There are plenty of big name pitchers currently on the trade market. While he might not be the biggest name out there, all reports indicate Cubs starter Ryan Dempster could be moved at any moment. He has great strikeout and walk numbers, and his ERA is the best in the National League. Dempster will become a free agent after the season, but he'll be affordable for just about every club should they find his presence in the rotation to be an enjoyable one.
There's no denying the Braves would benefit greatly by adding a pitcher (or two) before the July 31 deadline. Would Dempster be a good fit?
The simply answer: maybe.
OK -- maybe it's not that simple of an answer. It never is this time of year.
If the Braves were to acquire Dempster on Friday, Saturday or any day in the coming week and a half, he'd immediately slot in behind Tim Hudson as the club's second-best option on the mound. The addition of the 35-year-old righty would also immediately bump Jair Jurrjens from the rotation, which just about everyone would welcome.
A rotation of Hudson, Dempster, Tommy Hanson, Ben Sheets and Mike Minor would be very appealing, likely one good enough to make the playoffs.
At the same time, the possible acquisition of Dempster would just about end any chance the Braves had at bringing Zack Greinke to town this fall. There's no denying Greinke is the better pitcher in terms of talent and would provide the team with their first true ace since the days of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz.
Atlanta has the prospects to entice the Brewers and Cubs to send their pitchers south, but money would be an issue. Unless Frank Wren and Liberty Media have a cool $12 million sitting around somewhere, they would not be able to afford both of the pitchers' salaries.
The Braves are at a crossroads right now. As the rotation is currently constructed, it's tough to see them making the playoffs.
Does the front office increase their bid for Dempster, a solid-yet-unspectacular option for the next two months? Or do they gamble for another week, wait and see if the Brewers put their ace on the market, and try to land him with a long-term contract extension in mind?
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