Club adds pitching, but keeps top prospects

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels says he wishes deals didn't happen at the last minute.

I'm not sure I believe him. He seems to find a way to pull something together, even while clocks are ticking loudly around him.

Daniels pulled one off Tuesday, sending a couple of Class A prospects to the Chicago Cubs for Ryan Dempster just before the buzzer sounded at 4 p.m. ET.

Dempster is not Zack Greinke. He's certainly not Cliff Lee. But he is healthy and productive, and provides depth to a rotation ravaged by injuries and inconsistencies. And of the remaining options on the market, he was one of the best. Would he start Game 1 of the playoffs if they began tomorrow? Perhaps. But the club has two months to sort all that out -- and another trade deadline at the end of August.

"What I like is he's got savvy," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's got tremendous pitchability. He's a competitor. He has one of the best ERAs in the NL. He's a veteran. I think he can be exactly what we were looking for to lead our young pitching staff forward."

Before discussing Dempster with the media, Daniels was left to share the news that Neftali Feliz will have Tommy John surgery Wednesday. That, combined with Colby Lewis' season-ending surgery last week, left a gaping hole in the rotation. It was clear Monday that Roy Oswalt isn't quite ready to fill it, either.

So Dempster's arrival means an alteration in the Oswalt experiment, sending the struggling veteran to the bullpen, at least for now. At the rate things have been going for Texas, another injury could pop up at any time. But Tuesday's move at least gives the club a pitcher who is throwing with confidence and can eat innings.

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