"He controlled the edges," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "He's got sink on his fastball and a little run to it, but his changeup is the out pitch for him. He makes it challenging for hitters. He was extremely stingy in the middle part of the plate."
Hendricks, acquired from the Rangers in 2012 in a trade for Dempster, is 8-6 with a 2.41 ERA that's the lowest in the Cubs' starting rotation. Daniels, who decided to make the deal four years ago, watched the outing from behind Texas' dugout.
"I thought he had a chance, but if I knew he was going to do this, I wouldn't have put him in the deal," Daniels said. "I'm happy for him. I wish he wasn't the winning pitcher today, but I'm happy for him.
"He is a great person. He got after it and he got better. I have always been fond of him."
Hendricks admitted he was a little bit pumped up to face the Rangers.
"I know a few of the guys over there," Hendricks said. "Brad Holman, their bullpen coach, was one of the best pitching coaches I had coming up. He did a lot to help me progress. It's fun playing against them and seeing them on the other side, but I was only over there for about a year. It was just another game."
The loss comes at a time when Daniels is actively engaged with other teams in trade talks trying to reinforce the starting rotation. Hendricks' performance is a reminder of the potentially high cost of pitching and instant gratification this time of the year.
• Daniels, Rangers look to boost pitching staff
"There is always a risk," Daniels said. "It's like grading a Draft the next day. Things take time to play out. Kyle has done a great job."
The Rangers drafted Hendricks in the eighth round of the 2011 Draft out of Dartmouth, and he began the 2012 season with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach. He was 5-8 with a 2.82 ERA in 20 starts when Texas traded him and Minor League third baseman Christian Villanueva to Chicago for Dempster on July 31 that year.
Villanueva was the higher-regarded prospect at the time. Hendricks' departure hardly caused a ripple, and one national analyst said the Rangers "snaked" the Cubs for Dempster.
At the time of the trade, Texas was in first place with the second-best record in the American League, it was trying to replaced injured starter Colby Lewis and the club was thrilled to add Dempster to the rotation. Daniels was determined to do everything he could to reinforce a team trying to get to the World Series for a third straight year and win it for the first time. He did try to steer the Cubs away from Hendricks, but they had done their homework too well.
"The irony at the time is I fretted over Villanueva as much putting him in the deal," Daniels said. "We talked about a lot of different combinations. I don't remember the specifics."
Dempster went 7-3 with a 5.09 ERA in 12 starts, but the Rangers faded in the final week of September, finished in second place behind the Athletics and lost the Wild Card Game. Dempster was gone after the season.
Dempster is now a special assistant for the Cubs, and he led the crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" dressed as Harry Caray during Friday's seventh-inning stretch. That was after Hendricks did his best impression of a front-line starting pitcher.