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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cubs - Signed Dempster

Chicago Cubs - Signed P Ryan Dempster to a 4-year contract.

The signing still isn’t official and the contractual terms haven’t been reported other than something in the $12-$14 million a year range.

If you told me a year ago that the Cubs would do this and I wouldn’t burst out in hysterical laughter, I’d think that the Earth was sucked into some creepy Through the Looking Glass world in which I have to watch out for the Jabberwocky and the Lion and the Unicorn sit around eating cake and the Walrus and the Carpenter eat sentient talking clams and Ryan “The Dumpster” Dempster is a good starting pitcher.

I don’t quite know how he did it other than throwing a few more fastballs than usual, but Dempster did it, kept the ball in the park, and was an important part of the team, helping replace Rich Hill, who suddenly had trouble keeping his pitches within the same congressional district as the mound.  The Cubs are probably overpaying a bit on a pure value standpoint, but as one of the best teams in the NL, it makes sense to overpay a little to keep October games on the schedule, especially with the stock of some of the other prospective replacements dropping a bit in the last year. 

ZiPS Projection - Ryan Dempster
————————————————————————————————-
        W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA   ERA+
————————————————————————————————-
2009     11   9 27 27 181 174   82 17 73 151 4.08   111      
————————————————————————————————-
Top Comps:  Mike Krukow, Ken Hill

ERA+  %
Top 1/3 48
Mid 1/3 32
Bot 1/3 20

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: November 18, 2008 at 08:58 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: November 18, 2008 at 09:54 PM (#3011848)
Top Comps: Mike Krukow, Ken Hill

You could do a hell of a lot worse than being compared to those two guys. They had some solid years in their 30s. I can't help but feel this could go in 2 vastly different directions though...
   2. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 18, 2008 at 10:02 PM (#3011852)
They had some solid years in their 30s.


I don't know. I see a solid year by Hill AT 30 and a fluke 20-win season by Krukow at age 34. Dempster's going into his age-32 season and he just had his fluke season. Those two guys aren't giving me warm fuzzies about this.

Dempster had exactly one good season as a starter before this season. He followed that up with ERA+'s of 86, 77, and 63 with a TJ surgery thrown in there somewhere. Hopefully I'm just being a pessimist, but I'll take the under on Dan's ERA+ projection here. I hope I'm wrong.
   3. Good cripple hitter Posted: November 18, 2008 at 10:03 PM (#3011853)
I know that the different format takes up more space, but is there any way that we could have multi-year projections for players that sign multi-year deals?
   4. thinkmaui Posted: November 18, 2008 at 10:15 PM (#3011866)
Dempster's year screams out contract year. He got in the best shape of his career ( his words) and pitched incredibly well. His peripherals were obviously strong. What happens now? Dempster was reportedly holding out for that 4th year on his contract...and apparently got it. It's a coin flip to me on whether or not he'll end up being worth it over the course of this contract. For 4 and $50+ million, that's a risky flip based on one good season.
   5. zonk Posted: November 18, 2008 at 10:25 PM (#3011874)
Dempster's year screams out contract year. He got in the best shape of his career ( his words) and pitched incredibly well.


I mentioned it in the other thread (and also admitted I'm probably over-estimating its worth) -- but that weird glove flip thing Dempster started doing during his delivery was directly tied to the apparent fact that Dempster had been tipping his pitches for years.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: November 18, 2008 at 10:57 PM (#3011884)
The ZiPS looks fine and if he can actually do that in 3 of the next 4 years, I'm OK with this. Call me unconvinced that will happen though. But hey, Marquis has turned out just fine, why not this? :-)

I won't really know how happy/annoyed I am with this deal until I see the money and see what Lowe/Burnett/Perez get. I'd certainly rather have the first two if all it would cost me is $2 M a year more and I think I'd rather roll the dice with Ollie for the same money. Granted, this was clearly an "easy" sign and there is some value in that.
   7. Red Robot Posted: November 19, 2008 at 12:27 AM (#3011923)
I'm a Mets fan living in Chicago (read: watching lots of Cubs games), and I'd much much rather give a four-year contract to Dempster than to Perez. According to BPro's PRAA, Ollie has been a below-average pitcher the last couple years (and only one above-average year in his career, back in 2004), and I see no signs of a sudden improvement. He is a head case who couldn't maintain his focus through this contract year; who knows what will happen when you give him $50M to play around with?

With Dempster, I figure I'm at least getting two good years... paying Ollie is playing with fire.
   8. joker24 Posted: November 19, 2008 at 01:44 AM (#3011947)

I mentioned it in the other thread (and also admitted I'm probably over-estimating its worth) -- but that weird glove flip thing Dempster started doing during his delivery was directly tied to the apparent fact that Dempster had been tipping his pitches for years.


If you think a Major League team allowed one of its pitchers to tip his pitches for years I don't know what to say.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: November 19, 2008 at 01:54 AM (#3011951)
#7

Maybe. Perez has (much) higher potential but does carry a lot of risk. But I think Dempster carries a lot of risk himself. Dempster has above-average years in just 2000, 2005 (as a reliever) and 2008 and a lot of quite bad ones (by ERA+ which I know isn't great but it's oh-so-easy).

