Ryan Dempster will not pitch for the Red Sox in the 2014 season according to Ken Rosenthal, saying he will sit out for personal and physical reasons:
BREAKING: Ryan Dempster will not pitch for #RedSox in 2014 due to physical reasons and his desire to spend more time with his kids.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 16, 2014
Dempster: "I don’t feel like I am capable of performing to the ability and standard that I am accustomed to. I feel it’s in the best . . .— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 16, 2014
" . . interest of both the club but most importantly myself to step away from playing baseball at this time. The time is right. . . .— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 16, 2014
For the Red Sox, the cost is minimal. They were already well-stocked on starting pitchers, with Dempster likely coming in behind both Brandon Workman and Allen Webster in terms of sheer quality on the depth chart. Roster flexibility issues may have pushed him to the front of the line as the sixth starter for spot-starts, but realistically he was not a big factor in Boston's plans in either the rotation or the bullpen.
Given that, Dempster's departure could actually be good news for the team. This will allow the team to place him on the restricted list, thus freeing them of his $13.25 million salary. It's news they would have preferred to have had back in November, of course. It's much easier to find a useful allocation for such a large chunk of payroll early in the offseason than it is on February 16. But the Red Sox won't look a gift horse in the mouth, however flawed.
This does seem likely to be the end to Dempster's time in Boston. It was short-lived and decidedly unspectacular, with the veteran righty struggling through much of the 2013 season. But no matter how he performed on the field, it ended with a championship. He won't be remembered as one of the core pieces of the championship team, but he contributed all the same. Hopefully all is well, and he'll enjoy his year away whatever comes next.