Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dempster Back For Obama's First Term

The Sun Times is reporting that the Cubs have retained the services of Ryan Dempster for four more years at a cost of $52 million.

Dempster, a 17-game winner and Game 1 playoff starter this year, has been the Cubs' top off-season priority. Indications are that general manager Jim Hendry might still seek another starting pitcher - possibly free agent Randy Johnson - despite additional pursuits of left-handed hitting.

Dempster, who made a successful conversion from the closer role in 2008, initially sought a five-year, $70 million deal, according to sources.

The Cubs' initial offer was believed to be four years for about $50 million. While it was widely reported a major sticking point was his desire for a fifth year, club insiders say the money was the bigger obstacle.

Jim Hendry, like he did with Derrek Lee a few years ago, did a good job nixing a fifth year.

A guy like Ryan Dempster is not a guy to take a long term bet on if you can help it. He only has one really good year since being injured and that year just happened to be the year his contract ended.

The issue with long term contracts really is not about the dollars. All long term contracts are going to be 8 figures per year. The issue is: How difficult is it to get out of the contract if you want/need to get rid of a guy? The answer to that is tied to the length of the contract and how backloaded it is.

The Alfonso Soriano contract is terrible not just because of the length, but because the dollars per year escallates. That makes dumping it on another team nearly impossible. A Derrek Lee contract is much more tradable because the burden on a new team / the amount the Cubs might have to eat in trading him is much lower.

Is the Ryan Dempster contract another ball-and-chain on the Cubs? Probably not.

That is, unless you wanted to see Jake Peavy here. The only way that happens now is if someone else takes all $10 million of Jason Marquis' contract. There's no way the Cubs can have a roster, much less a rotation consisting of Dempster ($13mm), Marquis ($10mm), Ted Lilly ($12mm), Carlos Zambrano ($17.75mm), Rich Harden ($7mm) and Jake Peavy ($11mm).

Speaking of Peavy, want to know why the Padres want to be rid of him?

2009 salary: $11 million
2010 salary: $15 million
2011 salary: $16 million
2012 salary: $17 million
2013 salary: $22 million or $4 million buyout.

Peavy only ends up a Cub if Marquis goes now and Harden does not return in 2010.

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