Monday was perhaps the busiest day of the season for the Chicago Cubs. As the team made a handful of moves that likely have major implications for what the Cubs plan to do within the next couple of months.
The biggest move was starting pitcher Ryan Dempster being placed on the disabled list with is being called a tightness in his right latissimus dorsi muscle. The injury is not believed to be serious, and Dempster admitted that he began feeling the tightness after his start against the Milwaukee Brewers. Cubs’ president Theo Epstein addressed the media on Monday, and said Dempster being placed on the disabled list was more of a precautionary measure.
The biggest question now becomes how does this injury effect Dempster’s trade value. The answer is that it shouldn’t. Dempster has pitched with this injury for the past two starts, and those two starts were in the midst of Dempster having the best stretch of starts in his career. There is also a conspiracy theory that is going around. The theory began with David Kaplan, as Kaplan tweeted last night that Dempster going on the disabled list could be Epstein’s way of ensuring the veteran pitcher does not get injured while he finalizes a trade involving Dempster. To add to the theory, the one the Los Angeles Dodgers top pitching prospects was placed on the 15 day disabled list as well on Monday.
I do not believe that to be the case. It seems far too complicated to place Dempster on the disabled list while the front office finalizes a trade. For one, such a move would take away from the Cubs’ leverage. Lets say that the reason Dempster was placed on the disabled list was because the Cubs’ front office is finalizing a trade with the Dodgers. Until there is an actual agreement between the two teams, Dempster is still a member of the Cubs’ organization. Meaning other teams interested in Dempster such as the Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Boston Red Sox could all make a play for the veteran starting pitcher. However, if the Dodgers are the only team that know that the Cubs placed Dempster on the disabled list for the mere purpose of finalizing a trade, the other interested parties would obviously want to wait to see Dempster pitch once he is activated off the disabled list because of the perceived injury that they think he has.
In any event, the Cubs dis preserve Dempster’s trade value. Dempster is still going to be traded by July 31. The only thing the trip to disabled list does for Dempster is delay the inevitability of Dempster being traded. The fact that Dempster pitched successfully through this injury in his previous two starts, Cubs fans should be confident will continue on the course he has set this season once he returns from the disabled list.
In the meantime, Randy Wells will replace Dempster in the starting rotation. This could also benefit the Cubs. The new Cubs’ regime is obviously not too fond of Wells as a pitcher. It stands to reason that the Cubs front office will try to trade Wells prior to the trade deadline. If Wells can string together a pair of quality starts while Dempster is on the disabled list, that may go a long way in the Cubs ability to find Wells a new a team with the opportunity of being a starting pitcher once again.