ESPN’s Buster Olney is among those who believe Ryan Dempster made his final Cubs start Saturday, when he extended his scoreless-inning streak to 33.
The Cubs might be in more of a hurry to move Dempster not just because his value is at a high point but also to help clear the way for a Matt Garza deal at the end of the month. If Dempster is already off the market, it could conceivably lead to more demand for Garza, who has increased value because he’s under control for 2013.
ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine says 10 teams are showing interest in Dempster, including the Braves, Dodgers, Indians, Tigers, White Sox and Yankees. Levine reports that, beyond young pitching, the Cubs would like to pick up a third-base prospect in a deal. The Tigers, with Nick Castellanos, could best fulfill the Cubs’ wishes there, though it’s unlikely they’d give him up for Dempster. Likewise, it seems doubtful the Indians would surrender Lonnie Chisenhall in return for Dempster.
Dempster is 5-3 with a 1.86 ERA in 92 innings this season. Since he’s spent 10 years in the league and five with the Cubs, he can veto any trade. However, he is expected to approve a deal.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.