|The top starter left standing on the trade market, Ryan Dempster acquiesced to a trade that sent him from the Cubs to the Rangers for two prospects at the high Class A level. Texas surrendered third baseman Christian Villanueva and righthander Kyle Hendricks to acquire Dempster, a 35-year-old righthander who had been scheduled to take the mound for Chicago tonight.
The Rangers, in the midst of a series with the rival Angels—and having seen Los Angeles add Zack Greinke to its rotation—responded with a late trade-deadline move of their own, adding Dempster to a rotation that recently lost Colby Lewis to injury. A rental who becomes a free agent at season’s end, Dempster is having his best year and returns to his original organization; Texas drafted him in the third round in 1995 and traded him to the Marlins a year later (along with Rick Helling) for John Burkett. He’s been a Cub since 2004.
|Christian Villanueva, 3b
Age: 21. Born: Jun 19, 1991 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 160.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Rangers, Aug. 17, 2008.
The Rangers are loaded at third base with Adrian Beltre in the majors and stud prospect Mike Olt in the minors, which made the well-regarded Villanueva expendable. Signed out of Mexico, he ranked No. 100 on our Top 100 Prospects list entering the season. Villanueva has a broad base of tools that include a solid bat, potential average power, fringe to average speed with good instincts on the bases and standout defense with soft hands and a strong arm at third base. He’s just 21 and in high Class A, so he still needs time to develop. He’ll have to tighten his strike zone, and some scouts question if he’ll grow into enough power to be a big league regular at third base.
|Kyle Hendricks, rhp
Age: 22. Born: Dec 7, 1989 in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 165.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Rangers in eighth round of 2011 draft; signed June 10, 2011.
Hendricks has had a fine season with Myrtle Beach, as detailed in a recent BA Prospects Blog post. He throws an upper-80s two-seam fastball, a four-seamer that bumps 92 mph and mid-80s cutter to go with a curveball, slider and changeup. None of the pitches grades as plus, but he has feel for his craft and for the strike zone. He ranked second in the Carolina League in ERA, WHIP and innings as well as third in strikeouts, while leading the league in walk ratio (1.0 per nine innings). At a listed 6-foot-2, 165 pounds, he has room to get bigger and stronger.
|Ryan Dempster, rhp
Age: 35. Throws: R. Remaining Commitment: CONTRACT
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.