8:50pm: Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago reports that Dempster's salary deferral actually came this past offseason, allowing the Cubs to sign Xavier Nady. Rosenthal confirms the report, via Twitter. A bit of a disappointment for Cubs fans who were hoping the team would be able to to use those savings to make a trade this summer.
4:05pm: Ryan Dempster will defer $3MM of his $12.5MM salary this year at little or no interest to give the Cubs the flexibility to make moves, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Dempster will receive $1MM of the deferred money by February 2011, $1MM by February 2012 and the final $1MM by February 2013. The rest of his contract is unchanged, so Dempster will still make $13.5MM in 2011 and retain his $14MM player option for 2012.
The 33-year-old Canadian has a 3.31 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 this season. The Cubs need Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee to start hitting like they usually do, but they will now be better-prepared to address smaller needs when they emerge. Scott Rolen restructured his deal in the winter, and he got an extension out of it. The best Dempster can hope for is an improved chance at postseason play.