In the Chicago Cubs search for starting pitching this offseason, there is one name that refuses to go away. And it’s a name that has really lost its luster on the North Side in the past several months: Ryan Dempster.
Dempster went from fan favorite to a role almost reserved for a villain in Chicago, given the way he left at the trade deadline – or didn’t leave, rather. His situation became national news, as he refused a trade to the Atlanta Braves that would have netted the Cubs top pitching prospect Randall Delgado.
That refusal came after Dempster essentially did whatever would benefit the organization. The Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers were believed to be the two preferred locations for Dempster. Instead, they shipped him to the Texas Rangers for a return that was significantly less.
The fiasco has left a sour taste in the collective mouths of Cub fans and likely would turn many off to the thought of a return from everyone’s favorite Harry Caray impersonator. But the Cubs have reportedly already talked with Dempster, even though those were informal discussions.
The mixed reviews on a potential Dempster-Cubs reunion are definitely warranted, given how he left. Still, a deal would actually benefit the Cubs; but what’s to stop this same situation from happening again next July?
If the Cubs were to sign Dempster, the odds are that they would just spin him for prospects at the trade deadline again. If he didn’t want to leave once, why would he do it again, even if it’s something that they would discuss during contract negotiations? It would be a risk in bringing him back, to be sure.
There are obvious benefits to bringing Dempster back. He was fantastic last year for the Cubs, and is obviously a nice character guy in the clubhouse. The only question is whether or not the Cubs’ brass feel it’s the right move for them. Stay tuned.