Since the start of the season, many baseball insiders thought that if the Cubs were going to trade a starting pitcher this season it would be Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs front office is willing to trade Zambrano, though, they may struggle to find a taker for their highly priced temperamental starting pitcher. With the Yankees not looking like a possible suitor for Zambrano, it increases the difficulty for Cubs general manager Jim Hendry to find a trade partner for Zambrano. But one pitcher the Yankees do have interest in and presumably a lot of other teams, is Ryan Dempster. The Yankees top advisers prefer Dempster over Zambrano, and reportedly have Dempster high on their wish list.
There is no question that it would take a lot to convince Hendry that trading Dempster would be the best option for the Cubs. But in reality, trading Dempster would make a lot of sense for the Cubs going forward. Dempster will be 35 next season, and does not figure to be a piece in the Cubs long term future. Not to mention that Dempster’s production has begun to fall off compared to recent seasons.
In 16 starts this season, Dempsterhas a record of 5-6 to go along with an ERA of 5.46. Dempster had a string of poor outings in April which has led to his inflated ERA. However, Dempster still is not on the same level that he once was on. Dempster’s ERA of 5.46 is the highest it has been at any point during his Cubs career; Dempster has been vulnerable to the home run ball this season as his HR/9 ratio stands at 1.27, which is a career high. Not to mention that batters are hitting .331 against Dempster when the ball is put in play. In general, opponents are hitting .275 against Dempster this season.
But, Dempster does appear to be turning the corner. In May, Dempster had an ERA of 3.08 in 38 innings of work. So far in the month of June, Dempster has an ERA of 3.86. If Dempster continues the success that he had in May and now in June, he should be right around his career averages come season’s end. Fortunately for the Cubs, Dempster is regaining his top of the rotation form. Because with the Cubs expected to be sellers this season, many teams will look over the Cubs roster and determine if there is anyone they need to make a postseason run. Starting pitching is always in demand, meaning many teams will likely have interest in Dempster. Dempster is owed $13.5 million this season, and now has 10-5 rights. Meaning he has the right to veto any trade he is apart of.
Dempster would be a more dependable option over Zambrano, and Dempster is the more affordable option. The Yankees do have interest in Dempster, though, the Cubs do not have any intention of trading Dempster this season. Though, considering Dempster holds a $14MM player option for 2012, the Cubs may want to look into trading him before he becomes yet another overpriced player on the Cubs roster.