Ken Rosenthal is reporting that C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Ben Sheets, and Derek Lowe have some company at the top of the list of free agent starters this offseason. Ryan Dempster will not re-sign with the Cubs before hearing what other teams have to offer:
Dempster, 31, plans to test the open market, major-league sources say. He filed for free agency on Friday, and does not intend to sign with the Cubs before their exclusive negotiating period with him expires on Nov. 13.
After spending three years closing games for the Cubs, Dempster was tremendous in their rotation this year, posting a 17-6 record with a 2.96 ERA and 187 Ks to go along with just 76 walks through 206.2 IP.
The Cubs could certainly retain Dempster, but that task just became much more difficult, as many teams are looking to add starting pitching. Dempster could certainly fetch a very lucrative four-year deal on the open market, likely in excess of $60MM.
Rosenthal lists the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Angels as possible suitors. We also know that the Braves are looking to add at least two starters to their rotation this year.
Rosenthal also notes that if Dempster does sign elsewhere, it could increase the Cubs’ interest in San Diego ace Jake Peavy, though I still don’t feel like the Cubs have the pieces that the Padres are looking for in return for Peavy.