Dempster joins Reds, not Expos

By Josh Boyd

July 11, 2002

In the first of two deals for the Marlins on Thursday, they shipped Ryan Dempster, the leading winner in franchise history, to the Reds for outfielder Juan Encarnacion, infielder Wilton Guerrero and minor league lefthander Ryan Snare. Guerrero then immediately went to Montreal in a trade centering around Cliff Floyd.

Florida has made no secret of its desire to trade away pending free agents (Floyd) and arbitration-eligible players (Dempster). Though Encarnacion also is headed toward arbitration, the difference between his salary ($1.55 million) and Dempster’s ($2.475 million) will save the Marlins approximately $400,000 this season. He also won’t command as much in arbitration as Dempster, who could top $4 million. Cincinnati, meanwhile, added a much-needed starter as it makes a run at the National League Central title.

A 25-year-old righthander, Dempster was 5-8, 4.79 in 18 starts this season. He won a total of 29 games over the previous two years and made the All-Star Game in 2000, but he also logged a lot of innings at an early age—226 at 23 and 211 at 24. He has struggled since mideseason 2001, battling back stiffness last year and posting a 5.91 ERA after the all-star break. Though he still throws in the low 90s, his slider and his strikeout rate (87 in 120 innings) aren’t what they once were. A third-round pick out of Canada by the Rangers in 1995, he was traded to Florida with Rick Helling for John Burkett a year later. In 124 big league games, he owns a 42-43, 4.64 record and 628 strikeouts in 760 innings.

The Reds were overloaded with outfielders, thanks in part to Encarnacion’s resurrection. The 26-year-old had became a perennial disappointment in Detroit before he was traded to Cincinnati last December with Luis Pineda for Dmitri Young. Coming off a .242-12-52 season, he got off to a hot start with six home runs in April. He was hitting .277-16-51 through 83 games, and he’s just three shy of his career best for homers. While Encarnacion still lacks plate discipline, he offers speed, a strong arm and above-average defense at any outfield spot.

Snare, 23, was a 2000 second-round pick out of the University of North Carolina. The 6-foot lefthander relies on a big curveball to compensate for an average fastball. He mixes speeds and shows good command of his stuff, which also includes a changeup. After going 8-2, 3.07 with an 81-18 strikeout-walk ratio in 82 innings as a starter for high Class A Stockton this year, Snare earned a promotion to Double-A Chattanooga, where he moved to the bullpen. He had a 3.00 ERA in his first five games and six innings with the Lookouts.