Rangers get Ryan Dempster

Updated: July 31, 2012, 9:11 PM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers acquired veteran starter Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs for two minor leaguers -- a position player and a pitcher -- just minutes before the trade deadline expired on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old gives the Rangers a solid starter to incorporate into a rotation that has dealt with injury and inconsistency of late.

"Once the Dodgers were out, it was two teams that kind of got in on it and the Rangers moved really fast," Dempster said. "They obviously have a very, very good team.

"I'm going to go down there and hopefully just be a small piece of what they already have going there. They're in first place and are proven winners the last couple years, and I'm just going to go down there and hopefully sneak in a back door and try to just blend in and do my job when I'm asked to do my job."

Dempster is 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA in 104 innings over 16 starts this season. He has 83 strikeouts and 27 walks and opponents are hitting .210 against him. He's making $14 million this season before he becomes a free agent. Dempster had to approve the deal because he has veto power thanks to his 10-5 rights.

Texas will send third baseman Christian Villanueva and right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks, both from high-Class A Myrtle Beach, to the Cubs.

Dempster will make his first start in a Texas uniform on Thursday in the series finale with the Los Angeles Angels. He'll go up against former Ranger C.J. Wilson. Manager Ron Washington said he plans on starting Geovany Soto, who caught Dempster plenty of times in Chicago, on Thursday as well.

"We've got some pretty good insight into the makeup and feel that he'll fit well with our club," said Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, adding that they asked consultant and former teammate Greg Maddux about Dempster. "Our scouts were very high on him and feel that at this point in his career with a chance to win, it's a compatible fit."

Dempster gives the club some much-needed depth in the starting rotation, especially after the Rangers announced that Neftali Feliz needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of the season.

Roy Oswalt, who has a 6.49 ERA in six starts and has allowed at least 11 hits in three of those outings, will move to the bullpen, the team announced.

Colby Lewis is already out for the season after surgery last week to repair a torn flexor tendon in his throwing elbow. Derek Holland has pitched better since coming off the disabled list and has an important and successful playoff start under his belt. Matt Harrison has been the club's most consistent pitcher in 2012, but only has pitched in one postseason (2011). Yu Darvish is getting ready to go through his first stretch run in the big leagues.

In his career, Dempster is 117-121 with a 4.31 ERA. He does have 87 saves as the Cubs' closer from 2005 to 2007.

Dempster actually was drafted by the Rangers in the third round in 1995 and then dealt to the Marlins with Rick Helling for John Burkett in August 1996.

The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled out of Dempster talks when the Cubs refused to budge on the inclusion of Allen Webster in the deal, a source confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne. The Dodgers remained adamant they would not trade their second best pitching prospect for a two-month rental.

The Dodgers were Dempster's top choice, but Dempster told ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine shortly before the deadline that he would approve a trade to the Rangers or New York Yankees.

Dempster said he never ruled out the Rangers; he just never knew they were a possibility, so they weren't on his radar.

"Yeah, for sure relief," Dempster said about knowing his immediate future. "It's been a long time coming, been talked about for a long time.

"Definitely a lot of excitement to go to a first-place team and go to a winner. There's definitely some tough feelings and emotions. I played here a long time, pitched a lot of games out on that mound. It's going to be weird not putting on that Cub uniform and putting on a different uniform."

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said the deal came together just before the 4 p.m. ET deadline.

"Was it five (minutes)? It might have been less than that," Hoyer said. "It came down to the end.

"He held pretty firm on the Dodgers thing. I was actually really glad he was in our office for the last couple of hours and he was able to sort of see how we work and see what happens. He sort of sat in an office and watched himself on TV. Then we sort of briefed him on where we were and I don't remember exactly what time but at some point he said, 'OK, if this Dodgers thing isn't going to work then he was willing to open it up to a handful of teams.' That's why it came together late. We talked to teams a little bit but we weren't going to spend tons of time and lead teams down a road that wasn't going to happen. We didn't want to do that. We had to not scramble but work pretty hard at the end to find a suitable deal for him."

ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine and Doug Padilla and ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne contributed to this report.

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