Dempster, 31, converted from closer and finished sixth in Cy Young voting, going 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA. He made the NL All-Star squad and started Game 1 of the, ahem, playoffs for the Cubs, who lost in three games to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS.
Dempster's agent, Craig Landis, said that four or five other teams had been interested in Dempster, whose $13m/annum salary might set the market for the likes of A.J. Burnett, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
The Cubs, who recently let go of Kerry Wood and added Kevin Gregg to their bullpen, are expected to pursue more pitching, though Wittenmyer's story also has them after infielder Rafael Furcal again. They have been in so-far fruitless negotiations with the San Diego Padres for Jake Peavy. Rick Sutcliffe, who has links to Chicago and San Diego, is doing his best recruiting job on the Cubs' behalf.
The best news about Dempster returning to Chicago: dogs on the city's streets are a little safer.