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ryan dempster backAfter 16 years in the big leagues, more of them spent with the Chicago Cubs than with any other team, Ryan Dempster’s career may be over. He announced today that he will not pitch in 2014 (forgoing his $13.25 million salary with the Red Sox), and may not pitch again thereafter. The reasons for stepping away sound like they may be health and family-related (he wants to spend more time with his kids), and hopefully all is well with his family (we know that his daughter, Riley, suffers from DiGeorge Syndrome).

I know that Dempster frayed the goodwill of some Cubs fans by using his no-trade rights back in 2012, but it was a complex decision at the time, and he’d earned those rights. Ultimately, he did approve a trade to the Rangers, which allowed the Cubs to acquire Kyle Hendricks and Christian Villanueva – both borderline top ten prospects in a very good Cubs system.

Before that trade, Dempster was an effective closer and starter for the Cubs, and was part of the great Cubs teams in the late-2000s. I remember his time with the Cubs fondly, and I hope things go well for him in the future.

For those looking for a transaction-related connection here, I don’t see much of one, other than possibly freeing up cash to allow the Red Sox to re-sign Stephen Drew with impunity. They’ve already got a full rotation, so the free agent starters (or Jeff Samardzija) don’t seem to make too much sense for them (unless they part with another starter in the interim).

  • Carl9730

    I’m not saying they’re not talented but what have they really done? They’ve tanked to get into top 5 of last couple drafts and selected fairly consensus guys. They’ve traded vets and received pretty good returns- that I’ll admit. As an organization, they’ve taken virtually no risks, save the misguided one of waiting to deal Garza & risking serious injury. Wake me up when they decide to trade something of value for something of value and it works out. For now, they’re doing what GMs ordered to tear down a team & maintain a barebones payroll would do- nothing more & nothing less.

    • brainiac

      i would say nothing more and a bit less. though the major difference identified here by us supernerds is that they’ve given this practice a special kind of near-religious branding in which everyday processes are seen as moves that will result in team salvation. do not question, ye will be rewarded. it’s like we’re in the book of job without the whirlwind.

    • Brocktoon

      Sean Marshall for Travis Wood and Cashner for Rizzo

  • Blackhawks1963

    The Cubs are going to find frontline starting pitching in free agency. They either develop their own and fast, or they pay thru the nose in trades. Simple. Sobering too. Free agency is changing on terms if pitchers. Scherzer is never coming to the Cubs. Maybe we have a shot at overpaying for a 33 year old Shields next winter. If he doesn’t get traded in July or a team like the Yankees take a pass.

    • brainiac

      scherzer isn’t signing here for about 100 reasons. the same 100 that tanaka had no chance of signing here. players don’t like GMs that deliberately tank their teams. if they have their choice, they’re going to go to the organization that acts in good faith and has good morale.

      it’s a deep, deep hole that they’ve dug in just 3 offseasons. historically deep.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        History does not bear out that free agents avoid teams that have had a sustained stretch of losing. For the most recent example, look at Seattle. They’ve had a pretty bad record four straight years and finished under .500 in five of the last six. They still signed Cano.

        And there are plenty of other examples of that over the past couple of decades.

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          All of these players came up through the farm systems and know baseball a lot better than us arm chair GM’s. Believe me they know the cubs have some hot prospects in the pipeline. And when those guys come up and start to produce there will be no shortage of guys wanting to pitch at Wrigley.

          • brainiac

            i still think this is a big big IF, not a when. but i hope you’re right. i’d love to have 4 young stars coming up together. it’d be exciting. i just can’t think of another example of a team that’s done that since oakland in the 80s (mcgwire, canseco, giambi, tejada). and they were all juicing together.

            • http://bleachernation.com woody

              That’s exactly what I’m thinking. Baez and Bryant have the potential to go viral. Just how many 100 RBI guys is it possible to have on one team?

            • Isaac

              Tejafa and Giambi did not come up any time near McGwire/Canseco.

              The White Sox with Ordonez/Lee/Konerko would have been a better example. That was some lineup when they all joined the Big Hurt.

              • brainiac

                nice example, except i hate the white sox

        • When The Musics Over

          I’m sorta joking, sorta not, but how many high end coveted free agents being offered even money by alot of teams will choose the team with a recent culture of extreme losing, deplorable/worst in baseball player amenities, tons of day games, a dysfunctional relationship with a major part of the community business partners, and the main selling point of a hopeful up and coming future. The point here is the Cubs have put themselves in a very unique, and possibly hampering position that might require a sizeable overpay to entice coveted free agents to choose the over other options.

