Chicago Cubs’ starting pitcher Ryan Dempster had $14 million reasons to return to the Cubs in 2012, and that’s what he’s going to do.

Today, as anticipated, Dempster picked up his player option for $14 million, which will keep him on the Cubs for next season.

Dempster suffered through his worst year since being re-converted into a starting pitcher in 2008 (his ERA+ of just 81 was his worst since 2003 with the Reds), and was particularly rough in April and September. In the middle, he was just fine. It was an Oreo kind of season, apparently.

For now, Dempster is the number two in a rotation headed by Matt Garza. Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner, Jeff Samardzija, oh, and Carlos Zambrano remain other in-house options for the rotation.

As I discussed, this isn’t the worst outcome in the world, though Dempster will be slightly overpaid on a team not expected to contend in 2012. But, anything can happen, and if anything is to happen, the Cubs were going to need some starting pitchers. Dempster will be 35 next year, and, after April in 2011, he had a 3.94 ERA and a .740 OPS-against.

  • bhannon

    Brett-do you think it’s possible that Theo and Jed offer Dempster a 3 year deal…included in which is a restructuring of this year’s contract to spread it out and help the salary cap?


    • Brett

      Absolutely possible. And if they could get those back two years for cheap (and lower this year’s figure), I’d be all for it.

  • greg

    With a manager who understands when to pull him he could be a lot more valuable this year

    • Brett

      Too true.

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    Glad he’s coming back. He might not of if Quade was still manager and I’m assuming he asked about that.

    • Art


      dempster is one of the guys who spoke up for Quade las year.

      • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

        Yes, he did. But as the year wore on he certainly was disillusioned with him. Rmember, he also confronted hom.

  • Ron Swanson

    Absolutely not the worst thing that can happen. Hopefully he can provide some positive momentum in his final year(s) as a Cub. I could see him working hard to rededicate himself and having a decent year. As decent as 35 year old starters can be expected to have anyway.

  • Morgan

    weak, dumpster needs to go, he needs to be part of the culture change, when he didnt stand up for castro, that was the final straw,

  • die hard

    EZ money…Aram will realize same…nobody wants our over 30 yr old players

    • Brett

      Ramirez is the top 3B free agent on the market. He could find a team without trouble.

      • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

        Let’s hope he does. He is definitely one I don’t want back.

        • Toosh

          And which ever team signs him will be paying him less than $16 million per season. Bye, Aramis. Thank you for the memories.

          • die hard

            hes testament to fact that there should be no baseball in Chicago before May 1…same now true as to Pena….believe cold likewise was factor in Cashner and Wells going down..also affected Dempster…hopefully the new 3 wise men will sign players who can play in the cold….by the way, surprised as to Dempster who played hockey which means his age showing now…but no Latin country ballplayer likes it and I dont blame them…..ridiculous starting baseball in Chicago so early….maybe Selig can implore the schedule gods to play only in domed or warm weather cities in April

  • BleakNews

    Are you kidding me! Dempster “slightly ” overpaid. This joker should not even be on the
    team. He is always breaking the teams back by giving up home runs. This has been going
    on for years, even when he was relieving.

  • BleakNews

    Dont get me wrong. Demp is a great person. But if your going to pay
    14 mil for being a good person give him an office job and get us another
    quality pitcher to supplement Garza/Cashner/Wells/Samardzija because these
    four are going to be the backbone of our pitching staff. Now that Demp has
    his “cool” 14 mil, let him sing during the 7th inning stretch or something, only
    occasionally, and leave the “pitching” to the aforementioned!

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Why does nobody want to give Casey Coleman a shot?

    He did alright after his dad gave him some coaching.

    • Jason

      Sorry, but please no. Coleman’s 88 MPH cheese isn’t going to get big league hitters out on a consistent basis.

      I’m fine with the Dempster option getting picked up. He may be slightly overpaid next year, but it’ll be nice to have him get us 200 solid innings. I expect a small bounceback from him next year and anticipate that he’ll give us an ERA for the entire year similar to his post April numbers.

  • Louis

    I like Casey Coleman too! Unfortunately, he had a good shot to impress the team and he did not. Now that Dumpster is back hopefully he can help these young guys like Casey, Smardj, Cash, Russell, and others improve with his guidance and advice. IMO Dempster might begin the season as a starter only to be back in the pen by May. Theo is targeting pitching hard this off season and everyone knows it. With the free agents/trades upcoming and some of these young guys knocking at the door we may be looking at the beginning of a lot of changes.

