The Boston Red Sox signed starter Ryan Dempster to a two-year, $26.5 million contract after successfully prying him away from other interested teams this off-season. What can the Red Sox expect from the right-hander during the 2013 MLB season considering he will be pitching in the competitive American League East?
The 35-year-old has spent a majority of his 14-year career in the National League Central, specifically with the Chicago Cubs. He posted up and down seasons with his 4.33 career earned run average and .500 career record summing up pretty much who he is as a starting pitcher. The good news for Boston is the fact he has faced outstanding hitters in Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and so many others on a consistent basis over the years he should be mentally prepared for what is about to come this season.
Even though the Red Sox starting rotation ranked 27th in all of baseball with a 5.19 ERA last season, Boston did very little to bolster that group of men for 2013. Dempster is the only new pitcher added to the squad and he will most likely be the No. 5 man in the rotation.
It is difficult to say how effective he will be this season as he struggled once he was traded to the Texas Rangers last year. It is true he posted a 7-3 record but he also surrendered 39 earned runs in 69 innings which gave him a 5.09 ERA. Texas’ top notch offense is a big reason why Dempster had a good record but he will not receive that kind of help in Boston.
The one thing he will give the Red Sox is durability which means he will pitch at least 200 innings this season without missing any starts. This is something Boston is glad to hear as several of their starters have dealt with injuries in the past. He will also strikeout hitters at a high rate and should win a minimum of 12 games considering he will typically be going head-to-head against other fifth starters. However, the Red Sox should definitely be prepared to watch him give up his fair share of earned runs as that is simply something that is unavoidable.