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Ryan Dempster Rumors
The Cubs announced today that Ryan Dempster has signed a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Cubs organization and will now join the team’s front office as a special assistant to president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.
Per a team press release, Dempster’s responsibilities will include working with pitchers in Spring Training, visiting the club’s minor league affiliates during the season, evaluating amateur players leading up to the 2015 draft and going on pro scouting assignments as well.
Dempster sat out the 2014 season due to physical issues and a desire to spend more time with his family — a decision that included him forfeiting his $13.25MM salary from the Red Sox. He then reportedly retired as a player in early October. Most of Dempster’s 16-year big league career was spent with the Cubs, and he’ll now be tasked with returning that franchise to prominence.
Right-hander Ryan Dempster, who sat out the 2014 season due to physical issues and a desire to spend more time with his family, will not pursue a contract this offseason and will officially retire, reports Chris Cotillo of SB Nation’s MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter).
The 37-year-old Dempster was placed on the restricted list by the Red Sox following that decision, meaning that he forewent a sizable $13.25MM salary. At the time, Dempster told FOX’s Ken Rosenthal, “I don’t feel like I am capable of performing to the ability and standard that I am accustomed to. I feel it’s in the best interest of both the club but most importantly myself to step away from playing baseball at this time.” Over the summer, Dempster told the Chicago Tribune that he wasn’t ruling out a return to the playing field, but he didn’t miss playing at that point.
Dempster’s career will come to a close with a 4.35 ERA, 7.8 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 2387 Major League innings. The former third-round pick and British Columbia native experienced success both as a starter and as a reliever in his career. He made 351 big league starts and totaled 132 Major League victories, but he also spent three seasons as the Cubs’ closer and totaled 87 saves in his career.
The final season of Dempster’s career certainly wasn’t his finest, but it may be his fondest memory. Dempster posted a 4.57 ERA in 171 1/3 innings for the Red Sox that season and was rewarded with a 2013 World Series ring when all was said and done.
A two-time All-Star, Dempster also finished sixth in the 2008 National League Cy Young voting in a surprisingly dominant campaign as he transitioned from the bullpen back to the rotation. He totaled 206 2/3 innings that season, posting a 2.96 ERA and averaging 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings along the way.
Baseball-Reference.com values Dempster’s career at 22.6 wins above replacement, while Fangraphs pegs him at 27.5 WAR. In parts of 16 Major League seasons with the Marlins, Reds, Cubs, Rangers and Red Sox, Dempster earned more than $89MM, according to B-Ref. We at MLBTR wish Dempster the best of luck in his post-playing days.
The Red Sox have set their rotation following the All-Star break, and it suggests they could be preparing for a Jake Peavy trade, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. Peavy is not scheduled to pitch again until July 22. If a Peavy trade were to take place before then, the Sox would have enough time to recall Brandon Workman, who was optioned to Triple-A last Wednesday. Here are more notes from the AL East.
- Sox chairman Tom Werner regrets that the team didn’t do more to address its outfield last offseason, Abraham writes. “[W]e didn’t expect Shane Victorino to be on the disabled list for as long as he has been. We knew that Jackie Bradley had the potential to be a superstar but his season hasn’t been as robust as we all imagined. We’re still very confident about his potential,” says Werner. “But should we have gone after Nelson Cruz? I guess so.” Werner adds that the Red Sox are still deciding whether to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, thinking that there may still be time for them to climb back into the race.
- Ryan Dempster, a part of the Sox’ rotation last season, says he doesn’t regret taking the 2014 season off, Luis Gomez of the Chicago Tribune writes. “Fortunately, I haven’t missed it,” he says. “Not yet. With the way things ended with the World Series, I don’t feel like I’m missing it. Hopefully I don’t ever get that feeling.” Gomez notes that Dempster isn’t ruling out the possibility of a return in the future. The 37-year-old Dempster passed on the $13.25MM remaining on his contract for 2014 in order to spend time with his family.
- Jose Bautista hopes the Blue Jays will add talent at the trade deadline, writes John Lott of the National Post. “If he does make a move, it’ll be welcome,” says Bautista. “It’s not necessarily on the players’ side that you feel like you need that to get to the top, but at times it’s nice when you do get that … A lot of times it has a psychological effects too that help out.” Nonetheless, Bautista won’t be issuing any demands. “[W]e don’t feel like it’s a must,” he says. The Jays have struggled with injuries to players like Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie and are now 3 1/2 games behind the Orioles in the AL East.
