Rumors have been swirling for a few days now that the Dodgers are interested in Ryan Dempster, but it’s a bit of a curious fit because the Dodgers already have Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Ted Lilly, and Nate Eovaldi on staff. All six of those pitchers (assuming Lilly has no structural damage) are at least around average, so there isn’t a pressing need for yet another starter.
The Dodgers are “definitely interested” in Ryan Dempster, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Cubs are expected to consider trade offers for Dempster, a free agent after the season.
As Knobler points out, the Dodgers were interested in Dempster two years ago, but the right-hander preferred to stay in Chicago. Dempster has full no-trade protection as a player with ten and five rights, yet he understands that the Cubs may look to move him for controllable players. The Cubs are open to retaining Dempster long-term and have discussed the possibility with the 35-year-old himself.
So why do I think Dempster is needed? Well it’s not about Dempster specifically, but I think the interest in a quality pitcher does make sense.
While Kershaw is an ace of the highest level, the five pitchers behind him are a bunch of middle or back of the rotation type of arms. Plus, since they currently own the best record in baseball, the interest in a #2 type like Dempster for a playoff run makes sense. Honestly, does anybody really feel comfortable in a playoff series where the team must pick three out of Capuano, Billingsley, Harang, and Lilly? I don’t and Dempster would slot in perfectly behind Kershaw as both a #2 starter type and a right-hander.
SIERA has shown to be the most predictive of future performance, and Dempster would certainly provide a gigantic boost as the #2, upgrading a four-man rotation by 0.54 runs or a five-man rotation by 1.10.
The cost to acquire Dempster is a different issue altogether, but as an idea, it’s certainly understandable that the team would go after arms like Dempster in an attempt to solidify the rotation to make a run at both the playoffs and the World Series.
As an aside, you can see why it’s utterly hilarious to me when people suggest that Chad Billingsley should get removed from the rotation.
Yeah, remove your third best pitcher from the equation, way to go.