  • Carl9730

    I really wish I weren’t right on this but I’ve been making this point about SP since they ‘ve started jacking around Shark. You can’t just flip a switch and decide you’re gonna deal with the SP issue in ’15 or ’16 and there are gonna be tons of attractive FAs and reasonable trade options. I have all the faith in the world in the young bats but we’re looking like the Brewers of the ’05-’10 period- great young lineup with dogshit pitching.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Be happy Cub fans, the front office is building the team the only way possible in todays game. Building a core via free agency is ancient history. Quality free agents under 30 are few and far between, and get overpaid. Free agents are complimentary players to fill out a contending club(see 2013 Red Sox).
    Young prospects and lots of them. Strength in numbers. Hire the best scouts. Hoard draft picks and trade short term for long term. These guys are doing it right.
    Atlantis sportbook has Cubs as last in NL with 65.5 win total. Ridiculous. Way to low. Should win at least 73 games. Hope this team plays with a chip on their shoulder this year, they could be a real pain in the butt to some clubs.

  • D-Rock

    Homer Bailey nearing extension. Cross him off our wish-list…

  • Blackhawks1963

    The odds of the Cubs acquiring frontline pitching via free agency are long. It was always arogant and naive for some Cub fans to simply assume that Chicago was the best landing spot for Tanaka. Or that the Cubs will be the favorites to land guys like Bailey, Shields, Scherzer.

    The Cubs need to develop their own pitching. ANd they probably will get to the point where they will need to engineer a blockbuster trade or two. Hence why the accumulation of frontline prospects is also important. If Baez is the real deal and can stick at shortstop, then maybe a year from now the Cubs trade Castro for a frontline starting pitcher prospect.

    As much as we all like to get excited about following Bryant, Baez, Alcantara and Almora, we should actually be more focused on Edwards, Johnson, Underwood, Blackburn and the other pitchers in the system. Because without pitching we ain’t going anywhere.

    • Jon

      “The odds of the Cubs acquiring frontline pitching via free agency are long. ”

      I know this would be out of character for you, but could you put a % on it?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “It was always arogant and naive for some Cub fans to simply assume that Chicago was the best landing spot for Tanaka. Or that the Cubs will be the favorites to land guys like Bailey, Shields, Scherzer.”

      No one believes those things!

    • DarthHater

      “It was always arrogant and presumptuous for some Cub fans to simply assume that it was their job to incessantly and tediously lecture other fans about their alleged naivete.”

      FTFY

    • Isaac

      Please take this as a legitimate question, and not simply an attack on your previous post (which I called out)….

      Why do you feel Starlin can now return a TOR arm, when so recently he was deemed “trash” by you, and should be given to the nearest gullible GM that would take him?

  • Fastball

    The Reds are going to finalize a deal with Bailey before end of ST. He is going to get 6 and 20. Cubs better start wishing harder. Reds are prepared to increase payroll by $30MM. They are getting tv revenues they can spend. We can’t even get Shark to talk like he believes in the Cubs and he isn’t that good. Shark is now going to cost Ricketts a minimum of $17MM and 5 probably 6. Then T. Wood iss gonna want his money soon. So Tommy here comes Wells Fargo money truck and they are doing pickups not deliveries.

    • CubFan Paul

      “Shark is now going to cost Ricketts a minimum of $17MM and 5 probably 6″

      Samardzija won’t be a Cub at that price.

      If the Cubs are offering 5/$55MM, they’re going nowhere near $85MM

      • Jon

        If they are offering 5/55 that’s a fucking joke. A corpse that manage to eat 180-200 innings can get that much these days.

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          How is it a joke? When this number was discussed he had three years if team control. That would be double what he was and is making through arbitration and give him to more year of guaranteed money. That’s why you try to get players to sign good contracts before they become arb eligible. Again stop using anything you see to add to your stupid narrative- try facts and logic first.

  • Jon

    Let’s be honest, the Cubs have handled the Samardzija situation HORRIBLY up to this point. If they thought they were going to get him on the cheap, I don’t know who they were fooling.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      So not meeting his demands is acting horribly?

      • Fishin Phil

        Yes, every one knows the secret to negotiating is to cave immediately. Silly Goat.

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Sorry puppet I don’t know what got into me I forgot that simple rule.

      • Jon

        Let’s compare and contrast Shark and Bailey

        27 Years Old
        7.5 WAR

        29 Years Old
        6.4 WAR

        Let’s first compare ages, Bailey will be 28 on May 3rd, so they are more like 1.5 years apart.

        Production, they both started full time major league contributions during the 2011 season(though Bailey had some spot starts in 2009, 2010). Shark was limited to a reviler in 2011, so that is nothing his wins down a bit in the 2011 season.

