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Report: Red Sox aggressively pursuing Ryan Dempster

Jul 16, 2012, 6:03 PM EST

Ryan Dempster Getty Images

A source told ESPN’s Buster Olney that the Red Sox are aggressively pursuing the Cubs’ Ryan Dempster in a bid to shore up their rotation.

The Red Sox have already worked out one deal this year with their former employees in Chicago (team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer), but the Marlon Byrd trade was small potatoes compared to a potential Dempster deal.

Dempster, a free agent at season’s end, is currently working on a 33-inning scoreless streak and is 5-3 with a 1.86 ERA in 92 innings for the season. The Cubs are thought to want young pitching and perhaps a third-base prospect in return for him.

The Red Sox have maybe the game’s best third-base prospect in 19-year-old Xander Bogaerts. He’s currently a shortstop, but he is outgrowing the position and most project him to shift to third or the outfield. It’s doubtful they’d part with him for a rental, though. They do have 21-year-old Garin Cecchini they can make available. He’s hitting .309/.389/.441 in low-A ball.

Young pitchers the Red Sox could deal include right-handers Anthony Ranaudo, Stolmy Pimentel and Alex Wilson and left-handers Henry Owens and Drake Britton.

A less likely possibility is that they could send left-hander Felix Doubront to Chicago. Doubront has nine wins for Boston this year, but he’s struggled some lately. With Matt Garza and Paul Maholm also potentially on the block, the Cubs would certainly appreciate some young pitching capable of stepping right into the rotation.

  1. randygnyc - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Bogaerts, dubront and bard should get it done for Boston. Maybe send some cash to the cubs too.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:14 PM

      Seems like a lot to give up for a rental player. Particularly one whose track record for success, outside of this season, is rather questionable.

      • xwarr1orx - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:57 PM

        3.66ERA, 56-44, 8.2k/9 and 3.2bb/9 since 2008 on some pretty bad Cubs teams. Demp has been great in any role, was a pretty good closer before that. Try again.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:07 PM

        How does the fact the Cubs were bad impact the stats you give above? Career 4.30 ERA with a WHIP of 1.432. Furthermore, his BABIP is unsustainable compared to his career norm. His xFIP is 3.71. So, next time you use some stats to be a condescending prick, don’t cherry pick.

      • xwarr1orx - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:20 PM

        Only mentioned how bad Cubs in relation to his W/L record which most will look at without looking at the advanced stats. And most of his bad seasons came before his time with the Cubs.

        xFIP has been sustained since 08 3.69, 3.76, 3.74, 3.70, 3.71. And I’m very realistic that his BABIP will not be sustained, doubt very many pitchers could sustain that 2.42. You were the one misinformed, calling his track record for success not being sustainable I just said he has been the same pitcher since 08 and like any player has been lucky and equally unlucky.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:24 PM

        Right…I get that he is a mid rotation starter. But giving an “ace” like package as mentioned above would just be foolish. I was alluding to the assumption that is a verifiable ace. The success of previous seasons can be repeated, but assuming that his ERA of 1.8 or whatever will translate for the rest of the season is a bit unrealistic given the peripherals. Also, sorry for calling you a condescending prick. That was out of line.

      • xwarr1orx - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:31 PM

        No hard feelings, Im still learning the advanced stats and sorry for butchering my post. I know he’s not a TOR starter but he’s having an incredible year, and is something no stat can show. An Incredible leader/teammate, he’s had some terrible defense behind him since Lou came to Chicago.

        I think his value is basically going on the fact he is hot as anyone is baseball, eats up innings and you pretty much know what you’ll get from him, and the fact if you want to bring him back he isn’t a very expensive option. I agree he isn’t worth selling the farm for, but he should bring back a decent return for the Cubs.

    • pinkfloydprism - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      Lol. Best joke I have heard all day!

    • hammyofdoom - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      That would be awful. Awful, awful, awful. Their best minor league position player and a potential number 5 starter for Ryan Dempster? I’d prefer them to just tank the second half than see this trade happen

    • markfrednubble - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM

      Not even close. Try ONE of those guys.

      The only reason a two-month rental like Dempster would command serious talent in a trade was because the receiving team (in this case Boston) used to receive a first-round draft pick if the guy was a Type A free agent and signed with another team. Teams could trade a bundle for impending free agents, knowing they would get some immediate impact and a sweet extra draft pick.

      As I understand it, the new basic agreement in effect this year eliminates the draft pick compensation for any player traded in the final year of his contract.

      If the Cubs can get one good prospect for Dempster, they are doing well.