    • dreese

      I noticed you have a mistake in your comment “Russell”. From what we saw last year he better be nowhere near the starting rotation next year, or ever.

  • BleakNews

    Kansas Cubs Fan—–I think Casey Coleman should get a chance as a fifth starter.
    He does not have killer stuff, but he can pitch. He reminds me of Greg Maddux
    in certain ways.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      People seem to have forgot that he exists.

      • TWC

        Along those lines, I’ve already forgotten who won the World Series.

        • Jim

          What World Series?

    • NyN

      The day of 88mph pitchers being wildly effective left the building when the MLB changed the strike zone. Guys like Glavine and Maddux thrived in the days when any part of the ball touching the black of the plate was considered a strike. When they closed the zone up a few years back you saw the ERA of finesse guys go up exponentially. Maddux used to get the call 6 inches off the plate when he was in ATL. BTW I am not trying to take anything away from Maddux. I think he is the best modern day pitcher (post war). Had he spent his last five years on quality teams he might be over 400 in the wins column. I personally do not think Coleman even compares.

  • SweetJamesJones

    Remember at the beginning of the year Dempster was the Cub’s “ace?”

    There is nothing better than being in the bleachers on opening day and it being cold and rainy as hell.

    Even better, watching Dempster get destroyed by the Pirates.


  • MrCub73

    One thing to keep in mind regarding Dempster 2011 season, the Cubs defense sucked!!  When a pitcher has to get four or five outs in an inning, that causes problems throughout the game, even if they get out of the error filled inning without damage.  On a team with solid defense, Dempster would have been a better pitcher.

    Considering how bad the Cubs rotation was in 2011, how can we complain that Dempster is back for 2012.  He sucked in April, take that out and he was ok.  Remember, the Cubs are not looking to contend in 2012 and Dempster falls off payroll for 2013.  So if the Cubs make an addition or two this season, why do all your shopping this season, they can go out at the end of 2012 and sign another free agent pitcher to replace Dempster.  They should not sign him to an extension beyond 2012, let him play out this season and see how he does.  If he does well, the Cubs can resign him after the 2012 season.

  • BleakNews

    Please! How could anyone be happy with Dempster’s return. I thought
    the Cubs were going for a “culture” change. To me that would mean
    getting rid of “gopher” ball Demp. Sorry Demp, love you, but I just get
    a sickening feeling when you step on the mound wondering witch pitch
    is heading out. Worse yet is what Demp did in the playoffs, absolutely nothing!

    • SweetJamesJones

      Hell, Ive had that feeling with Dempster ever since he was our closer.

  • BleakNews

    14 mil for an O.K. pitcher! I have some desert property I want to sell you!(Mr. Cub73)

  • BFM

    Not a fan of the amount, but considering the state of the rotation and all the holes in it…..not the worst option. He brings in experience and leadership. He’s not the 1st or 2nd tier pitcher anymore, but a decent 3rd, 4th or 5th man. There are so many needs on this team for next season, i think this is a short term fix. Can’t blame him for picking up the 14 million….it is a business. Any chance to trade him in July if there is something on the market? THe bottom line is that the Cubs aren’t going to compete, the culture change is going to be an ongoing thing and it will take time!

  • hardtop

    Could be worse, could pay him 14 mil or more to play elsewhere, like we will with big Z. Demp was ok in the second half. hes overpaid for his true slot in the lineup, but its the nature of the business: inevitably players decline during their big contracts. Considering we need pitching more than anything, having our second best pitcher exercise his contract option isn’t the end of the world. The cubs don’t have a choice on this one so might as well put him in there and have him help the team if possible. Its a bad contract but not hendrys worst

  • Cliffy

    Anybody else look at Melky Cabrerra as a nice off season target. 27 years old plays center, bats left handed 18 hrs. 87 rbi’s 201 hits 20 SB. OBP 339. Kansas City may want to consider trading him he’s getting costly for them, likely to cost between 4 and 5 million. Thoughts?

  • BFM

    @Cliffy……..I like the idea of Melky coming over…young and good ballplayer. Need to dump some extra weight in the OF if that is going to happen. Maybe Byrd or Soriano. Rather see Soriano leave, move Byrd to Right or Left, bring in Colvin in the other corner and let Brett Jackson see some major league at bats off the bench.

