Had the Rangers deal not gone through, Hoyer said Dempster probably would have remained a Cub. He was scheduled to start Tuesday against Pittsburgh, but Casey Coleman took his spot after being recalled from Triple-A Iowa along with infielder Adrian Cardenas and catcher Welington Castillo.
Hoyer said teams had also shown interest in outfielder Alfonso Soriano and pitcher Matt Garza, but they remained with the Cubs. The fact that Garza has been sidelined lately by a slight fluid buildup in his right triceps area didn't help his value. The Cubs hope he'll be ready to pitch Tuesday at San Diego.
"The timing didn't allow teams to feel like they could see him out on the mound and I understand that," Hoyer said. "Teams are making trades this time of year to try to win the World Series."
A Garza deal would have left the Cubs without their top three starters.
The Dempster trade is just the latest in a series of moves for a franchise that dealt the troubled Carlos Zambrano to Miami in the offseason and hired manager Dale Sveum to replace Mike Quade. They're trying to stock up on prospects, particularly pitchers, and that meant saying goodbye to a popular team leader who was active in the community.
Dempster was coming off Tommy John surgery and had been released by the Reds when he signed with the Cubs before the 2004 season. He spent several years as the closer after replacing LaTroy Hawkins before being moved back to the rotation in 2008. He responded with a career-high 17 wins and a 2.96 ERA for their most recent division winner, and he's been mostly steady ever since, rebounding from a difficult season last year.
"He knows how to make adjustments," Soto said. "He's known how to reinvent himself. Whatever he's been doing has been working."
The 22-year-old Hendricks was 5-8 with a 2.82 ERA at Class A Myrtle Beach. The right-hander was a Carolina League All-Star, and has struck out 112 and walked just 15 batters in 130 2-3 innings.
The 21-year-old Villanueva is hitting .285 with 10 home runs and 59 RBIs with Myrtle Beach.
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