After 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).