Ryan Dempster Can Be An X-Factor Out Of Bullpen For Boston Red Sox

By Randy Holt
Ryan Dempster
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Last winter, the Boston Red Sox spent a great deal of time adding new faces to their roster that was such a disappointment in 2012. One of those new faces was Ryan Dempster, who agreed to a two-year contract worth a little over $26 million to join the BoSox. For the most part, he did exactly what they needed him to.

Dempster certainly didn’t earn that type of money this season, and there’s a reason that many thought the deal he signed to join the Red Sox was a gross overpayment. Nonetheless, he filled a roll for the Red Sox, providing stability in the second half of the rotation, at the very least.

His overall numbers on the season weren’t terrific. After a couple of dominating seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Dempster continued his trend that he picked up in the second half 2012, struggling a bit against American League hitters. He finished with a 4.57 ERA, a 4.21 xFIP, respectable strikeout-per-nine numbers at a touch over eight, and just over four walks per nine.

Again, nothing that’s going to blow you away. Not completely terrible, but not great. He was a backend of the rotation guy, and the Red Sox got backend of the rotation production. When the playoffs rolled around, though, the Red Sox wasted no time in announcing his move to the bullpen.

With Dempster in the ‘pen, he has an opportunity to become an extremely important piece to the Red Sox as these playoffs wear on. This is a guy who has plenty of experience coming out of the bullpen, having served as a closer in Chicago after some injury woes limited him, and he fared pretty well.

A guy with that kind of experience closing out ballgames can be an x-factor for the Red Sox in the postseason. He can come out of the bullpen in key situations, where Koji Uehara is not available, or he can come out for extended outings. Either way, having a guy like Ryan Dempster in the bullpen should be a tremendous asset for the Boston Red Sox.

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