On Friday, the Chicago Cubs announced a one-day contract with pitcher Ryan Dempster, who spent nine of his 16 professional seasons with the organization. At age 37, Dempster officially retired, promptly joining the team’s front office as a special assistant to president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.
Chicago acquired Dempster in 2004 from the Cincinnati Reds, bringing the eventual two-time All-Star to the Windy City as a reliever. He picked up his first career save against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and went on to replace the team closer LaTroy Hawkins in 2005. He continued to progress on the mound, recording 33 saves in 35 opportunities. In 2008, he was offered an extension to the tune of $15.5 million, and eventually moved to the starter role in the 2008 season. In 2012, he was dealt to the Texas Rangers for Christian Villaneuva and Kyle Hendricks – who made his big league debut last year with the Cubs.
One year after the trade, Dempster went on to become a World Series champion with the 2013 Boston Red Sox. The pitcher later announced that he would not see time on the mound during 2014 so that he could spend more time with his family, saving the Red Sox some $13 million in payroll in the process.
"Jon and I have talked about how great it is to play here, he knows that. He has an extremely tough decision ahead, but whatever the decision will be, hopefully it’s here with the Chicago Cubs because he won’t be disappointed. I know the city of Chicago would embrace him. He’s just the type of person that could pitch here and do well in this city. Hopefully, we’re lucky enough to have him with us."
In Dempster’s nine seasons with the Cubs, he recorded a 3.88 ERA with 62 wins and 87 saves over 358 appearances (138 saves). Dempster played with four different clubs since his debut in 1998, and finishes his career with a 132-133 record and a 4.35 ERA in 579 appearances (351 starts).