From the Wire … Ryan Dempster Picks Up 2012 Option

As expected, Ryan Dempster exercised his player option for 2012 and will stay with the Chicago Cubs. Dempster will be paid $14 million in the final year of the four-year contract he signed following the 2008 season. Dempster will also be paid $1 million in February 2012 as the second installment of the $3 million he deferred of his 2010 season in order to free up payroll (three equal payments of $1 million paid in February 2011, 2012 and 2013).

Ryan Dempster had a rough 2011 campaign. After a horrible April, one in which he recently described as the worst month of his career, Dempster finished with a 10-14 record with a 4.80 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP in 34 starts. Dempster reached the all-important 200-inning plateau for the fourth season in a row.

Ryan Dempster’s Page on Baseball Reference

On the same day the Cubs had to write Carlos Silva a $2 million check (buyout on option for 2012), Jed Hoyer was able to pencil in the second or third starter in his rotation for next season.

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  • Mac

    Not a Surprise…anyway anyone besides me think we should be aggressively going against Erik Bedard for something like 2-3 years and also Jonathan Papelbon if they happen to fall through the cracks?

    • Aaron

      Bedard is in line to get a minor league invite at this point, and Papelbon likes going year to year if memory serves me correctly, but who knows…maybe if he leaves Boston, he’d do a long-term deal.

      • BosephHeyden

        Typically this would be the point where I’d say “Yeah, let’s get Bedard!”, but I really want to see where Theo goes with this coaching staff before I say anything.  Rothschild had his faults to be certain, but his talent was taking pitchers with a bit of major league experience elsewhere and developing them into something else (heck, look what he did with the Yankees for a while there).  On the flipside, though,Riggins seems to have zero identity.  Dempster was pretty much the only QUALITY vet on the staff, and he flopped.  Meanwhile, the homegrown guys were way too sporadic, as well.  And that’s not even taking into account the fact that Marmol completely imploded this year.  Wells had a comeback year, but he needs to keep it up for a second year in a row, which so far he has yet to show.

        Bottom line:  if Theo decides to keep on the coaching staff from last season or go with a completely new staff focused on developing players from scratch, I say forget about Bedard, because that isn’t a team he’ll do well on.

        But if we go with a new pitching coach that can build on pitchers that already have some major league experience (a better Larry), get Bedard.

        • Ripsnorter1

          If Theo doesn’t fire Mark Riggins and Quade, I’d say it is business as usual. 

          I don’t think it’ll be business as usual. 

          • J Daniel

            No way they are back.

    • J Daniel

      I agree with Aaron and have stated several times the Cubs should move Marmol for prospects and probably land a couple.  Then they could go sign a closer.  Then trade Soto for a prospect or 2 and bring up one and sign someone other that Hill.  Trade Byrd for a prospect.  Before you know it you have 3-5 additional prospects in the system which will help it tremendously.  Can Dempster bring a couple of prospects while saving 14 million?

  • Aaron

    Did anyone see the article in the Tribune about possibly trading Soriano for Vernon Wells?

    I’ve totally forgotten about that possibility, but it sounds great to me. Soriano is already 35 years old (which is debatable…methinks he’s more like 38), while Wells is 32, and both have the same amount of years left. The Angels would probably have to meet the Cubs halfway on his salary though, as Wells will earn $3 million more per year than Soriano, and while their stats were fairly comparable this year, Wells’ OBP was even worse than Soriano’s, which was near the bottom of the league.

    Fun thought though….we’d see if Rudy was worth his salt for sure if he could turn Wells around.

    • cubtex

      Really??? That sounds great to you? Vernon Wells had one of the worse statistical season in baseball history for a player with 20 plus homers and you would take him for Soriano? As bad as Soriano’s defense is…..there is no way that Wells would be an upgrade over Soriano.

      • cubtex

        I just looked up Wells stats and he had 30 more at bats than Soriano and had 7 fewer walks. I didn’t think that was possible. The Cubs do not need to get rid of Soriano and replace him for someone who walks less. Wells also had 12 fewer doubles than Soriano. No way would I want Wells for the next 3 years.

