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.

Yadier Molina ties record for the most games caught with one team

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Yadier Molina has two World Series rings, multiple Gold Gloves, Platinum Gloves, All-Star appearances and a Silver Slugger award. He now has an all-time record too.

The record: the most games caught with one team. Last night he caught his 1756th career game with the Cardinals, with ties him with Gabby Hartnett of the Cubs, who last caught in 1941 and set the record in 1940, his last season with Chicago. Molina will break the record next time he dons the tools of ignorance, likely tonight against the Phillies.

Given how badly catchers get beaten up — and Molina has taken a beating at times in his career — and given how well mastery of the position leads to a catcher earning journeyman status, as it were, it’s quite a thing to catch that many games for one team.

Given that Molina is under contract with the Cardinals for two more seasons and has stated his desire to retire a Cardinal many times, he’s likely to put that record so far out of reach that it’ll likely take at least another 78 years to break it, if indeed it is ever broken.