Ryan Dempster has pitched the seventh-most games (369) in Cubs franchise history.
He makes his 12th start of the season and the 150th start of his Cubs career this afternoon against Boston.
This is a player Cubs faithful has grown to love, but are now faced with the distinct possibility today’s outing could be Dempster’s last wearing Cubbie blue–ending the nine-year love affair on the North Side.
Yet the sadness that permeated the air in anticipation of Kerry Wood’s departure won’t carry the same buzz as it did a few short weeks ago at Wrigley Field.
It’s not that Cubs fans don’t care as much for Dempster as they do Wood. In fact, I’d say Cubs faithful are equally smitten with both players.
But Wood’s retirement was a certainty. He said as much before the game. Dempster’s situation is different, if only slightly.
The anticipated trade of Dempster, however imminent, still buys us time to avoid the inevitable that soon Dempster (2-3, 2.31 ERA) will be pitching elsewhere.
There’s no certainty Friday’s outing is Dempster’s last. He may not be dealt until after his next start on the South Side, or the following outing at home against the Mets, or even later.
Still, we know a trade’s looming, we just don’t know when exactly.
That said, Dempster’s start this afternoon has all the makings of an ideal farewell. He’s pitching at home, in front of a sellout crowd, and his trade value is higher than ever.
As arguably the best available starting pitcher on the trade market, Dempster’s a coveted commodity that should fetch the Cubs valuable building blocks in return.
Team Theo is ready to move forward, even if we’re not ready to acknowledge…this might be our last chance to catch Ryan Dempster pitching for the Cubs–and not against them.