Found March 18, 2013 on Boston Sports Then & Now:
Dempster is a guy who hasn’t missed many starts in the past few years The Red Sox have had a black hole in the back of their rotation for the last several years.  Last year the Sox used a group of pitchers in the #5 spot that consisted of Daniel Bard, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Aaron Cook and Franklin Morales.  The year prior they used Andrew Miller, Kyle Weiland and Eric Bedard among others.  It’s been a tough spot in the rotation for the Sox as they’ve struggled to fill the back end in the rotation as they have failed to develop enough young pitchers.  This off-season they tried to erase that black hole by signing Ryan Dempster to a 2-year, 26.5 million contract.  Dempster should help the Red Sox rotation in two areas it sorely lacks in the back end – stability and consistency. The 35 year-old Canadian has been as durable as any pitcher over his 15 year MLB career.  He hasn’t started less than 28 games in the past 5 seasons.  Prior to that he worked out of the Cubs pen and had at least 63 appearances during his 3 years as the Cubs closer.  He collected 85 saves in those 3 seasons.  He followed that up by earning 55 wins against 49 losses in his 5 seasons back as a starter.  He finished that 5-year stretch with an ERA south of 4.00.  While he isn’t the K machine that he was when he came into the league he still had at least 150 K’s in each of the last 5 seasons with last year’s total of 153 his 5-year low.  He doesn’t have the velocity on his fastball that he used to but it is still serviceable.  What he still has however is his command of the strike zone.  In the last 5 years he has averaged a tick less than a walk per every 9 innings. Dempster has shown his usual consistency in the Grapefruit League If spring training is any indication (and I realize that it might not be) then we can expect more of the same from Dempster this season.  He’s made 4 starts and pitched 12 2/3 innings.  He has struck out 9 and only walked 2.  He’s given up 3 hits and as many runs.  I know it’s not the regular season but it’s textbook Dempster which should be encouraging.  A lot has been made about his stats with the Rangers last year in the AL and in particular against the Yankees but, over a 15 year career, focusing on just a few months compared to the rest of the body of work seems a bit silly.  If Dempster stays healthy I expect a respectable line from him.  Maybe something upwards of 14-15 wins and a mid-4.00 ERA.  Compared to what the Red Sox have gotten in production out of that slot in the rotation over the past few years Dempster would represent a significant upgrade. Dempster is not a guy who is going to represent the Sox in an All-Star game.  He’s not a savior for the rotation, he’ll need guys like Lester and Buchholz to produce in front of him.  If Dempster stays healthy however he will give the Red Sox some sorely needed durability in the back of their rotation.  I might help a guy like Lester knowing that there is a dependable guy in front of him in the rotation when it comes back to his turn.  Hopefully he won’t be needed to stop as many losing streaks as he has in the past few seasons.  Dempster is an aging pitcher but until he proves that he can’t go out their and work his innings and pound the strike zone he should be counted on to contribute every 5 days.  If he does that he is an instant upgrade for the Red Sox. Follow me on Twitter  
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Your Morning Dump...Where Jon Lester threw a perfect game...sort of

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump. Jon Lester was perfect. Boston’s entire pitching staff nearly was on the day. Lester retired 18 consecutive batters and combined with his bullpen to hold the Tampa Bay Rays without a baserunner until...

Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes Give Boston Fans Another Reason to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With Near-Perfect Effort

A lot of Boston fans might wake up Monday morning not remembering Sunday’s Red Sox game, but those hungover St. Patrick’s Day partygoers will be happy to learn that their hometown team was damn near perfect against the Rays. Jon Lester really was perfect. He didn’t allow a baserunner in six sparkling innings, while once again demonstrating ace-like stuff. He threw 79 pitches...

Alfredo Aceves - Here We Go Again

You have to wonder just how much longer the Red Sox are going to put up with the antics of relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves. He wore out his welcome with the Yankees in 2010. There were the much-publicized conflicts with former manager Bobby Valentine in 2012. Earlier this spring, there was the live batting practice session that featured Aceves basically lobbing pitches, to the...

David Ortiz Takes 50 Swings in Batting Cage, But Return Date Still Very Much Unknown

At this point, who really knows when David Ortiz will be back in the Red Sox lineup. The Boston designated hitter has battled heel injuries since last summer, and they have carried over into spring training. The All-Star slugger has yet to appear in a game this spring, and it has sounded like that won’t change for a while. After a series of setbacks, Ortiz appeared to take a step...

Fantasy Baseball Alert: Boston Red Sox SP Jon Lester has been on fire this Spring

While the Boston Red Sox try to sort out a starting lineup for the 2013 season, one player appears to be dialed in so far this Spring and could be a fantasy baseball sleeper for owners this season. Starting pitcher Jon Lester. Lester has been on fire early on this Spring, and while you can’t read too much into stats at this time of the season, he seems ready to rebound from his...

John Farrell Says Red Sox Are Looking at Getting More Pitching Depth for Starting Rotation

The Red Sox’ rotation has looked sharp this spring. But as 2012 proved so well, a few big injuries and bad stretches can quickly sink a team. That’s why it’s no surprise that the Red Sox are still looking at their options and are open to picking up more pitching help. Manager John Farrell said Monday that Boston has been looking to bolster the rotation if possible. “That’s...

Sox search for pitching depth

For the most part of this years spring training the Boston Red Sox pitching has been outstanding. Four of the expected five pitchers in the teams rotation have an ERA lower than 2.25 and then there is John Lackey. Lester, the starting day pitcher and ace of the staff has had a magnificent spring and has a 0.90 ERA to show for it. Clay Buchholz has also performed better than expectations...

2013 Baseball Preview: Boston Red Sox

Grab your hard hats and watch your step, Red Sox fans, because Fenway Park’s going to be a construction zone. After hitting rock bottom in 2012,...

And your Opening Day Red Sox starting pitcher is...

...still to be determined.  That said, if the performance Jon Lester gave on Sunday was any indication, he's up to the task should manager John Farrell finally make the announcement. It's tempting to downplay anything that happens in March but it was heartening to see Lester so dominant against Tampa on St. Patrick's Day - 6 perfect innings with 6 K's and 53...

Red Sox: Spring Training

[caption id="attachment_58676" align="alignnone" width="620"] Jose Iglesias is showing more and more improvement at the plate. That's terrific news right now for the Red Sox.[/caption] Every team during spring training has it's fair share of bumps, bruises, positive steps and growing pains. The Red Sox are no different. Manager John Farrell and...

Your Morning Dump...where Sox starters pick up the pace

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump. Since John Farrell has taken the reigns to lead the Boston Red Sox, one aspect of this team has glaringly improved...the starting pitching. “Overall it’s been consistent,” Farrell said. “Individual...

Evan Longoria gives Will MIddlebrooks some advice

It seems so long ago that the Red Sox were in the 2008 ALCS, trying to defend their World Series title against their division rival, Tampa Bay. The Rays were riding a wave of emotion that year, essentially rising from the ashes of their horrible past. The heart and soul of this Rays team was rookie sensation, Evan Longoria. That season, Longoria suffered a wrist injury very similar...

Red Sox-Rays Live: Jon Lester, Red Sox Break Out the Green As They Face Rays on St. Patrick’s Day

11:20 a.m.: Red Sox fans may want to pay close attention to Sunday’s game. There’s a possibility that the lineup is a preview of what we’ll see when the team opens up the season against the Yankees on April 1. Shane Victorino is back in the Boston lineup after playing in the World Baseball Classic. He’ll bat second, with Dustin Pedroia batting third and Mike Napoli hitting...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.