      If the Sox even consider one of their top prospects for Dempster, they are out of their minds. It would need to be a secondary prospect. The reason I say that is no disrespect to Dempster but because I think the Red Sox know they are a long shot to win a championship with this team, and they would be dumb to give away a key future part just to clinch a wild card spot. Until we see Beckett and Lester pitch to their talent levels and evidence that healthy Ellsbury and Crawford can provide a meaningful boost, they should hang onto their young talent.

  2. tashkalucy - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    The Cleveland Indians will beat out 11 other teams and get him.

    Chris Antonetti is a genius that was schooled by the legendary Mark Shapiro. Their farm system is bursting with so many blue chip prospects that they had to order a half-dozen more computers to keep track of the players accomplishments.

    I think that crummy organizations like the Red Sox will just have to admit that the Indians time is now. When he goes in the Hall Of Fame, Chris’s water bottle will follow him in. Great for a person to have a pacifier with them at all times.

    • realitypolice - Jul 18, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      Trading for mediocre NL pitchers should hardly be described as genius.

  3. cgraszer - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    How do you figure the Indians have a great farm system, they were ranked 28th in MLB this past March. Red Sox were ranked 12th. I just want the Cubs to get the best deal possible, I would assume Theo and company know the Red Sox system best, leaves little chance for a prospect(s) to bust a year or two down the line.

  4. baseballisboring - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Dempster would be a huge addition for us I think. We’ve managed to stay afloat this long, and we have Ellsbury back, Bailey on his way…I think a durable #3 is exactly what we need to get us over the hump.

    • banksatdixie - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:48 PM

      What position do you play?

      Big Papi, is that you??

      • baseballisboring - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM

        eh, deal with it

  5. proudlycanadian - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Interesting speculation; however, the Cubs will not fill all their long term needs by trading Dempster. Trading both Dempster and Garza will help a lot more. I am not surprised at this story, as historically, there have been a lot of leaks emanating from the Red Sox.

  6. pisano - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Just about any pitcher would be an upgrade on that team.

    • Jack Marshall - Jul 17, 2012 at 7:35 AM

      Such an intentionally ignorant comment. If you can’t say something intelligent, why say anything at all?

  7. proudlycanadian - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    This just in: The Red Sox will aggressively offer Bill James for Dempster.

  8. trapper17 - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    When I said I wanted starting pitching Dempster is not what I had in mind what is wrong with this organazation. They will have to give up way to much . For a rental they should seriously c how much it would take to land Quentin can’t hurt. To c. He would probably give to 30 – 35 a yr in Fenway since agon decided not to hit for power anymore he would add protection for big Papi

  9. giantssb42champs - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    I like the rent-a-Dumpster trade idea if they could pull it off.

  10. nolasoxfan2012 - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    The Red Sox aren’t trading Bogaerts, Doubront, Bard, Cecchini, or any other major prospect for a guy who’s a free agent in three months. Just mentioning Bogaerts here is silly speculation.

  11. jon623 - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    Side note – anybody see Dempster’s Harry Caray impression on SportsCenter today? Awesome.

    • istillbelieveinblue - Jul 17, 2012 at 7:38 AM

      He’s been doing that for years…always makes me laugh! Great guy to have in the clubhouse.

  12. edelmanfanclub - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    Please no. Theo is going to take so much from our farm for a rental that we cant get comp picks for. Stick with who we have. Dempster is pitching very well but his ERA is going to up and thats a definite if he comes to the East.

  13. puddleofaids - Jul 17, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    It’s an awesome year for dempster I can appreciate a good ball player, that being said if the sox have to sell the farm in what will be called a blockbuster deal for a ‘rental’ as a red sox fan I’d much rather them get rid of the blue chip prospects for Hamels. Yes that would be potentially 3 lefties in the rotation if they don’t have to include Dubront. But all of that for a rental? Cheering ton need to grow some take whatever it is Theo ate when he was there and package some chips to get a starter like king Felix. Boston isn’t in a rebuilding phase, and won’t be the Nation would disappear, this isn’t Chicago where it’s ok to stink(sorry cubs fans) but we’ve tasted victory and defeat(more often than not)but since 07 there’s blood bin the water and were sharks combing thru trying to take a bite, and renting 35year old players isn’t going to fulfill our appetite. Hamels, Felix, or keep getting by with what we got and hope injury woes are over

  14. realitypolice - Jul 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Two things: Why in the world would the Red Sox consider themselves to be buyers and not sellers in this trade market? Do they honestly believe they still have a shot at the postseason?

    Secondly, when are teams in the AL, especially the AL East, going to learn about trading for NL Pitchers?

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