Well, we were all fooled! Normally I pride myself on being able to see through the hype (see Sosa, Sammy) and see what a pile of crap most players are. Dempster was good, really good, at selling us on his warm-and-fuzzy facade. He runs up mountains! He is a super dad! He does horrifically bad Harry Caray impersonations! He's Canadian, and thus is polite, humble, and lovable!
Ryan Dempster has thrown the first real roadblock into the path of the Epstein Plan.
The Epstein Plan, if it was entered somewhere in an Excel model, and I am sure it is, would have under "July 2012":
- Get one top 50 prospect in return for Ryan Dempster
- Get at least two top 50 prospects in return for Matt Garza
- Get other prospects in return for solid first half performers (eg. LaHair, Baker, Johnson, Soto?)
Since they took over in November, the brain trust have hit all their signposts in terms of Cuban signings, free agent draftings, and minor leaguer promotings. I would not be surprised if on his spreadsheet, the name "Randall Delgado" was entered under July 2012 all along.
But thanks, thanks a bunch Demps. Or whatever your stupid Canadian hockey nickname is. Because now, the Braves have pulled back Delgado, the Dodgers will not trade us their remaining pitching prospect (Zach Lee) for a "rental", and if Epstein wants Zach Lee, and he does, he will have to get him in a Garza trade.
Problem. Refer to the above checklist. Epstein wanted TWO top prospects for Garza. Well, the Dodgers only have one left, meaning if the Garza trade takes place with them, we will net Lee and some lesser prospects. The Dodgers DID have two top pitching prospects a few days ago. They had Nathan Eovaldi. Theo wanted Lee and Eovaldi for Garza, and probably could have had them. Theo could have gotten Delgado from the Braves for Dempster, and Lee and Eovaldi from the Dodgers, and all of a sudden, the Cubs would have an outstanding core of 20, 20, and 22 year old rotation prospects.
But Dempster dragged his feet, and we lost Delgado. In the meantime, the Dodgers sent Eovaldi to Florida in the Hanley Ramirez deal. And now, the best Theo can do with his two main trade chips is Zach Lee and a compensatory draft pick for 2013. Provided of course, Dempster is dealt with properly.
In my opinion, Dempster has nearly zero trade value now. He showed his true colors, that he is no competitor, has little business sense or loyalty to the organization he belongs to. The best we can hope to gain now is the compensatory first round draft pick next year we will get if another team signs him in the offseason. Which is no sure thing.
The new free agent compensation rules state that the compensation only occurs if the Cubs offer him a qualifying contract of roughly $12 million and he declines it. WELL, you say, why would he do THAT? He has shown us all how much he wants to be here. That's clean stealin' there. Well, I say, the Cubs have to make him want to decline.
Take away all his starts. The Epstein model probably has, under "August 2012", "Put prospects into the rotation - sink or swim". I say stick to the plan.
Assuming we get Zach Lee, put him in the rotation. Then there's Maholm (unless he's dealt), Samardzija. Travis Wood needs to show some bounceback, you might have to switch him out. Give frickin' Volstad one more go, and if he still can't throw strikes, give him his DFA. It's time to give Trey McNutt a chance. Or maybe Chris Rusin or Brooks Raley. I think McNutt and Raley would be extremely challenged at this level at this point, but under no circumstances should Ryan Dempster be allowed to make himself comfortable on the Cubs roster from this day forward.
Screw up the Epstein Plan? Then sit your silly ass down in the bullpen, monkey boy.