Ryan Dempster, who sat out this season and did not collect his $13.25 million salary from the Red Sox, has now decided to officially retire, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.
Dempster signed a two-year, $26.5 million deal with the Red Sox in December of 2012 and struggled in his first season in Boston with a 4.57 ERA and 249 baserunners allowed in 171 innings. He did not make a start during the team’s World Series run.
In sitting out this season Dempster cited neck problems and a desire to spend more time with his family at age 37. He pitched 16 seasons in the majors for five different teams, including nine years with the Cubs. Dempster made two All-Star teams, topped 200 innings seven times, and also topped 20 saves three times.
He retires having earned nearly $90 million.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.