Earlier today, Ryan Dempster announced he will not pitch in 2014 forfeiting the $13.25MM he was due in the final year of his pact with the Red Sox. Boston, however, does not intend to pursue Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, or other free agent starting pitching, writes WEEI.com's Alex Speier. The Red Sox expect to slot Felix Doubront into the starting rotation and Brandon Workman into the swingman role with their stable of pitching prospects providing depth, according to Speier. Elsewhere in the American League:
- Speier notes in the same article the Red Sox have newfound financial flexibility with Dempster's salary now off the books. Boston projects to have a 2014 payroll of $176MM (including $9MM allocated for in-season trades and roster additions), a $13MM cushion against the luxury tax. The Red Sox could re-sign Stephen Drew, but Speier wonders whether common ground can be found.
- GM Ben Cherington passed on the opportunity to discuss the Red Sox's unexpected financial windfall saying the focus should be on Dempster, reports the Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets the Yankees are not considering any additional free agent acquisitions, which would rule them out on Drew.
- Jimmy Paredes, claimed on waivers yesterday by the Orioles, is a prime candidate to lose his 40-man roster spot once the team makes its signing of Suk-Min Yoon official, according to MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. Yoon has passed his physical, per multiple reports.
- Mark Mulder, who saw his comeback bid with the Angels end when he ruptured his left Achilles tendon, told reporters, including Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, he has yet to decide whether he will attempt another return in 2015. "I'd love to say yes, but I don't know. I have to wait and see what the doctors say — see what the process is of how healthy I can get it, how good it feels." Mulder undergoes surgery Monday and the rehab could last up to eight months.
Ryan Dempster won't pitch for the Red Sox in 2014 due to physical reasons and a desire to spend more time with his kids, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Red Sox are expected to place the veteran on the restricted list, meaning that Dempster will not receive his $13.25MM salary in 2014, according to Rosenthal (link).
“I don’t feel like I am capable of performing to the ability and standard that I am accustomed to. I feel it’s in the best interest of both the club but most importantly myself to step away from playing baseball at this time," said the 36-year-old (via Twitter links). "The time is right. I’m not saying retirement but I definitely won’t be playing this season."
Dempster's decision could have quite the reverb effect for the Red Sox. If they place him on the restricted list as expected, the club will now have an additional $13.25MM of breathing room with regards to the luxury tax which would free them up to spend elsewhere. While many of this offseason's top free agent draws are off the board, this development could pave the way for Stephen Drew to return to Boston.
The news also means that the Red Sox no longer have a surplus of starting pitching to work with. There was some speculation that Boston would entertain the idea of dealing one of their starters for help in another area but that no longer appears to be a viable option.
In 2013, Dempster posted a 4.57 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 29 starts and three relief appearances. For his career, Dempster owns a 4.35 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9.
The Red Sox are planning to wait out the market for Stephen Drew, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. Though Boston remains interested in Drew, there's a belief that he could eventually find a limited market due to his ties to draft pick compensation. Here's more on the 2013 World Series champions…
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Drew has a market, but not as big as the one initially expected (Twitter link). As such, the Red Sox feel they have a good shot at retaining the Scott Boras client.
- Bradford also tweets that Mike Carp is generating a lot of trade interest. As Bradford notes, given the dearth of quality options on the free agent market for first basemen, that's not exactly a surprise.
- If the Red Sox are intent on adding a shortstop or third baseman as well as a right-handed hitting outfielder, they'll need to free up room by moving someone off their bench, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier provides an offseason reset for Red Sox fans, looking at what's been done already and what moves are still to come. Speier says the Red Sox will add an infielder, whether it's Drew or a versatile backup to support Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts.
- Also from Speier, if the team does wish to bring back Drew, it would be necessary to free up some money by dealing a potentially superfluous starter such as Ryan Dempster or Jake Peavy.
- Franklin Gutierrez has been connected to the Red Sox previously, and while he's a logical fit in Boston, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com argues that he simply doesn't fit on the roster. Boston will allocate five spots to outfielders in Carp, Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes as it is. Of course, the potential to move Carp, as alluded to earlier by Bradford, could alter that picture.
While David Price has resigned himself to being traded, the Rays appear to be trying to figure out ways to make their ace the focal point of their pitching staff for many years to come, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo notes, however, the Rays' front office realizes it could be a losing battle, so a trade is likely with nearly half of baseball rumored to be interested in the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. "It's a big name, a big-time pitcher," one National League GM told Cafardo. "Even if you feel you don't need that level of pitcher, you look into it because he's so special and such a game changer. You do more than kick the tires. You try to make something happen, and I think you'll see teams that don't even need him step up." Here's more from Cafardo's column:
- The Red Sox will likely trade one of their veteran starters to make room for their young arms. Cafardo suggests Jon Lester and Jake Peavy could be available while Ryan Dempster, John Lackey, and Felix Doubront are also vulnerable.
- Jacoby Ellsbury is a perfect fit for the Mariners and Carlos Beltran likewise for the Orioles.
- Curtis Granderson will likely receive a qualifying offer from the Yankees and there's a strong possibility he would take it because he could post his biggest numbers at Yankee Stadium.
