USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Dempster could save the Red Sox' rotation, or he could prove to be an NL-only arm. Which do the fans think is most likely?
After the disaster that was 2012, it was clear the Red Sox needed to fix their starting rotation. While many hoped for some huge-money signings along the lines of Anibal Sanchez, and others thought two pitchers would be needed to really do the job, in the end the Sox answered with Ryan Dempster, and Ryan Dempster alone.
And, really, Dempster is a perfect fit with their strategy. On a reasonable salary and a short-term contract, Dempster can do relatively little harm, and quite a lot of good. It's a phrase you've probably grown terribly tired of by now, but this is low-risk and high-reward, and there's really nothing wrong with that, especially in these "bridge years" (oh, hey, there's another one).
Of course, the knowledge that the decision making process was sound is relatively little consolation in the face of another lost year, and if Ryan Dempster can't do the job on the mound, there's a decent chance we'll be facing another one of those in 2013.
Still, the signs are positive for Dempster early on in spring training. And if he has the same caveats of any National League pitcher making the ump at 36, this is a guy who has come in under a 4.00 ERA four times in the past five years. If you're of the mind that that is the real Dempster, then we're going to have little room to complain.
That's might prove to be a pretty big if, though. Let's find out.