        • Aaron

          I wouldn’t want Wells on my team either…but if it meant getting rid of Soriano, who not only is a bad example for the younger players, often times dogging it on the basepaths, admiring his warning track power…but is also a significant liability on defense and has no legs on the basepaths anymore. Soriano also happens to strike out more than Wells.

          Wells had one of the worst statistical seasons in recent memory, I’ll grant you that, and yet he still produced about the same as Soriano did.

          Let me put it to you like I already did….35 (LOL…yeah right…more like 38) yrs old vs 32 years old. Both have them have eroding skill-sets. Neither of them have good peripheral numbers anymore (ie.-avg, OBP, etc.)…and yet again, I just go back to age. Soriano looks VERY old in the field. Sorry, but I’d rather have Wells.

          • cubtex

            I am with you on trying to unload Soriano….but not for Wells who they would have for 3 more years. Hopefully Theo can do better than that.

          • Aaron

            Like who? Outside of Johan Santana, whom I do not think the Mets even have interest in moving right now, I just don’t know of any other bad contracts out there we could trade for in a swap like that. Lackey is already down, otherwise I would’ve said him, maybe….and then there’s obviously Crawford and Werth, both of whom just signed started their deals, and the Cubs wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole at least in my opinion.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Soriano’s legs are completely gone. He really needs to move to DH. But please spare me the Vernon Wells experiment.

            How about Adam Dudd? The ChiSox are pretty sick of his act. Let the Cubs pay the difference and move him to the North side. After all, Adam Dudd can still run.


          • Ripsnorter1

            And I think Adam Dudd will again hit in the NL. 

            I WANT HIM ON MY TEAM (if it’s a choice between Sorry-oh-no and Dudd).

          • J Daniel

            Don’t think the Sox would do it.  As bad as he was last year they will be hoping that he returns to somewhat normal.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You are probably right. 

            My one hope is that Keeeeeeennny is a gambler, a big dealer, and perhaps Theo might be able to sweeten the pot enough (with cash) to get the deal done.

          • cubtex

            Not only were the Angels stupid enough to pick up Vernon Wells contract…..but they also traded Mike Napoli for him!!! What an awful trade!

          • Ripsnorter1

            That GM is unemployed right now, isn’t he?

          • cubtex

            I still say an AL team can use Soriano as a DH if the Cubs pick up enough of his salary. You don’t have to just look at players with bad contracts. I have said many times before that 5 mil a year for Soriano is a good deal for a lot of AL teams looking for a DH.

          • Tony_Hall

            But would anyone give Soriano $5M for the next 3 years?  NO!

          • daverj

            He’s worth something to an AL club as a DH.  If Soriano were a free agent, what would he get in salary?…Maybe a 2 year deal in the $4-$5 million per year range.  I think if the Cubs were willing to (i) eat $40-44 million of the $54 million Soriano is owed, and (ii) not require any prospects in return, then Soriano is tradable.

          • Tony_Hall

            You would give Soriano 2 years at $5M per.  Great, now if you can convince one of these AL teams to do it, we could take a bucket of balls in return and get back $10M on this awful contract.

            The problem is, look around the AL and see what teams NEED a DH, then see if that organization, would WANT to take Soriano, at that $5M for 2 years deal. 

            Very few teams looking for DH’s and I doubt any of them want Soriano. 

          • cubtex

            I disagree. If you look at all the DH’s in the AL……Soriano’s numbers would be better than most. I think there are quite a few AL teams who would love to have Soriano at 5 mil per for the next couple of years.

          • suzys

            Aaron, I’ve maintained for a long time that Soriano is basically untradeable…and almost unusable.  If I’m the Cubs…I work out some type of a long term payout over ten or twenty years to finish off the 54 mil we owe him…and then release him outright.

          • J Daniel

            I wrote this a few days ago but I believe they can trade him but will have to pay just about all of his deal – except maybe $6 million (2 per year left). This is the year they will have to go cheaper on payroll to absorb all of the rest of the buyouts including Soriano, Quade, Riggins, and whoever else.  If you do simple math the loss of Pena $10 mil to LaHair, loss of Aram $16 mil to short term guy, and Byrd to BJax – there is about $30 million of the buy out money.

            They probably want BJax in center anyways, LaHair gets a shot (which most on this site want), and fill in with someone else at 3rd.

            Other possible savings include Soto and possibly Dempster.

