Report: Cubs want Allen Webster from Dodgers for Ryan Dempster

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With the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, Zach Lee, apparently off the table, the Cubs are currently asking for Allen Webster as the primary piece from L.A. in a Ryan Dempster deal, FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi reports.

The 22-year-old Webster is 4-8 with a 4.06 ERA and an 85/35 K/BB ratio in 88 2/3 innings for Double-A Chattanooga. Known as a groundball pitcher with his low-90s sinker, he’s given up just one homer all year. Baseball America rated him the team’s No. 2 prospect behind Lee at the beginning of the season.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the Cubs had to settle for Webster instead of getting Randall Delgado from the Braves. While Delgado has better feel for his secondary pitches than Webster does, I still don’t see him getting enough swings and misses to turn into a quality No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the majors. Webster has more upside with his sinker, and if the right coaching allows him to improve either his slider or curve, he could prove to be a big-time pitcher.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below:

The Mets are promoting Tim Tebow to Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media on Sunday that the organization is promoting outfielder Tim Tebow from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Tebow, 29, wasn’t hitting particularly well to merit the promotion. Across 241 plate appearances with Columbia, he hit .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He had just seven extra-base hits (all doubles) in his most recent 20 games. Alderson, however, defended the decision by citing Tebow’s exit velocity and other metrics.

I think we can all agree that the real reason is that promoting Tebow creates another opportunity for the Mets to sell merchandise with his name on it.

One has to feel for the outfielder Tebow will displace. St. Lucie’s regular outfielders have comparable stats to Tebow’s, so they aren’t exactly being replaced on merit. That outfielder will see less playing time, hurting his future prospects. Adding Tebow to St. Lucie’s roster will push someone off of the roster, which will also harm that player’s future prospects. And, remember, these players don’t make much money to begin with.