- The Dodgers will make Andre Ethier and/or Matt Kemp available this winter. Kemp will come with injury concerns, but that shouldn't prevent a team from taking a chance on his talent.
- James Loney has rebuilt his value with a strong season in Tampa (.299/.348/.430 with a 2.1 oWAR in 158 games and 598 plate appearances). Loney could find a market with the Rangers, if the Rays don't re-sign the free agent first baseman.
- Reds pitching coach Bryan Price appears to be the front-runner to replace Dusty Baker as manager in Cincinnati while Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr is in a strong position to take over from Davey Johnson, unless ownership wants a bigger name as its new manager.
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Ryan Dempster began serving his five-game suspension for throwing at Alex Rodriguez yesterday, and as MLB.com's Ian Browne writes, off-days on Thursday and Monday will allow the Red Sox to juggle their other four starters without forcing them to find a replacement starter. Of the suspension, Dempster said: "It [stinks], any time you get suspended. I've never been suspended in my career so it's not a fun feeling to have, but [I'll] start serving, be done with it on Sunday and get back to trying to help my team." Here's more on the Red Sox…
- Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes that the Red Sox selected Brandon Belt out of high school as a pitcher back in the 11th round of the 2006 draft, but the team didn't see enough in his mound potential to buy him out of his commitment to the University of Texas.
- MassLive.com's Evan Drellich spoke with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, assistant GM Mike Hazen, manager John Farrell and Dodgers president Stan Kasten about last August's blockbuster that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to Los Angeles. It's a lengthy piece that does a terrific job of illustrating the number of people involved in making the trade a reality and also explaining how technology has impacted trade negotiations over the years. Cherington said that he wasn't nervous to take the plunge and make a trade of historic proportions.
- Within the same piece, Farrell notes the differences between the Blue Jays, whom he calls a scouting-based organization, and the Red Sox, whom he calls a player-development-based organization.
- Xander Bogaerts' debut as a 20-year-old shortstop puts him in elite company, writes Marc Hulet of Fangraphs. Red Sox director of player development told Hulet that he's not worried about Bogaerts spending time at third base despite his lack of professional experience at the position: “Xander shows enough athleticism to play third base despite his limited reps, but will continue to get better the more he plays.”
Rob Neyer, writing for SB Nation, took a look at the future of the game, including some issues that a hypothetical new commissioner might tackle. His list included the poor attendance of the Athletics and Rays, Jeffrey Loria, and the absence of major league baseball from markets like Portland and Charlotte. Elsewhere in baseball …
- The Red Sox have been very pleased with the early returns on free agent signee Ryan Dempster, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Boston gave the soon-to-be 36-year-old a two-year, $26.5MM deal this past offseason. This raised the usual questions about how Dempster would transition to the American League, and in particular its East division. The righty has responded by sporting an impressive 12.9 K/9, albeit with an elevated walk rate, both of which could be the result of increased use of his splitter. David Ross seemed to confirm that analysis after catching Dempster yesterday, saying that he was throwing "a Bugs Bunny splitty."
- With Carlos Ruiz returning, the Phillies are facing a backup catcher roster dilemma, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Phils must remove a player from both the 25-man and 40-man rosters to make way for the team's top backstop. Humberto Quintero has played well in limited action, putting up a .313/.353/.438 line over 17 plate appearances. Meanwhile, Erik Kratz still has an option remaining and has struggled as the team's primary catcher, hitting .191/.222/.309 in his 72 plate appearances. The club has until Sunday to assess whether to designate Quintero for assignment or, instead, option Kratz and make an alternative 40-man move.
- Dodgers' GM Ned Colletti is looking prescient for prioritizing versatility in the team's bench, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. With Mark Ellis the latest Dodger infielder to suffer an injury, the team can still turn to players like Nick Punto (acquired from the Red Sox last season) and Skip Schumaker (traded from the Cardinals this offseason). Much like with the L.A. rotation, the club's backup infield stock once seemed so full as to warrant a trade, but now looks like valuable depth.
The Red Sox announced that they will formally introduce Ryan Dempster at Fenway Park today. The Red Sox agreed to sign the free agent right-hander to a two-year, $26.5MM contract last week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported (Twitter links). LSW Baseball represents Dempster.
Dempster, 35, posted a 3.38 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 43.5% ground ball rate in 173 innings for the Cubs and Rangers in 2012. The 15-year veteran saw his average fastball velocity dip below 90 mph, but he continued generating swings and misses. His 10.4% swinging strike rate was right around his career mark of 10.8%. He's not linked to draft pick compensation, which means the Red Sox won't have to surrender a pick to complete the deal.
Earlier in the offseason Dempster turned down a two-year, $25MM offer from the Boston. The Brewers also made a two-year offer and the Royals were interested. Dempster ranked 16th on MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents this year.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.