Oct 23, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Ryan Dempster (46) throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning of game one of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Citing physical reasons and a desire to spend more time with his family, Ryan Dempster will take this coming season off, tweets Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal also reports that Boston is expected to place the 36-year-old on the restricted list, meaning that they will not longer be on the hook for his $13.25 million salary. While he was reluctant to actually claim he was retiring, Dempster said that he will not pitch in 2014. He was apparently unprepared for the spring and didn’t want to disrespect the game and his team-mates by not giving his full effort.
Hopefully all is well with Dempster and there isn’t some sort of serious underlying condition. But for Boston, Dempster’s departure may be something of a blessing in disguise. Faced with a logjam of capable starters, Dempster’s 2013 performance likely displaced him to the bullpen, serving in a long relief role with occasional spot starts.
The Boston farm system is flush with talented starting pitching prospects, whose potential is likely better than that of Dempster in 2014. Some combination of Allen Webster, Brandon Workman, Rubby De La Rosa and Drake Britton likely figure to fill in the hole(s) in the bullpen, with Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes shortly there after.
Not to mention, with his expected replacement on the restricted list, the Red Sox will now have his entire salary to spare for the coming season. While there isn’t much to do with that money at this point in the year, it could spell a return for Stephen Drew, or the money could be left open for a big move at the deadline.
While he won’t be remembered as a key cog in Boston’s 2013 championship run, Dempster’s one year in Boston ended on top of the baseball world nonetheless.