Over the weekend, Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster announced that he will not pitch in 2014. Dempster is not officially retiring just yet, but he doesn't feel physically capable of performing in 2014, so he won't try to. It is an extremely surprising turn of events, but it seems to be an honorable move on Dempster's part. He signed a two-year, $26.5 million deal with the Red Sox before last season, and this announcement means he will walk away from the remaining $13.25 million rather than try to battle through until Boston is eventually forced to cut him and pay the remainder.
As a Red Sox fan, I am not sure things could have worked out much better for the team. Dempster was a reasonable enough fifth starter last season, but he had no place in the 2014 rotation and the team has plenty of bullpen options without him. His contract would have made him the first line of defense if the team lost a starter, but personally, I would much rather see Brandon Workman or another young arm like Allen Webster or Anthony Ranaudo get a chance if Boston loses John Lackey, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy or Felix Doubront. It is possible that Dempster could have found an important role in the bullpen or brought in something of value in trade at some point, but it is hard to imagine the Red Sox getting $13.25 million worth of production from him this coming season. By bowing out, he may do more for them then he could have possibly done on the field.
This prompts an interesting question. If you could drop one player from your favorite team for the 2014 season and get back all the money owed to them, who would it be? There is no shortage of overpaid under-performers out there, but many of them still serve an important role. Since this deal is just for one year, it won't eliminate any true albatross contracts, but the chance to add some spending money is certainly enough to justify knocking off a giant salary for a season. So who will it be?
Breakfast Links 2/17:
Segura appeared to break out in the early months of the 2013 season, but he hit just .241/.268/.315 in the second half of the year, tempering some of the enthusiasm around him. There are still a lot of question marks there, but locking up a young, capable shortstop with some pop as early as possible is usually a good idea.
The best closer in baseball lands a four-year, $42 million deal with some incentives and an option for a fifth season and Atlanta avoids dealing with a potential disastrous arbitration case once and for all. Even though $42 million is a lot of money to spend for a guy who will only give you around 70 innings a season, given how incredible Kimbrel has been, this looks like a reasonable deal.
The 36-year-old will get a chance to show that he still has something left in his right arm after terrible performances in 2013 and 2012.
Remember when Santana was looking for a $100 million deal? Good times.
Original Report: Suk-min Yoon passes physical, Orioles deal official
Usually this would just be almost a formality, but the Orioles have a way of finding fault with players who appear to be perfectly fine to other teams. It is also worth noting that the financial terms of this deal are fairly complicated, with a whole series of incentives that raise the potential value quite a bit.