All of the rumors had him first going to the Cubs then to the Yankees, but ultimately it is the Rangers who acquired Ryan Dempster in exchange for 3B Christian Villanueva and RHP Kyle Hendricks. Let’s take a look:
The Rangers Get:
I have never been the biggest Dempster supporter and I wonder how he will perform in the American League, where the lineups are generally deeper. As it is his strikeouts are down this season (7.18 K/9) and his success has been aided by a lot of luck (.242 BABIP and 84.0% strand rate). Throw in his 24.4% line drive rate and it was only a matter of time before the bubble burst if he stayed in Chicago. Now in Texas…
While it’s not like Wrigley is the greatest pitchers park (especially when the wind is blowing out), The Ballpark at Arlington is far from a prize.
Sure he as good control, but I would be running away from Dempster as quickly as possible. Everything is just stacked for this trade to ultimately look like a disaster.
The Cubs Get:
Villanueva was ranked as the Rangers ninth best prospect entering the season by Baseball America, but he is clearly blocked by both Adrian Beltre and Mike Olt (the team’s #4 prospect) in Texas. He is still just 21-years old and playing at High Single-A, where he was hitting .285 with 10 HR, 59 RBI, 45 R and 9 SB over 375 AB.
You would like to see a few more walks (5.6% this season) and a few more extra base hits in general (19 walks and 1 triple). Prior to the season Baseball America said:
“Villanueva has a short, compact swing with a balanced load and good bat control. He has an advanced approach at the plate, though he can get pull-happy at times. There are mixed opinions on his power, as he presently has line-drive sock but some scouts see at least average potential.”
In other words, there is plenty of upside and time will tell. For a rebuilding franchise like the Cubs, he is a very good get.
Hendricks is also at High Single-A, where he has been extremely impressive. In 20 starts (130.2 IP) he has posted a 2.82 ERA to ho along with 112 K vs. 15 BB. Drafted in the eighth round in 2011, the 22-year old right-handed pitcher has 150 K vs. 21 BB since being drafted.
While he was unranked prior to the season, it’s clear that he has potential and is a name to watch in dynasty formats.
What are your thoughts on the trade? Who is the biggest winner? Who is the biggest loser?