The Texas Rangers have acquired pitcher Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs, beating out both the Dodgers and Yankees for the highly coveted starter.
The Rangers sent third baseman Christian Villanueva and RHP Kyle Hendricks to Cubs for Dempster. Both are at Class A.
With a strong season that included a 33-inning scoreless streak, Dempster was one of the most attractive pitchers on the market. He was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA in 16 games for the Cubs.
The Rangers were looking for pitching help even though they began the day leading with a 59-42 record and a 3 1/2-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.
Right-hander Colby Lewis underwent surgery Friday to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow and will miss the remainder of the season. Roy Oswalt has struggled, too, since signing as a free agent in midseason. The Rangers announced after the trade deadline that pitcher Neftali Feliz, who was moved into a starter role this season, has to undergo Tommy John surgery.
The Rangers were talking to the Cubs about pitcher Matt Garza and Dempster to the end, trying to get one or the other.
The Rangers were more comfortable with Dempster medically than Garza, according to a source. A lower asking price was the other thing that pushed the Rangers to Dempster over Garza.
The Dodgers and Cubs went down to the wire discussing a deal for Dempster, but there is frustration on both sides over the requests of the other team.
The Dodgers’ position was that they made deals without moving any of top seven to eight prospects. They did not want to move any of them for a rental player like Dempster.
The Braves and Cubs had reached agreement July 23 on a trade that would send Dempster to Atlanta, reportedly for right-hander Randall Delgado. But Dempster, as a player with 10 years of major league service, the last five with the same team, had the right to block any trade and he nixed the Braves deal.
The pitcher, 35, had indicated that the Dodgers were his first choice. But he said Tuesday that he would consider a trade to the Yankees. Dempster’s ties to Yankees special assistant Jim Hendry and pitching coach Larry Rothschild were thought to give the Yankees a chance at persuading him to waive the no-trade.
Dempster is eligible for free agency at the end of the season. He may only be with the Rangers for a short period of time.
Dempster, a native of Gibsons, British Columbia, was thought to prefer the west coast. He still has family in the Vancouver area. He also has a home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He has three children — Brady, 5; Riley, 3; and Finlay, 1 — and wants them to be close to his relatives, sources said.