O Canada Ryan Dempster
Full Name: Ryan Scott Dempster
Current Team: Texas Rangers
Previous Teams: Florida Marlins, Cincinnati Reds
Hometown: Schelt, British Columbia, Canada
Born: May 3, 1977
Drafted: By the Texas Rangers, 66th pick, 3rd Round, 1995 MLB Draft
As the second winningest pitcher in Canadian Major League Baseball history, Ryan Dempster is a prime example of the Maple Leaf talent that has recently found its way into the elite ranks of professional baseball, including BC born ballers; Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, Jeff Francis and Brett Lawrie.
After arriving in Florida in 1995 as part of a three player deal (joined by pitcher Rick Helling for pitcher John Burkett), Dempster put together a decent five year run with the Marlins, twice finishing the season with a winning record (2000 and 2001). In 2000, Dempster was honored with a spot on the National League All-Star team, as he was on route to finishing the season with a 14-10 record and a 3.66 ERA.
Following his two best seasons to date of his short career, Dempster found himself on the move, as he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Juan Encarnacion, Wilton Guerrero and Ryan Snare.
While he did pitch a .500 season for the Reds, in 2002, his 2003 season proved to be unlucky for the hurler as he was forced to miss the remainder of the year due to an elbow injury and Tommy John surgery, after only 20 starts.
Waived by the Reds, who feared that Dempster would not return to his promising pre-trade form of 2000-2002, the BC born pitcher found himself a new home and a new role for the Chicago Cubs. Following successful rehab from surgery, Dempster’s name was called out of the bullpen for the 2004 season.
After a six year career as a starter, Dempster found himself playing a new role in Chicago, one in which he would flourish for the next few years, including 33 saves in 35 attempts in 2005. The result, a new three year, $15.5 million contract.
After three years in the Cubs bullpen, Dempster returned to the starting core, as the Cubs looked to solidify their starting rotation with hopes of a second straight post season appearance after a three year hiatus.
Back in the starting rotation, Dempster once again found himself headed to the All-Star game with the National League squad, based on his early season success of what would be a 17-6 season, his career best.
With a first place finish in the NL Central, the Cubs were headed back to the playoffs, only to be kicked out in three straight for the second straight summer, this time against the LA Dodgers.
Despite being outed from the playoffs for the second straight year, the Cubs rewarded Dempster for his efforts since arriving in Chicago, with a four year $52 million contract. In return, Dempster continued to hold up his end off the mound, going 11-9 in 2009, 15-12 in 2010 and 10-14 in 2011.
Sitting a long, long, long, way out of playoff contention of any sort, the 2012 Cubs are looking to be sellers instead of buyers, hoping to build for the future, of which it appears that Ryan Dempster is not going to be a part of, which at first it seemed like the Schelt native was ok with.
As part of contractual agreement, any player with ten years in the league and at least five straight seasons with the same team, said player has the right to veto any trade.
2012 Trade Talks
On Monday July 23rd, word broke that Dempster was on his way to join the Atlanta Braves, a team on the Wild Card bubble and one that could use Dempster’s experience to get them over the hump.
For reasons only known to the Dempster family, but well speculated by many, the desire to be on the West Coast and closer to his kids has led the fifteen year veteran to halt the transaction, with hopes that the Cubs front office will move him to the LA Dodgers, another team on the brink of a playoff spot, but one that more importantly keeps him closer to home.
He eventually ended up with that Texas Rangers on July 31st 2 minutes before the MLB deadline. A team that needed his arm to compete with the LA Angels in the AL West.
He was traded for Minor Leaguers Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks. He made his debut on August 2, 2012 along with former teammate Geovany Soto.
In his debut he pitched against the Angels and lasted 4 2/3 innings while giving up 8 earned runs. Not a great start. But it will get better.
While he may never catch former Cubs pitcher and fellow Canadian MLB Hall of Famer, Ferguson Jenkins as the all time winningest pitcher from North of the border, Ryan Dempster has carved out an impressive career, regardless of how he finishes up.