Ryan Dempster expected to exercise $14 million option for 2012

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Not a big surprise, but Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Ryan Dempster is expected to exercise his $14 million player option for next season.

Dempster, 34, is in the final guaranteed year of a four-year, $52 million contract. He has proved to be a good value for Chicago, despite his superficially mediocre 4.60 ERA over 27 starts this season. His strikeout percentage is actually right on par with where he was last season while his walk percentage is improved.

It’s possible that the Cubs could attempt to renegotiate Dempster’s option as part of a multi-year contract, though that decision will likely fall on the next general manager.

‘‘I think that’s something that I’ll have to look at at the end of the year, and hopefully something that they’re interested in happening here,’’ he said. ‘‘The main thing for me to do is focus on [tonight’s] game.’’

Of course, one of the more interesting decisions for the Cubs this offseason will be whether to exercise Aramis Ramirez’s $16 million option for 2012 or buy him out for $2 million. The 33-year-old is batting .311 with 24 home runs and an .886 OPS this season, so with no heir apparent at third base, there’s a strong argument to keep him around.

Someone stole the bat from the Ken Griffey, Jr. statue at Safeco Field

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The Mariners unveiled a statue of Hall of Fame outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. earlier this year at Safeco Field, featuring the slugger in his famous follow-through seen after each of his 630 career home runs. Chris Daniels of KING 5 News in Seattle reported on Tuesday evening that someone had stolen the bat from the statue.

Thankfully, the Seattle Police Department announced that the bat has been recovered and a suspect has been arrested. They expect to provide more details later. Daniels reports the Mariners have confirmed the news.

My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.