Trade for Dempster, not Garza
Wily right-hander more effective and cheaper than his hard-throwing teammate
With the Chicago Cubs in rebuilding mode, Theo Epstein is likely to be a very busy man during this summer's trading season. The addition of the second wild card incentivizes teams that are hanging around on the periphery of the playoff race to keep their rosters intact and try to make a second-half run, so the Cubs president will be one of just a few people with legitimate talent to unload. In Matt Garza, the team has an asset who could probably command more in return than any other pitcher on the market, but when playoff contenders start hunting around the north side of Chicago, they may do better by letting someone else pay the premium for Garza and instead focus on his less heralded but equally effective teammate -- Ryan Dempster.
Dempster might not get the same kind of notoriety as Garza, but when you look at their recent body of work, you can see just how similar they actually are.
Their walk, strikeout, and home run rates are nearly identical over a sample that covers their last three seasons and change. Garza's ERA is slightly lower (3.76 to 3.95) on account of posting a better batting average on balls in play (.281 to .301), but that's a mark that is influenced heavily by a team's defenders, and not surprisingly, a low BABIP isn't something Garza was able to sustain after leaving Tampa Bay, a team that is often among the best in baseball at turning batted balls into outs.
To read more of why teams should trade for Ryan Dempster instead of Matt Garza, become an Insider today.