Ryan Dempster to the Bullpen?
This is just me speculating on what the Cubs will do on Saturday when Ted Lilly returns to the rotation. The most likely option is still either Tom Gorzelanny or Carlos Silva with odds favoring Gorzelanny heading to the pen as Lilly just replaces another lefty. And then either James Russell or Jeff Samardzija going back to Iowa, although someone in the pen still has a week to get their ticket punched.
Lou did not commit to it being Gorzelanny or Silva as of yesterday, even if that's the most likely scenario:
``I didn't say that. I never said that. You all [media] can say what you want. All I said basically is that somebody's got to leave the rotation to go into the bullpen. That's all I said.''
So then that opens the door for someone struggling like Carlos Zambrano, but he's being paid the most and hasn't pitched out of the pen in like 8 years. And Z doesn't seem like the character that would be too thrilled with the move. Plus, if you're actually trying to fix the pen, wouldn't the idea be to put someone back there who is actually pitching well?
So are Randy Wells or Ryan Dempster options? Most likely not, but Wells - as Arizona Phil noted - spent the bulk of his minor league career as a reliever including finishing 26 games. It was 2007 that he last saw regular work out of the pen with a handful of relief appearances in 2008. And then there's Dempster, the Cubs closer from 2005-2007 who racked up 87 nerve-wracking saves and coined the term, "The Ryan Dempster Experience". Nonetheless, he does have the most experience in late-inning situations and he certainly does seem like a different pitcher over the last two years that I for one, believe he'd probably do a lot better and help stabilize the troublesome pen. It probably wouldn't even be a permanent move, just something until the next injury or a trade can materialize. And Dempster seems to have the personality to go along with what might be best for the team (as I'm sure Wells would).
It's not something I envision happening and it would be more of a short-term solution to try and help the team gain some confidence and hopefully go on a nice run. And undoubtedly Dempster the starter is far more valuable, but if he could go 2 innings at a time every few days after being stretched out as a 200+ inning starter, that's certainly something the Cubs could use right now if they're looking for short-term fixes.