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Big League Stew

Ryan Dempster signs two-year deal with Red Sox

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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After having addressed their lineup needs earlier this offseason, the Boston Red Sox have turned to solving their deficiency in players who can do bad Will Ferrell as Harry Caray impressions.

And if that solution can eat some innings in a pitching rotation that had problems doing that in 2012? Well, then all the better.

Ryan Dempster, noted not only for his comedic nature but a combined 114 ERA+ over the past five seasons, signed a two-year deal worth $26.5 million with the Red Sox on Thursday. The contract was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The signing represents a decent-sized risk for the Red Sox. Dempster will turn 36 on May 3 and his fastball velocity dipped below 90 mph for the first time in his career during 2012. He can still be a very smart pitcher, though, and the Red Sox are hoping Dempster can pitch more like he did with the Cubs in 2012 (2.25 ERA and 83 Ks over 104 IP) than he was with the Rangers after being traded at the deadline (5.09 ERA and 70Ks over 69 IP).

Whether or not he can replicate his success he had with the Cubs while remaining in the American League remains a big question. But the best thing Dempster might be able to do for the team is to stay healthy and in the rotation. Though his innings were limited to 173 in 2012 by a lat injury, Dempster topped 200 innings pitched for four straight seasons since being turned back into a starter for the 2008 season. Only one Red Sox pitcher — Jon Lester — hit 200 as the team finished in last place in 2012.

Stay warm this winter ...
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