Ryan Dempster will not pitch in 2014, Red Sox starter may retire

Jared Wickerham

Dempster will not earn his salary in 2014 after making the surprising decision to sit out the season.

Red Sox starting pitcher Ryan Dempster has announced that he will not pitch during the 2014 season due to both physical reasons and a desire to spend more time with his kids and family, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

The Red Sox will likely place Dempster on the restricted list at their earliest possible convenience. That means Dempster will not receive any of the $13.25 million he was owed for this year.

Rosenthal quotes Dempster as saying the following about his decision to take the year off:

"I don’t feel like I am capable of performing to the ability and standard that I am accustomed to. I feel it’s in the best interest of both the club but most importantly myself to step away from playing baseball at this time. The time is right. I’m not saying retirement but I definitely won’t be playing this season."

If indeed Dempster does call it a career, he will finish having pitched in 579 games over 16 seasons with five teams. Most of his career has been as a starting pitcher, though there was a four-year stretch with the Cubs where he was predominately a reliever. On his career, Dempster has a 4.35 ERA and is a two-time All-Star. He finished sixth in Cy Young voting in 2008 when he had a 2.96 ERA with the Cubs.

Dempster, 36, spent all of the 2013 season with Boston, making 29 starts and three relief appearances. He finished the year with a 4.57 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. He pitched three times out of the bullpen in the postseason as the Red Sox won the World Series, allowing just one earned run.

Boston had previously had a glut of starting pitchers and had been mentioned as a potential trade partner for teams looking to bolster their rotation. However, with Dempster leaving the Red Sox' depth all of a sudden takes a hit and will likely prevent them from dealing any of their other starters. Instead, the club could now become buyers on the free agent market. They had reportedly been nervous about approaching the luxury tax threshold, but an additional $13 million gives breathing room in that regard.

With Dempster out of the mix, the Red Sox starting rotation looks like it will consist of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, John Lackey and Felix Doubront.

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