        In terms of scouting and “pure stuff” I think Bailey is a notch above SHark(as evidenced by his two no hitters) but scouts also rave about Sharks pure stuff as well. Neither have accomplished much in terms of the nonsense stats like W-L record, but that’s irrelevant.

        At first blush I think it would be fair to say, Bailey is more valued..20% more valued? I think that’s accurate. But, would you bat at eye at giving Bailey 6/120? No, noone would. So if SHark is asking for 18 million a year is that really out of line? How are the sides SO far apart. Why has this made it to the media?

        The Reds have seen a young asset and have decided to lock him up, yet the Cubs seem to think Shark is worth 13/14 at best. Their expectations are poor.

        • Jon

          I want to clarify my most, those WIN totals for Shark and Bailey are for the 2011, 2012, and 2013 seasons respectively.

        • mjhurdle

          all of that conveniently ignores the fact that Shark has 2 years of control left, and Bailey is a FA after this season.
          That is a big difference.

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          I’m not disagree with your analysis, Shark has every right to demand the 85M but how does the FO not giving him that = handling the situation HORRIBLY? They negotiating and both have plenty of time to decide where they need give in but that does not equal HORRIBLE. I’m lost on why you think they are handling this so wrong unless you need more narrative fodder? Wait I just answered my question didn’t I?

          • Jon

            Let’s be honest, if Shark could be had for 5/85 today, and the Cubs don’t jump on that, than that is a poor decision.

            He’s not going to come cheaper, unless his arm falls off. And that is the one think with Shark that’s probably not going to happen. He’ll wow us with some starts and then frustrate us with his periodic “implosions” but it’s a good bet he’s going to give you 200+ the next two seasons and than in itself is worth 5/85

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              You have no idea what everyone is asking or demanding right now, the joke is your stupid witch hunt to be Cpt Negative on everything.

              • Jon

                Me being Capt Negative balances out you, the “White Knight” for the Front Office. Balance is the key in life.

                • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                  That’s not what going on here or do you need a reason to validate yourself? Sorry buddy if you need a hug let me know.

            • Norm

              So you admit that Bailey is better. When the actual numbers come out, we’ll see if 5/$85 for a worse pitcher under more control would really be something to jump at.(Cuz rumors are saying 6yrs, close to $100M. Not sure where you’re getting $120M)

              • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                He doing anything he can do to complain, it’s his “role” in the Cubs universe.

      • DarthHater

        Come on, Goat. It is obviously a fiasco any time a negotiation drags on for more than a day or two and results in upsetting the player to the point that he starts making inflammatory statements like: “Both sides are justified.”

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Good point I should just stay away more often I’m obviously lost on how the world works.

          • DarthHater

            You’re a goat. We understand.

      • mjhurdle

        They should have offered him a 5 year – $240 million contract before last year was even over!!!
        By not doing that, they have totally mishandled the situation!!!!1!!!!!1!!!

        • brainiac

          we need to resign him, and like 2 other pitchers, and 2 outfielders, and a second baseman, and a new gm.

  • David

    Does this rotation get us competitive in 2015?

    1. Shark
    2. Wood
    3. ST received from potential Castro trade
    4. Jackson
    5. Arrieta/ Hendricks
    6. Johnson – mid year, perhaps.

    A few “if’s”, but I dont think this is so bad. Could get us to .500.

    • CubFan Paul

      “Does this rotation get us competitive in 2015?”

      Not if you trade your best player.

      • mjhurdle

        Calm down, no one is talking about trading Logan ‘The Babe’ Watkins. ;)

  • Fastball

    I still think Shark is now asking for $17MM and 5 years mimn maybe 6. I say if he is lights out at the allstar break you get him to sign ASAP. Otherwise he is gone next off season via trade. At Sharks age He is thinking this it on $$$side of things. In 5 years he will either be out of baseball or back to making what he he is making this year or there abouts. So he is holding for the money. I would do the same thing. I would also tell me my agent to do a mid season deal if Theo is ready to pay me on my new deal. Shark needs win at the bank before he wins on the field. Lots of guys think that way. That’s fine just produce relative to your income or be prepared to get booed out of Wrigley. It’s a toss up on that. I don’t think Shark is that good a pitcher. I would tell him if he doesn’t want to work with me then have fun cuz your gonna be here til the last day of next season and get a haircut. :)

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Precisely both sides are in a wait and see mode and have two years to decide on the value vs risk aspect of any deal. Both sides are being set in their requests which is what one should expect.

      • YourResidentJag

        Conveniently ignoring the fact that everyone in sports media says he’s gone by next year isn’t going to help that argument, Goat.

        • mjhurdle

          True, sports media rarely misses on these things.

          Can’t wait to see Anibal Sanchez on Opening Day!!

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