On Sunday, Ryan Dempster announced that he was not going to pitch this upcoming season.
Dempster, who was in the final year of his two-year, $26 million deal said “I just feel given where I’m at with my health, how I feel personally, I just feel it’s in the best interest of both myself and the organization to not play this year.”
Dempster cited that he had a bone spur and disk issue in his neck that may have prevented him from being a dominant force on the mound.
Either way, this couldn’t have come at a better time for the Red Sox. Before Dempster announced his leave of absence, the team had a surplus of starting pitching. Not only did they have six capable big league starters, but four players in the minors (Workman, Britton, De La Rosa, and Webster) who all have major league starter potential.
Dempster, who moved to the bullpen during the playoffs (along with Dubront), likely would have been odd man out anyway.
So Demspster made a decision that best helped the team. He felt that he was not prepared to pitch at a high level this season, took accountability, and decided to leave $13.25 million on the table to either prepare for next season or retire.
Now the Red Sox have $13.25 million extra to potentially pick up a backup middle infielder or relief pitcher (or for a blockbuster deal at the deadline) for extra depth.
However, they lost a guy that manager John Farell says “provided a leadership role with his example – the way he went out and worked.”
This leadership, professionalism, and accountability were shown Sunday when Dempster decided to forgo $13.25 million and sit out a season he felt unprepared to play.