Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster has decided to sit out the entire 2014 season. He has battled some neck issues that have made preparing for the season difficult, and he also expressed a desire to spend more time with his family.
“I don’t think I’ll be making any starts this year,” Dempster told reporters at spring training on Sunday, via WEEI’s Alex Speier. “The past few years have been tougher and tougher. It’s prevented me from doing the job I need to do.”
Dempster will turn 37 in May and is coming off one of his worst seasons as a starting pitcher. His velocity was nowhere to be found throughout most of 2013, as he compiled an 8-9 record and 4.57 ERA in 29 starts with the Red Sox.
From a team standpoint, Dempster has done the Red Sox a massive favor. They already have five solid starters in Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, John Lackey and Felix Doubront. Dempster was likely going to be the odd man out and may have been relegated to a long relief role. By choosing to sit out, he will forfeit the $13.25 million he was owed for 2014. If he could not pitch because of an injury or the Red Sox chose to release him, Dempster still would have gotten paid.
“I have enough money,” he said when asked about giving up the salary.
The Red Sox are still hoping to bring back Stephen Drew, and this could give them the money to do that and remain under the luxury tax. It obviously creates a great deal of flexibility. They were basically handed $13.25 million.