Ryan Dempster is scheduled to start for the Cubs tomorrow, and it might be his last start at Wrigley Field as a Cub. Dempster holds a $14MM player option for next season, but he told MLB.com's Carrie Muskat that he hasn't put much thought into whether or not he'll exercise it yet…
"I never even thought about that," said Dempster. "As a player, you just want to see where everything's going and what direction they want to go and things like that more than anything. You know how much I love playing here. Hopefully, it's not just about staying here for next year but staying past next year. I'll worry about what's on the field first."
Dempster added that there are a lot of factors that will go into the decision, which is understandable. The free agent market for starters is quite thin beyond CC Sabathia (assuming he exercises his opt-out) and C.J. Wilson, so it's not a stretch to say Dempster would be the third best pitcher available and the top righty (ahead of Edwin Jackson).
The 34-year-old Dempster is in the middle of his worst season as a Cub, pitching to a 4.66 ERA in 183 1/3 innings across 31 starts. Unless he pitches very deep into the game in his last two starts, he'll fail to crack the 200 innings plateau for the first time since moving back into the rotation in 2008. It's worth noting that his strikeout (8.7 K/9), walk (3.4 BB/9), and home run (1.0 HR/9) rates are right in line with his previous seasons.