The Boston Red Sox added to their starting rotation on Thursday by agreeing to a two-year, $26.5 million deal with Ryan Dempster. Dempster, who will turn 36 in May, spent most of the last nine years with the Chicago Cubs, before finishing the 2012 season with the Texas Rangers.
Dempster wasn’t bad in 2012. He posted a 12-8 record, with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA this year with the Cubs before being traded to Texas. After landing with the Rangers he posted a 7-3 record with a 5.03 ERA. Dempster tossed 173 innings in 28 starts last season, and that was the first time in four years that he didn’t break the 200 innings barrier.
The problem for the Red Sox is that Dempster doesn’t help the team get any younger. He’ll join a rotation that includes Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, but Franklin Morales and Felix Doubront are the team’s other starters, until John Lackey is healthy following Tommy John surgery.
Essentially Dempster will step into the rotation spot vacated when the Red Sox shipped Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2012 season.
The good news for Boston is that Dempster has proven to be a solid, durable starter over the past five years. At the very least he should be able to come in and eat innings immediately in 2013.
The Sox also officially announced the signing of Shane Victorino to a three-year, $39 million deal earlier on Thursday. While the Dempster deal could be smart, the Victorino contract has the potential to turn into a disaster.