM a chance to rebuild his farm through some deadline dealing. If you forced me to draw an analogy (which is increasingly common these days — people are constantly forcing me to draw analogies), I'd say Dempster is just Derek Lowe from his first few starts of 2012, except Dempster's luck hasn't yet turned. In short, Dempster is durable and capable of putting together a nice run, which he's doing. How long will that run last though? And what's that really worth?

Contract Status

Demptster is being paid $14,000,000 this year and will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Roster Fit

The Indians have only used six starters all year, which is a little disorienting considering ten pitchers started games for the 2011 Indians. However, the low number of starters needed hasn't been a result of great performance: the bottom of the Indians rotation reasonably starts after Justin Masterson and Derek Lowe who are, incidentally, the middle of the rotation. There is no top. Anyway, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Tomlin, and Jeanmar Gomez have all struggled mightily this season, although each has also put together limited runs of success (Tomlin being the most limited in that department). Zach McAllister, who took Gomez's spot when Jeanmar finally got sent to Columbus, has so far been serviceable. However, his minor league track record indicates Cleveland should proceed with caution.

Point being: Dempster fits onto the team because, even at his 2009-2011 levels he'd still obviously be one of the Indians top three pitchers. To accomodate him, one of Tomlin or McAllister would likely go down, or maybe Ubaldo would come down with a strain that required a rehab assignment. This last scenario is particularly plausible if Jimenez doesn't bounce back well from the Terror in Toronto, as I'm calling his last start, often and in public, receiving in response only quizzical stares.

Estimated Cost

RHP Dillon Howard, LHP Elvis Araujo, and SS Ronny Rodriguez

I've never been terribly good at this game, and I didn't want to just re-list Gomez, McAllister, Barnes, and some relief arm, which Ryan pegged as the price for Quentin. My assumption is that Epstein will focus less on a player that can help in the immediate term (the Cubs are not in good shape going forward, especially with regards to their rotation), and instead seek some pieces that can contribute to the Cubs next pennant run. Of course, maybe Epstein plans to go crazy on the market and fix the rotation, meaning he needs to plug some holes for 2013.

At any rate, what I've outlined here is basically three lottery tickets: two pitchers that were considered decent prospects entering the season and an international signee who's long on tools and has made some strides in his age 20 season in High A. I seriously doubt this set of players would get it done, but I figure this is one route the Cubs might look: try to extract a few two and three star prospects that have ETAs in the 2015 neighborhood.

More likely, I think, is that the Cubs get offered the equivalent of Jed Lowrie or Anthony Rizzo — a very good prospect who has nowhere to go in his current organization. A player like that can both plug an immediate hole and be a part of a pennant run in a few seasons. The Indians don't really have that player; Donald, Phelps or LaPorta come closest but those guys haven't been well regarded by scouts in years (if ever). There's a lot of players the Indians could package for Dempster without blinking an eye, I just suspect they won't be able to overwhelm quality with quantity in this case, or in this market generally.

Latest News

In This Article

Teams
Players
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker