Ryan Dempster was far from being a complete failure after the Texas Rangers acquired him from the Chicago Cubs on July 31. He came over sporting one of baseball's best ERAs, which is something more prevalent in National League baseball than American League and the designated hitter.
In 12 starts with the Rangers, including the fateful game last Wednesday that gave the Oakland Athletics the AL West crown and put the Rangers in the one-game Wild Card playoff, Dempster posted a 5.09 ERA and went 7-3 with 70 strikeouts and 25 walks.
The talk when Dempster arrived was that he would help fill the void left by Colby Lewis' injury, as Dempster was compared to Lewis because of their bulldog mentality and workmanlike approach to the game. It turns out he was not Lewis, not even close in fact, but he could be a serviceable piece to the rotation in 2013 and he said he would like to be back in a Rangers uniform as he enters free agency.
"I had nothing but a great time other than today," Dempster told reporters after the Wild Card loss to the Orioles. "It's been an awesome experience here, not only how they treat you as a baseball player, but as a human. It's a first-class organization and a great place to play."
The thing to worry about with Dempster is his propensity this season to fail against good teams and succeed against bad ones. He faced the Angels three times, going 0-2, and giving up 17 runs in 13 2/3 innings. The deal with that is this: In the regular season, you play a lot of bad teams, and Dempster can definitely be an option as a regular season pitcher as long as he's at best a No. 4 on your staff, preferably a No. 5. It all depends on whether Dempster is willing to be compensated as such or if he's going to seek bigger money.
The Rangers already have their Colby Lewis, and his name is Colby Lewis. And make no mistake, Lewis is light years more dependable than Dempster, especially given their track records in the postseason.