One player whose stock has risen in ’08 is Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. The 31 year-old hadn’t started regularly since ’03, but he currently sports a 5-1 record with a 2.35 ERA. He’s earning $5.5MM in the last year of a three-year extension.
Part of Dempster’s success can be attributed to his .211 BABIP, lowest in the league. As a team the Cubs have a .277 BABIP, and something around there would be a more reasonable expectation moving forward. On the plus side, Dempster’s 55% groundball rate ranks seventh in the NL, and it’s helped him keep the ball in the yard. He has a solid strikeout rate and has been making improvements on a subpar walk rate.
The Cubs have treated Dempster well, taking him on as a reclamation project and later giving him an extension at full market value. Perhaps he’ll choose to continue the relationship. A three-year deal in the $30-35MM range seems fair.