OK, so its been a pretty slow year as far as Cubs news goes. The Cubs are in last place and Carlos Zambrano is not around to blow up after another one of his bad outings.
However, I recently came this gem of an article that made me cringe. Apparently, Cubs President Theo Epstein is open to signing Ryan Dempster to an extension.
First let me say that Dempster has been tremendous for the Cubs this year. If it wasn't for him the Cubs would be in last place...er, scratch that. If it wasn't for Dempster, the Cubs would be in Iowa.
But, let's be clear about this, the reason Cubs fans are suffering through this miserable year is that there is a hope that Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have a master rebuilding plan that will put the Cubs back into contention in the not-so-distant future.
So, why is it that the Cubs management would decide to take their best trade chip off the market before the market even develops?
Do they plan to use him as a building block for a future championship team?
As good as Dempster has been, he recently turned 35 and is not getting any younger. Prior to this year, Dempster's ERA as a starter increased each year from 2008 (2.96 ERA), his first year starting with the Cubs, to last year's 4.80 ERA.
Sure, this is Dempster's 9th season with the Cubs and he would probably give them a bit of a discount to finish his career in Chicago. But if that's the case, the Cubs should try to trade him in July, then resign him as a free agent.
If the Cubs are truly committed to rebuilding, they need to cash in on Dempster while his stock is high. The Cubs have a lack of quality arms in their minor league system and Dempster could bring a decent return.
If the Cubs retain Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija continues to develop, the have two young pitchers to build around. If they are able to add a young pitcher by trading Dempster and another potentially through the draft, then we can get serious about contending on a consistent basis.