Earlier today, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported that the Atlanta Braves had acquired Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for 22 year old right-handed starter Randall Delgado. However, shortly after the report was issued, Dempster told his Twitter followers that there was no deal.
At the time, it was assumed that the terms of the deal were worked out and then leaked before approval from Dempster was requested and given. Since the veteran pitcher has played five years for his current club and ten years in Major League Baseball he holds “10 & 5″ rights, which allow him to veto any trade with which he’s involved.
The Twitter, the Facebook, the things that get produced and published that aren’t true is just off the charts.
If the deal had gone through, Dempster would have most likely replaced Jair Jurrjens in the Braves’ top heavy rotation, which has been an unlikely source of weakness for the team after Brandon Beachy and Arodys Vizcaino both went down elbow injuries that required Tommy John surgery. The desperation for quality pitching from the back end of the starting staff grew to a breaking point earlier this month, causing the Braves to sign the surprisingly effective Ben Sheets to a contract.
While reaping the benefits of some good fortune (low BABIP, high strand rate), Dempster has been fantastic for the Cubs this season, putting up the lowest ERA among starting pitchers in all of baseball. With velocity declining on his fastball, the 35 year old right handed hurler has relied on his slider and splitter more frequently this season while walking a fewer percentage of batters than he has at any other point of his career.
Dempster will become a free agent at season’s end. With a prospect of Delgado’s caliber going to Chicago, it’s quite likely that the Cubs would have included cash in the deal to cover a significant portion of whatever is remaining on the $14 million total that Dempster is scheduled to earn in 2012.
In his first full season at the Major League level, the young pitcher has shown flashes of brilliance. Despite occasionally lacking the very best in terms of control, Delgado induces a lot of ground balls with his low nineties two seamer. However, it’s not all about inducing contact, as he isn’t afraid to go for a swing and miss with a very good change up.
This off season, the Braves faced some criticism for their reluctance to deal from the cadre of young pitching arms in their system to improve in other areas. I’m not sure if trying to make this deal happen is an answer to that criticism, but Delgado would’ve been a high price to pay for two months of Dempster. However, as the phrasing lexicon of this blog loves to claim: flags fly forever.
Clinging to a half game lead for the second Wild Card, the Braves are also in the thick of things for the division title, currently 3.5 games behind the Washington Nationals in the National League East.