Two years ago the Cubs were doing what they have done best lately, having a fire sale near the deadline after another rough first half. One of the pieces they had was Ryan Dempster who was having an extremely good season as the Cubs ace (2.25ERA). Theo & Co. doing what they do best were ready to maximize that value and send Dempster off for some long-term assets. What was holding a lot of this up was that Dempster had a no trade clause.
Everyone wants to hang out with Ted Lilly
Everyone and their mother knew that Demp wanted to go to the Dodgers to have a reunion with former Cubs pitcher (and destroyer of Yadier Molina) Ted Lilly who is now back with the Cubs in a front office job. That presented one problem that hurt the leverage the Cubs had with the Dodgers. Allen Webster was the guy the Cubs were asking for but again they had no leverage to push other teams in the fold to force the Dodgers hand because of Dempsters wishes. Eventually the trade to LA would not be possible because the return for the Cubs was just not there. It was time to move on.
They don’t did a trade
The next move was to find another suitor that Dempster would accept a trade to. After some searching they seemed to find a suitor in the Atlanta Braves. It was July 23, 2012 when news broke that the Cubs had acquired Randall Delgado from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for veteran Ryan Dempster. Then Delgado famously tweeted out “They don’t did a trade” and everyone including myself were ecstatic about it. Delgado who was ranked at the time the 46th best prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America a list that also included Rizzo(47), Vizcaino(40 w/ATL) and Brett Jackson (32). Naturally twitter just absolutely blew up. Then all that excitement came to a screeching halt when reports came out that Dempster may have refused the trade. A fan favorite turned into Cubs enemy #1 and some still see him that way.
Rangers we luv ya
There was really no way the Cubs and Ryan Dempster could continue after what had happened with Atlanta so again the front office had to find another suitor…and fast. Then our savior riding in on his trusty stead Jon Daniels put the Rangers in the running. In the last moments before the Trade deadline passed the Cubs and Rangers executed a trade to send Dempster to Texas for pitcher Kyle Hendricks and 3rd basemen Christian Villanueva. Both players had upside but not the pedigree of Randall Delgado at the time
(Sidenote: Thank you for the Garza return too, Jon)
Randall Delgado, now with the Diamondbacks struggled a bit in 19 starts with Arizona. He went 5-7 4.26Era with a FIP that was a bloated 4.99. The players the Cubs received in the trade with Texas had breakout years in the minors. Hendricks turned out to be Cubs Pitcher of the Year and may have a shot at a back end of the rotation as soon as 2015 and maybe some time near the end of 2014. Villanueva seems to be the forgotten man with Olt, Baez and Bryant all having possible futures at 3rd base but he is making his name known not just in Chicago but also around the league. There is a possibility we may not see him with the Cubs in the future but Villanueva could possibly be a big chip in a trade very soon. Now Delgado is still very young but my question is: Was the failed trade with Atlanta a blessing in disguise? Would you rather have Delgado (could be in the bullpen this year) or Villanueva and Hendricks? Discuss.