Dempster, as in “dumpster”
A week ago, Dave speculated on the myriad of quality relievers who’ll be on the market this winter, and specifically how that relates to Eddie Guardado’s team/player option situation. The prevailing wisdom was that the M’s should decline their $6.5M option, and if Eddie picks up his (cheaper) option, so be it. If not, there’s always the FA market.
That FA market got an early boost today when Ryan Dempster — who has essentially never pitched well in his life before this season — signed a three-year, $15.5M deal with the Chicago Cubs. A former starter, Dempster has served as the Cubbies’ closer for most of the year and has done well, coverting 33 of 35 chances including 19 straight at one point.
I applaud the Cubs for taking a guy who never cut it as a starter — he was released by the Reds just two years ago — and making him a closer. More clubs should take marginal starters and make them into relievers, as there’s generally pretty good success with this sort of thing, and it can be a cheap way to fill out your bullpen. But after you’ve made a smart move like this, turning freely available talent into something useful, you don’t turn around and give the guy $15.5M.
When the M’s are forced to pay some closer $21M over four years this winter, they’ll have the Cubs to blame. OK, so they’ll really have themselves to blame. But it’s always nice to blame the Cubs for something.