CHICAGO, IL - MAY 13: Matt Garza #17 of the Chicago Cubs (R) playfully jumps over a teammate to congratulate Ryan Dempster #46 after Demster scored a run against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on May 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
With the non-waiver trade deadline looming at 3 p.m. Central today, reports suggest that the Geovany Soto trade yesterday between the Rangers and the Cubs may have simply been an appetizer for a bigger swap between the two clubs.
One report out of Chicago says that the Rangers are interested in Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. Another says the Rangers are interested in Cubs starter Matt Garza, who is sidelined with an injury right now, but who the Rangers have been after for a couple of years now.
For most of this season, the thinking has been that the Rangers were either going to go big or go home with starting pitching -- either trade for a legit #1 starter like Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke, or stand pat. However, with Colby Lewis now done for the season with an injury, Neftali Feliz's status being up in the air, and Roy Oswalt being awful in three of his six starts, the Rangers may be re-considering that stance.
Dempster is a career journeyman who has been outstanding this season, but it seems like it would be risky to trade for him hoping he continues his 2012 performance. If Dempster continues to pitch like he has this year, he's a legit top of the rotation caliber pitcher. If he pitches like he has historically, he doesn't really represent an upgrade over your current top three of Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, and Derek Holland. In addition, the Cubs supposedly had an agreement with the Braves to get stud pitching prospect Randall Delgado from Atlanta for Dempster, a pretty high price for a player who is a free agent after the season. In addition, Dempster has 10/5 rights, so he can veto any trade.
|2012 - Ryan Dempster||5-5||16||16||0||0||0||0||104.0||81||28||26||9||27||83||2.25||1.04|
Matt Garza is a better pitcher than Dempster, and is under team control through 2013, but would also cost more than Dempster (or, most likely, Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels would have). The Rangers supposedly offered a package to Tampa headlined by Derek Holland to get Garza before the 2011 season, and reports are that the Cubs want Mike Olt in a Garza deal.
|2012 - Matt Garza||5-7||18||18||0||0||0||0||103.2||90||48||45||15||32||96||3.91||1.18|
A team trading for Garza would be making a deal banking on Garza being healthy and able to contribute relatively quickly, despite currently being sidelined with a triceps injury.
Aside from Garza and Dempster, there are other random pitchers like Joe Blanton out there who could provide some depth. The Rangers have decide, though, if the price to get someone like that would be worth it, or if they'd be better off sticking with some combination of Roy Oswalt, Martin Perez, Scott Feldman, and Alexi Ogando in the final two rotation spots. With the talk of stretching out Ogando, and the likelihood that Oswalt's rotation spot is pretty well guaranteed, it seems unlikely that the Rangers would get a starting pitcher just to have a warm body to plug into the rotation, and even Garza or Dempster seem like a longshot.