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posted: 7/17/2012 12:01 AM

Why the Cubs should keep Ryan Dempster

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  • On or off the field, Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster is a good guy to have around, and Mike North believes the Cubs should keep Dempster on the club and not trade him.

       On or off the field, Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster is a good guy to have around, and Mike North believes the Cubs should keep Dempster on the club and not trade him.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Insider

Here's a first for me, in today's column: I sound like a Cub fan and not a world renowned journalist.

A couple of years ago I was at O'Hare with my wife, Be-Be, heading to Las Vegas. I'm in the airport gift shop browsing around for reading material, and I hear a shout from someone calling, "Mike, how are you doing?"

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I turn around and there's a guy looking at me and I say, "Hey, I'm doing great -- how about you?"

I didn't realize who it was at first until the gentleman said, "I'm on my way to spring training."

And then it dawned on me -- Ryan Dempster.

So I called my wife over (a Cubs fan) who was in a different part of the store, and I introduced her to him. He said, "Nice to meet you Mrs. North," and we did a minute or two of small talk.

Now I've talked to and bumped into my share of athletes over the years. But when it came to acting and sounding like a regular guy, Ryan Dempster is about as genuine as it gets.

I know the Cubs may move him for players, and some would argue there couldn't be a better time to do it.

I say offer him two more years and keep him right here.

There are still other guys you can trade for on this team, including Matt Garza. Dempster has made himself a complete pro. On the field he's lights out; his stats speak for themselves. With any run support, he would have been a shoe-in for the All-Star Game.

But more important, with a team that is going to soon be younger then young, don't you need a real clubhouse presence?

Here's a guy who can set an example for the younger guys on the team. Don't the Cubs need good pitchers next year and the year after?

Quick -- who do you want pitching for you over the next two years if you are running the ballclub, Jeff Samardzija or Ryan Dempster?

Sometimes the best move is the move you don't make.

Besides, Matt Garza might even draw more interest because he is seven years younger at the age of 28. His career ERA 3.85 is lower than Dempster's at 4.30.

Don't think age doesn't play a role here. And honestly, Dempster's career has been a roller-coaster ride at times.

Listen, you can't win without pitching and Dempster is a good fit with the Cubs. It's hard to ignore Dempster with an ERA of 1.86 and only 69 hits in 92 innings, with a strikeout to walk ratio of 3 to 1 this season.

Dempster could probably get more years and bucks from another team. Mark Buehrle got four years from Miami, and the Sox didn't match it. It worked out for the Sox, and Buehrle is on a team that's irrelevant.

Yes the grass is greener on the other side until you get to the other side, and that goes for both sides.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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