            Personally, listening to Theo’s comments, I don’t think he is going to move Z.  I think he remains until his stock rises.  If it does not rise then he will release him.

            But after this year, depending on what he signs this off season, the books are almost cleaned.

            The minor league system will have had another year development and he will have $80 million or more to spend.

            He will have to bring in some guys that fit his mold in order to start the implementation of the “Cub Way”.

          • Tony_Hall

            They can let Soriano walk and still have no issues in their payroll.  You don’t have to pay for it all at once, he would receive his regular paycheck.  So they would basically keep his $18M in the budget.  They will be well under $130M next year, and have lots of money to spend, if they choose, this off season.  

            SuzyS mentions this, and I have laid this out as well, a buyout, that spreads the money out over 20 years if need be.  If a team wants him, let them pay a few million each of the years, he keeps playing, (lets say $2M for the next 3 years), down to $48M.  Then the Cubs pay, at least $5M each of those years (more if they have the room in their budget), that would get it down to $33M – spread that out over 10-20 years, and you are talking about a very manageable number to deal with over time.

          • studio179

            Keep in mind, a payout like what you describe will cost more in the long run. This is provided Soriano signs off on such a deal. The players union would frown on extended payouts without extra compensation. The Cubs would have to include interest or additional compensation. See the Mets and Bobby Bonilla. 

            The Cubs might use a portion (who knows what percentage, if at all) of that money coming off the books to use toward old, albatross contracts. Ricketts has not indicated this approach yet, so it is just a guess.I suppose they can see it as more revenue coming in with a winning product on the field in coming years to offset any addition compensation or interest to Soriano down the road. So there are two ways to look at it. I am interested if they get creative on Soriano and how they cut ties. 

          • Tony_Hall

            Of course their would be interest.  Have you seen the rates normally used for interest…very low, plus interest rates are extremely low right now.  Not a big deal.  But, that is why I also have said, they should use every bit of leftover budgeted payroll at the end of the next couple of years, to pay it down faster.

          • Schwimmer

            I think THEO is being very smart in wanting to talk to ZAMBRANO before making a trade.  He will meet with him and assess whether ZAMBRANO has the “right” attitude of contrition.  And, if he does — he will let him pitch for the CUBS next year.   

            This is a CUBS team in serious need of “pitching.”  So, it makes no sense to pay another team — most of Z’s salary for 2012, so, that he can win (potentially) 12 to 16 games for some other ball club.If Z acts like a jerk next year…the CUBS always have the option to “release” him at that time.  Meanwhile, smart money says:  Unless the CUBS can get some real value for him…it is much better to let him try to pitching for them.Z has a lot of pride.  And, a lot to prove.  I say, “keep him!” 

  • paulcatanese

    Thats going to cost the Cubs one million dollars a victory, unless he is traded, and who knows if he can win fourteen?

    • daverj

      I’d be thrilled if we got 14 wins from Dempster.

    • Ripsnorter1

      He can win 14 games IF**IF*****IF…..

      we get rid of Mark Riggins. Larry Rothschild was a pitching coach. I’m not sure what Riggins is, but I do know he isn’t a pitching coach. 

      • paul catanese

        I’m not only sure what Riggins is, I dont know who he is, he has not had any impact at all except negative on the pitching staff.

        Looking at Duncan and LaRussa in a game, constant communication on the pitcher, I dont think Qua and Riggins have said more than 10 words between them for the year.

  • paulcatanese

    Read an article where Theo Epstein mentioned something about the scoreboard
    may be changed into one that will bring an additional 20 million in revenue back to the Cubs every year. Probably progress but would hate to see that go by the wayside, its been there a while.

    • cubtex

      For 20 million a year….that would be hard to pass up.

      • paulcatanese

        Yeah, but can you imagine, a big screen TV out there? Where would the guy that changes the numbers every inning sit?

    • Zach

      In my opinion i would never change the scoreboard, its what makes Wrigley field the best place in baseball.  I don’t think we should ever put a dollar amount on something like that.  When i hear Wrigley Field i think the Cubs, the ivy and the scoreboard.  i know that you are just reporting it, but i just don’t think the scoreboard should ever be changed.

