Jon Daniels and Theo Epstein have become friends in the past 24 hours apparently. A day after trading for catcher Geovany Soto, Jon Daniels acquired Ryan Dempster from the Cubs, in exchange for Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks, according to Evan Grant.
Sources: Rangers send 3B Christian Villanueva and RHP Kyle Hendricks to Cubs for Dempster.— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) July 31, 2012
Dempster has been very good for the Cubs this year. In 104 innings, Dempster has registered a 2.25 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Luck has been on Dempster's side, however. Dempster's BABIP is abnormally low, at .242, and he's only striking out 7.18 batters per nine innings. Consequently, Dempster's FIP is at 3.41, and his xFIP is at 3.71 -- numbers that reflect Dempster's abilities much better.
Through those 104 innings, Dempster has been worth 2.2 WAR, which is very similar to Colby Lewis' WAR. Before being lost to the season due to injury, Lewis posted a 2.0 WAR in 105 innings, and had a 7.97 K/9, and 1.08 WHIP. Lewis' FIP sat at 3.86, similar to Dempster's 3.41.
Is regression likely for Dempster, once he comes to the American League and to Arlington? Yes, yes it is. Is he going to be an ace? No, he is not. Do not let his ERA deceive you.
Dempster, however, will stabilize the rotation, and he should pitch comparably to Lewis. For the price the Rangers paid, it's a fine pickup -- just don't expect Dempster to replicate his numbers to date. He won't.