(…well except when he plunked, no not beaned, that would be hitting him in his head, ARod last year for so called cheating)
I was working on the 2014 Red Sox pitching projections yesterday morning when I saw this:
So I spend the next few hours reading stories and tweets about this and watching his press conference. Dempster, showing the classy guy that he is (notwithstanding his momentary lapse of reason last season) he decided that he didn’t want to pitch this year. The Sox put him on the restricted list which means he can’t pitch for anyone else and he forgoes his $13.25M salary for 2014. That frees up money for the Sox and pulls them back from the brink of the luxury tax. Dempster wasn’t great, wondering if his neck issues caused his drop in the velocity last year, but he did eat innings (170+) and was a strike out machine at 8.2/9 inning. His ERA was terrible, but he did win some games. It is a nice contrast from the last Sox starter that decided not to pitch in his last year. Curt Shilling did this in 2008, he was hurt at the beginning of the season, but went on the DL and got paid his $8M and then retired at the end of the year. In my opinion Shilling knew he wasn’t going to pitch again and should have retired and saved the Sox some money.
In my projections I had Dempster starting some games for the Sox this year and pitching in middle relief. He and Brandon Workman would probably compete for the 5th starter role and would both be candidates to spot start if either were in the bullpen. I’ll have to adjust my projections some, but I think this is actually a good thing for the Sox. I expect to see them trying Workman out in that 5th slot in Spring Training to see if he is capable of starting. He has the variety of pitches to be a starter, it depends if he has the mental and physical makeup to start.
If he doesn’t come back in 2015 he went out on top, his last appearance was against St Louis in Game 2 of the WS. He pitched a 1-2-3 ninth striking out the last hitter he faced, that and winning your first ring is not a bad way to go out for a pitcher.