By Scott Barzilla

It’s hard to imagine the two-time defending AL pennant winners being nervous, but you had to think they sweat a few beads when the Los Angeles Angels acquired Zack Greinke. The Rangers rotation has been damaged recently by injuries to Neftali Feliz and Colby Lewis. Plus, it looks like Roy Oswalt is closer to being done then he is to being the same ace pitcher he was with the Houston Astros.

Minutes before the trade deadline, the Texas Rangers beat out the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers for Chicago Cubs right hander Ryan Dempster. Dempster may not have the pedigree of a Zack Greinke, but he is in the top ten in MLB in ERA this season and he is healthy at the moment. Those two factors make him a welcome addition to a Rangers rotation that could really use some help.

As for the Cubs, they avoided the embarassment of going past the deadline with a player they were desperately trying to move. Of course, Dempster made that infinitely more difficult by dictating to them where he would accept a deal to. At the end of the day, they ended up keeping Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano, but they can work on trading those two in the offseason. Getting a deal for the would be free agent Dempster was their main priority and they waited until the bitter end to get a deal done.

The Rangers send third base prospect Christian Villanueva and pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks in exchange for Dempster. Neither rate as all-world prospects, but they are both very good and were movable because of the prospects the Rangers have at those positions. Uber prospect Mike Olt also mans third base and the Rangers have quite a few young arms at their disposal. Both players where playing in Myrtle Beach and will likely move to the Cubs advanced A affiliate once they are able to leave.

With Ian Stewart fumbling around at third base for the Cubs, having a third base prospect is something really nice to have. Villanueva would probably rank somewhere in the B to B+ category as a prospect and might make it to the majors sometime early in 2014. Any rebuilding team needs good arms in their system and Hendricks gives the Cubs yet another one. He had a 2.82 ERA in advanced A, but did have a cup of coffee with their AA Frisco club in 2011. He became a starting pitcher this year, so he could have a future as a starter or reliever with the Cubs.

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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