Ryan Dempster has turned down 2-year offers from the Royals and Red Sox. He’s wants a 3-year deal.
Teams are so desperate to sign quality starting pitching you can’t blame Dempster for holding a hard line. But it makes perfect sense why teams are hesitant to sign him. He’s already in the backend of his career and will be 39 at the end of a 3-year contract.
We saw how patient Dempster was during last July’s trade deadline. His endurance then, however, didn’t pan out as the Cubs shipped him to the Rangers instead of his preferred choice to play for the Dodgers.
A similar scenario could unfold this offseason if Dempster is stead fast in holding out for a third year. Although I believe some team will ultimately meet his demands, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best fit for Dempster the pitcher.
Texas certainly wasn’t an ideal fit for Dempster. He was lit up to the tune of a 5.09 ERA in his 12 starts following the trade. By the time the Rangers coughed up its division lead to Oakland and limped into the postseason as a wild card Dempster had virtually pitched himself out of the rotation.
So maybe that partly explains why he’s turned away two American League teams. But what about the Brewers? There’s reportedly a mutual interest, the team trains in Arizona (another sticking point for Demspter) and there’s his familiarity within the National League and Central Division.
I guess that’s what surprises me most. You’d think a guy still chasing a ring and entering the sunset of his career would be more intrigued by quality vs. quantity. Signing with the first club to simply offer a third year would appear to go against such logic. That doesn’t make Dempster wrong, just some food for thought.
Based purely on speculation, here are a few places (in no particular order) I think Dempster could land–and no, the Cubs don’t make the list.
- SAN DIEGO. The Padres still need rotation depth, they train in Arizona and have money to spend with its newly inked $1.5 billion TV contract.
- LA ANGELS. Despite the additions of Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton, the Angels, who also train in Arizona, could use more quality starting pitching. The money is there, the team’s competitive and Dempster wouldn’t have to face his long-time nemesis Albert Pujols. Bonus.
- BALTIMORE. The Orioles are desperate to add a quality starter. Perhaps enough to kick-in that third year. However, the O’s train in Florida and play in the always tough AL East, which is even tougher now that the Blue Jays are a formidable division threat.
- MINNESOTA. The Twins are also spring residents of Florida, but they are closer to one of Dempster’s homes in Chicago and need to upgrade a very thin rotation.
- CLEVELAND. The three-years and roughly $35-million it would take to sign Dempster seems unlikely for the cash-strapped Tribe. However, the Indians need starting pitching and they could view Dempster as a valuable trade piece down the line.
- MILWAUKEE. For all the reasons stated previously and with the thought one side will cave; either Dempster settles for a 2-year deal or Milwaukee extends itself for three.
Is Dempster worth a third year? You tell me…