Ryan Dempster, Red Sox agree to two-year, $26.5 million deal

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UPDATE: Rosenthal says it’s a two-year, $26.5 million deal, so by turning down the previous two-year offer Dempster gets a little extra cash and the Red Sox still manage to avoid a three-year commitment.

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Yesterday the Red Sox and Ryan Dempster were said to be in serious negotiations and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the two sides are “close” to an agreement.

No word yet on the money or years involved, but previous reports had Dempster turning down a two-year, $25 million offer from Boston.

If the Red Sox agree to give him a three-year deal it’s a big risk, as Dempster is 35 years old and got knocked around in his first taste of the American League following a midseason trade to the Rangers. For the most part, though, he’s been a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter, posting a 3.74 ERA and 911 strikeouts in 997 innings during the past three seasons, including a 3.38 ERA in 173 total innings this year.

Gerrit Cole second-fastest to 200 strikeouts in a season

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Astros starter Gerrit Cole dominated the Athletics on Monday night, limiting them to one run on two hits and a walk while striking out 11. It marked his 12th start out of 22 this season with double-digit strikeouts, giving him 205 total on the season.

It is no surprise, then, to hear that Cole is the second-fastest in baseball history to reach 200 strikeouts in a season, per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Cole got there in 133 1/3 innings. The only pitcher faster than Cole was Randy Johnson, who reached 200 K’s in 130 2/3 innings back in 2001 with the Diamondbacks.

Along with the 205 strikeouts, Cole holds an 11-5 record with a 3.03 ERA across 136 2/3 innings. Among qualified starters in the American League, only Charlie Morton (2.61), Mike Minor (2.86), José Berríos (2.96), and teammate Justin Verlander (2.99) have a better ERA than Cole, who has twice finished in the top-five in Cy Young Award voting.