      • Tony_Hall

        Fans of other teams think “Loveable Losers”…

        Before we all jump to conclusions, let’s actually see if there is a plan, and what it is first.

        If, all anyone wants is to keep Wrigley the same, that should be the goal over win a World Series!  

        I want to WIN a World Series!

        And I love Wrigley Field.

        I had a customer tell me, that he absolutely hates a competitor of mine, hates the rep, hates the company.  I then asked, why does he do any business with them.  He told me he loves money, more than he hates them, and on some items, he just can’t ignore their prices.

        I want to win a World Series, more than I want to keep Wrigley the same! 

        Here is an article talking about the same thing.

        Theo – ‘Baseball is better with fans who care,’’ he said. ‘‘Baseball is better in ballparks like this.’’

        Nobody with an ounce of passion can disagree with that. But baseball is best with a pile of players celebrating a World Series victory near the mound.

      • Tony_Hall

        Just in case you were really worried.

        RT @PWSullivan No, Theo is not going to touch the Wrigley scoreboard. It’s an official landmark and can not be changed.less than a minute ago

        • paulcatanese

          Thats good, I wouldnt want that little guy out there to lose his job. But seriously, how much could they change Wrigley for the better,(batting practice facilities, exercise room, larger clubhouse, etc. A new scoreboard would change the park so much that they might just as well build a new park in a different location. I just dont see the available room thier for additions without sacrificing seating. They could however buy the streets and the houses behind left and right field an put an upper deck around the field and the facilitys underneath.

  • Neil

    According to the Tribune, the Cubs are close to adding Arizona Diamondback scout Joe Bohringer as pro scouting coordinator,0,6398840.story

  • Tony_Hall
  • Shelbymenge

    from shelby menge, we need a w hole new staff and win a world seris next season.

    • Anonymous47701

      Unless the Cubs somehow make a big turnaround, which is possible as Tom Ricketts pointed out when he referenced the Arizona Diamondbacks, I don’t really see them contending for until at least 2013.

  • paulcatanese

    By the way, my avatar is a picture of a certain first basemans  present home before the additions he plans on doing after free agency,needs more square footage and a larger pool.

  • Anonymous47701

    Possible Trade Idea

    1B Lars Anderson, INF Jed Lowrie, OF Josh Reddick

    for RHP Randy Wells, INF Jeff Baker, RHP Jay Jackson

    • Tony_Hall

      I just don’t see the Red Sox letting us steal their players, after we stole Theo away.

      • Ripsnorter1

        You watch: 

        Tim Wakefield comes to Wrigley.

        Now you decide if that’s good or bad….

        • Tony_Hall

          I agree, that is possible.  If he’s willing to do his 6th man in the rotation act and long reliever, for little money on a 1 year deal…maybe.  His knuckle will be new to the NL.  

          I am sure any Red Sox or Padres players that are available, from FA, to minor league FA, Rule V, etc, will all be given great consideration.

          • daverj

            I can see that too.  I expect that we’ll see a number of short term (1 or 2 year at the most) deals given to older veterans until Theo can get the minor league system turned around over the next couple years. 

        • John G

          Does he know how to bunt? If so, I say yes.
          I saw him pitch against the Tigers at Comerica this past season. Nobody knew how to hit him. He threw a consistent 65mph and everyone was way ahead of the pitch or hit a spinning ground ball.

    • daverj

      That’s way too one sided trade in favor of the Cubs.  Jay Jackson for Lars Anderson straight up would be a fair deal.  But, Lowie and Reddick are young with the upside to be above average major leaguers (potentially even lower end stars) … Wells is an average 4th starter and Baker is a solid utility guy.  Not nearly enough for the Cubs to get a deal like that done.

      The Cubs only tradable pieces at the major league level that could return players with real value are Garza, Marmol, Soto, Marshall, Castro (who isn’t going anywhere of course), Cashner, and maybe Samardzija.  Maybe Byrd could get you a low level prospect in return.  The rest of the team is either overpaid or not good enough to have any trade value.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I disagree. The rest of the team has some trade value to the right team. 

        • daverj

          I guess it depends on your definition on value … you might find a team that would give a single A reliever, a veteran AAA player without upside for a guy like Wells or Baker, or a major league utility guy.  My point was that guys like that won’t bring back anything in value to the Cubs.