Ryan Dempster posted a disappointing 4.57 ERA in 171 1/3 innings last summer for the Red Sox and did not get a postseason start, but he was still expected to open the 2014 campaign in Boston’s rotation.
That is no longer going to happen.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the veteran right-hander announced Sunday that he will not pitch this season due to “physical reasons and his desire to spend more time with his kids.”
“I don’t feel like I am capable of performing to the ability and standard that I am accustomed to,” Dempster told Rosenthal. “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.”
Dempster signed a two-year, $26.5 million free agent contract with the Red Sox last winter. He’ll be placed on the restricted list and won’t get the $13.25 million salary that he stood to earn in 2014. With that savings, the Red Sox front office could get more active on the open market — they’re known to have some interest in re-signing shortstop Stephen Drew.
Boston’s rotation this season will likely be Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy, and Felix Doubront. Though it should be noted that Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana remain unsigned.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.