Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 322: Red Sox Righty Dempster to Sit Out 2014 Season

Pitchers and catchers reported to JetBlue Park in Fort Meyers, Florida on Saturday signaling that spring is right around the corner. The piles and piles of snow in my yard say differently—and even more is expected early in the week. I actually think I heard our snowblower cry uncle at some point after the last heavy wet snow that blanketed the northeast. I'm close to crying uncle too.

One pitcher was clearly missing from the group. Ryan Dempster, the 36-year-old right-handed veteran has decided to sit out the 2014 season citing health reasons and the desire to spend more time with his family. Dempster has pitched 16 seasons in the major leagues with last season being his first with the Red Sox. His numbers were nothing to write home about (8-9, 4.57 ERA), and he never got a start during the post season. He hasn't officially retired just in case he decided to pitch in 2015.

The Red Sox had a pretty solid starting pitching staff and there was talk of possibly even having a six-man rotation with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront, John Lackey and Dempster. But with his decision to not pitch, I guess that's not going to happen. Fingers crossed everyone else stays healthy.
"I had an incredible run, a chance to play 16 years in the major leagues and be around a lot of great teammates, made a lot of good friendships, great friendships," Dempster said in a surprise announcement one day before the first formal spring training workout for pitchers and catchers. "I'm totally comfortable with it. I'm at peace with my decision." 
"The past few years have been tougher and tougher," he said. "As you get older, going through some things, some issues I have with my neck that have made it harder and harder to throw a baseball and throw it like I'm accustomed to throw it."
Neck issues? Sounds like Ryan Dempster must have fallen asleep holding Clay Buchholz's baby.

Boston signed Dempster to a two-year, $26.5 million deal before the 2013 season but they won't have to pay the pitcher the remaining $13.25 million with his decision to sit out. The team can put that money to good use filling any remaining holes they find as spring training gets underway. Still unsigned Stephen Drew, perhaps?

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