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.



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