Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster will not pitch this season "due to physical reasons and a desire to spend more time with his kids", according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Dempster explained his decision to Rosenthal:
"I don’t feel like I am capable of performing to the ability and standard that I am accustomed to. I feel it’s in the best interest of both the club but most importantly myself to step away from playing baseball at this time. The time is right. I’m not saying retirement but I definitely won’t be playing this season."
The Red Sox are likely to put Dempster on the restricted list, meaning that they will not have to pay him his $13.25MM salary for 2014. The team could look to allocate that money elsewhere, possibly by signing a free agent like Stephen Drew or looking to sign Jon Lester to a contract extension.
The Sox have five starters already locked in for next season-- Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront--so the loss of Dempster solves their "six starters for five spots" problem before it even became one. Boston also has Brandon Workman and Allen Webster as young depth options, so they are unlikely to pursue any starters on the free agent market.
After signing a 2-year, $26.5MM contract with the Red Sox last winter, Dempster went 8-9 with a 4.57 ERA in 32 appearances (29 starts) for the World Champions last season. He received the first World Series ring of his sixteen-year major league career, and got the chance to close out Game 1 of the World Series. At this point, consider it unlikely that the 36-year old will ever throw another pitch in the major leagues.