4 Reasons New Red Sox Pitcher Ryan Dempster Is a Good/Bad Fit for Fenway Park
Signing Ryan Dempster was a very smart move for the Red Sox.
He is a veteran starter and has had spent some time in the AL, to get his feet wet against the better lineups.
Pending a physical, it looks as if the rotation for the Boston Red Sox will be almost ready to compete for a playoff spot in 2013. According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox acquired Dempster on a two-year deal.
Sources: Dempster close with #RedSox on two-year, $26.5 million free-agent contract.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2012
The deal is pending a physical, and the Red Sox are looking for him to be the third or fourth starter in the rotation, but was it the right move?
Good: Veteran Presence
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Dempster has 14 years of pitching under his belt, and will turn 36 in May.
Yes, that is why the Red Sox gave him a short two-year contract, but the best thing about his age is his ability to be a veteran presence on this pitching staff.
Yes, John Lackey is an older pitcher too, and Jon Lester is closing in on veteran status, but Dempster is the real deal.
He has great leadership skills and can be the guy in the rotation who helps lead the younger pitchers.
Bad: ERA Against Yankees
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The 35-year-old has really struggled against the New York Yankees in his career.
He is 0-4 with an ERA of 7.62 in his five career starts versus the Bronx Bombers.
That may be a small sample size, but struggling against a team the Red Sox face 18 or 19 times each year could become an issue over two seasons.
The best thing about this is that the Red Sox pitching staff can make sure the Yanks see a different type of pitching style with Dempster—if the Yankees start to get to him early on in his Red Sox career.
Good: Recent AL Experience
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Yes, he struggled with a 5.09 ERA while pitching in the American League, but he battled to a 7-3 record with the Rangers in 2012—and his career 4.33 ERA is not something to laugh about.
The ability to switch from the NL to AL successfully is rare, but Dempster has the potential to put his starts with the Rangers behind him and turn over a new leaf with the Red Sox in 2013 and 2014.
Bad: Recent Injuries
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Before being shipped to the Rangers, Dempster had missed some time with tightness in his right lat muscle, according to Sporting News.
It may be a small injury, but it forced him to stay on the DL for a longer stretch than a younger pitcher would require, which could be trouble if he develops sore muscles again.
He has pitched over 200 innings in five of his last six seasons, and is known to be a relatively healthy starting pitcher, so expect Dempster to be an innings-eater in this Red Sox rotation.