It is close. If you could guarantee me Dempster hits (roughly) that ZiPS projection in 3 of 4 years, I'd take him over Ollie. But I don't have faith Dempster will do that -- I never thought he was a good pitcher until this year and I think by the time I was 13-14 I'd adopted the "at least 2 straight good years before I believe it" rule. Barring that, I think I'd rather roll the dice on the not heavily used 27 year-old who K's more than 9/9 ... but I agree he's a riskier bet than Dempster (though I base that on very little) but also more likely to be high-reward.
   10. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 19, 2008 at 02:04 AM (#3011957)
Barring that, I think I'd rather roll the dice on the not heavily used 27 year-old who K's more than 9/9 ... but I agree he's a riskier bet than Dempster (though I base that on very little) but also more likely to be high-reward.


I'll have to disagree with you, at least partially. For a lot of teams, like the Orioles or Giants or Braves, I'd roll the dice and go with Perez. But the Cubs are a solid team, one of the best in the NL without doing much but standing pat, and I think I would be more risk-averse in that situation.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: November 19, 2008 at 02:20 AM (#3011968)
And I should add, I'd probably rather just trade for Peavy than sign either Dempster or Perez, especially if gettng Peavy and Dempster means trading Lilly -- which seems silly to me.
   12. So Taguchi is My Sensei Posted: November 19, 2008 at 02:32 AM (#3011973)
the Walrus and the Carpenter...both are Cardinals, no?
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 19, 2008 at 03:50 AM (#3012022)
If you told me a year ago that the Cubs would do this and I wouldn't burst out in hysterical laughter, I'd think that the Earth was sucked into some creepy Through the Looking Glass world in which I have to watch out for the Jabberwocky and the Lion and the Unicorn sit around eating cake and the Walrus and the Carpenter eat sentient talking clams and Ryan "The Dumpster" Dempster is a good starting pitcher.

It wouldn't have been THAT improbable. The Cubs could have hired Bill Bavasi.
   14. Wes Parkers Mood (Mike Green) Posted: November 19, 2008 at 04:15 AM (#3012033)
Dempster is a tough one for any projection system because of the change in roles and the improvement in 2008. For his career, he's got an ERA of 4.64 as a starter and 4.11 as a reliever. I've marked him down for 4.40 in 2009.

If Dempster's good for $14 million per, salary inflation might be greater this off-season than it has been in perhaps 7-8 years.
   15. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: November 19, 2008 at 06:00 AM (#3012086)
If you think a Major League team allowed one of its pitchers to tip his pitches for years I don't know what to say.
Hey, if Cam Bonifay can be the GM of a Major League team for nine years, anything is possible.
   16. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: November 19, 2008 at 07:05 AM (#3012106)
Btw, it's really April 1st and the report of this signing's a joke, right? Before the 2008 season Dempster hadn't pitched more than 115 innings since 2002, two of his last three years relieving he couldn't muster a 100 ERA+, and after one year in a dog's age as a full-timer, his career year, he gets 4/56 for his age 32-35 seasons?

If you told me a year ago that the Cubs would do this and I wouldn't burst out in hysterical laughter,...
If you told me tomorrow that the Cubs would do this,...
   17. Walt Davis Posted: November 19, 2008 at 07:37 AM (#3012115)
I'll have to disagree with you, at least partially. For a lot of teams, like the Orioles or Giants or Braves, I'd roll the dice and go with Perez. But the Cubs are a solid team, one of the best in the NL without doing much but standing pat, and I think I would be more risk-averse in that situation.

And I agree with you in spirit but I think I think Dempster is riskier than you think Dempster is -- at least I think I think he's riskier than ZiPS thinks he is ... and try as you might to throw us off the track by pretending to disagree with ZiPS now and again, we all know it controls your every thought. :-)

So, if he gives us that ZiPS projection in 3 of 4 years, I'm fine with this ... and I'd take that over Perez. But I don't like Dempster's chances of hitting that projection -- I'm just not convinced.

And I thought this was 4/$52.
   18. Drexl Spivey Posted: November 19, 2008 at 08:30 AM (#3012132)
As a Brewer fan, I love this signing. With the Cubs being the favorites in the NL Central, variability is great for the Brewers. Dempster is unlikely to replicate '08, Harden is injury prone, Gallardo might be a real ace, Sheets might re-sign and stay healthy, Rickie Weeks might emerge, Theriot was a fluke, and injuries will happen, so maybe the Brewers will contend in the division.

I doubt that this will happen, but I can dream, right?

P.S. As someone who hates both the Cubs and Notre Dame, I hope that Samardjia (or however that piece of #### spells his name) stays with the Cubs. I need an enemy.
   19. Harris Posted: November 19, 2008 at 03:50 PM (#3012242)
I'm also of the opinion this was a career year for dempster and he's unlikely to pitch that well again. The Cubs likely overpaid, value wise, but some other club would have probably given him the same if not more, so in that sense, they didn't overpay.

Good pitching is hard to come by so you have to gamble a little more often with it.
   20. Tree Posted: November 19, 2008 at 06:10 PM (#3012379)
Mike Bielicki v2
   21. HOLLA(R) Posted: November 19, 2008 at 06:48 PM (#3012427)
Am I the only person extremely concerned about the impact of this year's innings increase on Dempster's arm next year? Beyond the possibility of significant regression, it seems like he's definitely at high risk for a major elbow/shoulder problem next year.
   22. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 19, 2008 at 07:08 PM (#3012459)
Am I the only person extremely concerned about the impact of this year's innings increase on Dempster's arm next year? Beyond the possibility of significant regression, it seems like he's definitely at high risk for a major elbow/shoulder problem next year.

Well, he's already had his Tommy John taken care of (and I wager that his elbow problems back them make his starting days look more disappointing than they in fact were). He could mess up his elbow again certainly, but TJ is a pretty successful surgery and he now has a ligament with less miles in there. He could tear a labrum or something, of course, but pretty much any pitcher can.

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