    • juliozuleta

      If brett jackson breaks camp with the cubs (he will) he will be the starter.

  • Louis

    Man I think Brett Jackson or bust. If he isn’t starting in center I would be surprised. Although, like BFM said we still have extra weight there. I do like Melky however.

  • Cliffy

    Cabrerra has played all 3 outfield positions and rather well. I could see Brett Jackson in center, Cabrerra in left or right depending on Soriano and LaHair at 1st base. That could give us 3 potential LF semi powe threats.

  • Louis

    @cliffy Yeah dude, I agree completely. We don’t know what Jax will do yet, but I like the outfield of Melky, Jax, and Soriano for now. I also like Lahair as the Chicago version of Allen Craig (minus 2nd base and 3rd base of course). If he can come off the bench and produce and make spot starts at 1st, LF, and RF.

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Guys Tribune reporting possible of sending Soriano for Vernon Wells… Bad contract for bad contract… I hope this doesn’t happen! Please God No! I would rather keep Soriano!

    • Fishin Phil

      Don’t worry Ramy.  That’s just Phil Rogers blowing smoke out his ass, as usual.

    • Dave

      Wells had the lowest OBP in the majors last year, and something like the 3rd worst since 1920 so he would have been the perfect Jim Hendry player.

  • MrCub73

    This is a big if, but if Grady Sizemore’s option gets decline I would love to see the Cubs sign him to a 1 year contract. Something like they did with the Pena Contract.

    • CubFan Paul

      me too ..i expect a bidding war the oft injured Sizemore that’ll drive up the price on what should be a minimum contract ..$2-$6million for one year

  • Cliffy

    If you compare Sizemore and Cabrerra stats you’d see Cabrerra leads in almost all categories. Most of all age 2 years younger and price tag 1/2 as much.

    • MrCub73

      Cabrera was a solid OF in 2011 no doubt, but which Cabrera is the real one? 20120 or 2011? How much pressure can there be playing in Kansas City, no one expects you to win there. I lived there back in 2009, they were all football and the Royals were just and entertainment piece, that next to nobody expected to win. The difference in Sizemore and Cabrera, Cabrera is under contract for 2012, Sizemore is about to be a free agent. You can’t get Cabrera without giving up players. I doubt there is much debate over who would be the better player if Sizemore could play 150 games. If I were to sign Sizemore, he would play a corner position, immediately take him from the more physically demanded center field position, that belongs to Jackson in May or June anyway. So my option would be sign Sizemore and slide him over to right, left if you more Soriano. A guy like Sizemore will only be 29 for most of next season, so if he panned out, he could still fit into to team plans beyond 2012.



  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Lol Phil… Also I agree with most of you guys… Cabrera patrolling center looks good… I would slide Byrd over to Right until pretty boy Tyler Colvin can get on track… Colvin and Vitters remind me of the Rangers potential.. Just can’t get it done… Also If Aramis leaves… I think Edwin Encarnacion would be a nice fit at 3rd!..I still would Esptein to sign Pena.. Value at 1st club leader 20-30 hrs a yr! SPEND MONEY ON PITCHING and BULL PEN

  • die hard

    Maybe, Dempster signed after agreeing to pre-arranged trade to team of his choice which will pay more money over longer period than could imagine as free agent….wonder who that team is?

  • Pingback: Saying Goodbye to the Old Scoreboard? and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • Joel Edmonson

    Glad none of you are the GM, lets just wait and see what Theo does, it should be an interesting winter.

  • BleakNews

    Hello Dempster fans. For 14 mil this clown should be winning 20 games, mowing
    yards for neighbors, guarding crosswalks for kids, patrolling our borders, shoveling
    driveways, etc.. What do we have? A washed up pitcher who was wondering
    whether to except 14 mil! A top 20 starter? I don’t think so. Maybe bottom 20.
    Most of his wins were coming when the Cubs were pounding the ball and giving him
    a nice cushion to win. Under the gun he nothing more than an average pitcher, at best.

    I can truely appreciate the fact that Dempster has raised millions of dollars for good causes,
    but that money was “raised” by Cubs fans not donated by Dempster. Demp make me a
    fan, I want to be a fan of yours! Donate half your salary to these organizations! But maybe
    you couldn’t make it on 7 million. Need to put food on the table?

    Jason, you need to get away from stats, as they are very misleading, and look at the
    true value of Dempster. Good guy—-yes. Good pitcher—-no!